Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The photo above shows Walt and Roald Dahl.
The woman at the storyboard with Walt (below) is Mary Blair. She did the full color painting of the Gremlins in the Cosmopolitan story.
Considering the number of "Xmas gifts" I have been receiving recently from Jim Korkis and a few other friends of this blog, one can definitely feel that we are getting closer to December 25th! We are going to be experiencing a fun few weeks on this blog, believe me.

Let's start with some fantastic material that I found in my mail box yesterday morning courtesy once more of Jim Korkis.

Jim is preparing an in-depth article about The Gremlins project that will appear early 2007 in Hogan's Alley number 15. I have read a preview and let's just say that you can imagine this article being a book, not just an article. Saying that it is in-depth is an English understatment of Dahlian (as in Roald Dahl) proportions. It is the most researched article I have ever read on the subject and should become "THE" reference once it is released.

Unfortunately, it is so researched that Hogan's Alley could not find space for all of it. There is one sidebar, especially, that will not make it in the magazine. It is titled WALT DISNEY DISCUSSES GREMLINS. Jim was kind enough to let me publish it on this blog.

[The Air Ministry requested Walt write an article on Gremlins for their R.A.F. Journal. It appeared in November 1942 and may have been ghostwritten or at least tweaked by Disney storyman Ted Sears who was doing research on the gremlins for Walt at this time. The article has never been reprinted and certainly reflects Walt’s feelings at the time.

“As soon as the Air Ministry heard that I was about to do a Gremlin film, they asked me to write a short article expressing my views of Gremlins in general. Now I don’t think this is a fair request. Truthfully, I have no more idea of Gremlins than I have of fighter tactics or high level bombing. I can only go by what I hear. I consider it one of the great misfortunes of my life that not being an air gunner, a pilot, or a navigator, I shall never be able to boast of having seen a Gremlin in person.

“I shall never be able to discuss, as you men do, the deeper and more subtle points of Gremlin-lore, and suggest new methods of training them to behave. Unfortunately, I am not a Gremlinologist. With every other film I’ve made, I’ve been able, in times of discussion, to stand up and shout ‘You’re wrong!’ and then proceed to back up my argument with detailed specifications regarding the size and color of the noses of the Seven Dwarves, the shape of Pinocchio’s hat, or the length of Bambi’s legs.

“But in dealing with your Gremlins, I’ll admit I’m at a loss. I can’t even pretend that I’ve seen one, and I must get all of my information and instruction from the R.A.F. fliers themselves. Numbers of them have passed through here and have come to see me and tried to help me. And from their careful descriptions I have tried to draw the Gremlin as he is actually seen by you in his various phases, on your machines in the air, and as you see him around the airdrome and in the mess.

“No one realizes more than I the importance of these little men and the task I am undertaking. So far I haven’t a clue.

“That’s why I’m depending upon you men for all the gen (sic) I can possibly get about Gremlins. As you can see, I’ve even begun to pick up some of your language. Naturally, I can’t place the entire responsibility upon your shoulders, but I do wish you’d keep me informed of any new tactics and habits the Gremlins develop from time to time.

“Do you suppose it would be possible to find one of the little fellows who could be spared and have him crated and shipped to California? I can assure you that he’ll be treated with the utmost care and consideration at this end. We have a plentiful supply of used postage stamps of all vintages, which I understand is his staple diet, and he would be allowed the freedom of the Studio. Although I wouldn’t be able to see him, I’m sure he’d serve as an excellent Technical Advisor.

“Perhaps this is asking for the impossible, but I do intend to see that when the Gremlins reach the screen, they will be the same Gremlins that you men have flown with and lived with. And if I should put any blacks in this film due to lack of pukka gen, I do hope you won’t tear me off a terrific strip.”]

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