Monday, April 30, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Here is a hidden treasure from my collection that I have wanted to share for quite some time. However, as happy as visitors to your website will be to see this artwork, there is a very sad story behind it. When the Disney Institute opened in Florida in 1996, I was an animation instructor and one of the things I suggested to the animation team was to get a "guest" book for the celebrities, visiting animators, lecturers etc. that would be dropping by the Institute. We ended up making a huge sketchbook that was three feet high and three feet wide with a nice sturdy brown cover to protect it. We kept it under lock and key in one of the animation rooms.

During the time that the Disney Institute was active at its original site, the book was filled with artwork and kind greetings from everyone from Marc Davis to John Canemaker to John Culhane and many more. Unfortunately, as the Disney Institute went through various transitions that resulted in cutting programs and staff, those of us who guarded this treasure were no longer in a position to do so. Just before the Disney Institute moved off its physical site to be replaced by a Disney Vacation Club, I visited to take one last look at the book and perhaps take some more photos of the artwork. Imagine my horror when I discovered that someone had very carefully with a razor blade removed several pages from the book and apparently the current custodians of the book had no idea when it might have happened.

I mentioned that I was hoping to take more photos of the book. I did have the foresight while I was still working there to photograph several of the pages including the one I am sharing here that was stolen from the book and is in someone's private collection. I have never seen it listed for sale nor have I seen it published anywhere.

Ward Kimball visited the Disney Institute on April 24, 1996 with Michael Broggie and did an onstage interview at the Disney Institute Cinema. Backstage in the green room, we brought out the famous brown book for Ward to do a quick sketch. He was very hesitant to do so but when he saw the contributions of many of his peers, our pleading "puppy dog eyes", and fortunately the charming smile of a twenty year old female animation intern, he reluctantly took some pens and drew an amazing drawing.

The green room was very small and cramped and he had to juggle the huge book on a small sofa and table. The room was also very poorly lit. I guess the belief was that soft lighting would calm a guest before they went on stage. Under these horrible conditions, the eighty-two year old Kimball drew this amazing drawing completely freehand with no warming up. Like everyone else in the room, my jaw dropped when I saw this artwork just flow out of this Disney Legend.]

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