Friday, September 28, 2007

This beautiful storyboard photosat from The Aristocats being sold by Howard Lowery at the moment made my head spin. Not only are most (if not all) of the drawings by my favorite artist, Ken Anderson, but I actually realized that I owned no less than 5 of the them.
I love those two early photos of Walt that Mark Sonntag was kind enough to send me last week.

This just in from JB Kaufman:

[Didier - Very interesting item, that "Poemas a Walt Disney" book that you posted. For what it's worth, 1943, the year this book was published, was also the year the Disney studio started planning a film about Cuba. This was part of the Good Neighbor program, for which the studio had already produced Saludos Amigos and was working on the film that would become The Three Caballeros. Ultimately their plan for a Cuban film was abandoned, but in 1943 they were seriously pursuing the idea, beginning with a survey trip there by Mary Blair in the spring of that year. Coincidence? Best regards - JB]
I had seen quite a few drawings of Mickey by Walt, but this is the first Donald by him I ever came accross. This drawing currently being sold on ebay through Phil Sears. Thanks for Jim Korkis who once again noticed it for us!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

And I thought I knew all of the obscure Disney-related books. Not so! I just received yesterday this amazing publication from Cuba (La Havana, 1943). 58 pages of poems inspired and dedicated to Walt Disney by Guillermo Villarronda.

Here is what I managed to find about the Cuban poet Villarronda:

His real name was Guillermo González Gómez. He seems to have been born in 1912 in Cuba. He started a journalist career in 1935. In 1937, he won the National Price of Poetry of the Education Ministry for his poem Hontanar. He worked for the newspapers El Eco de Tunas, Orto, Martí, Gaceta del Caribe, Bohemia y La Verónica, in which appeared his «AntiOda a Pablo Neruda». He was the editor of El Espectador Habanero, Acción, Pueblo and Alerta. He adapted novels for the radio and was a journalist on the radio station Radio Aeropuerto Internacional. He was also closely linked to the dictature of Fulgencio Batista and left Cuba shortly after the Revolution.
JB Kaufman was kind enough to send me last week this great article from December 1939, originally published in Wilson Library Bulletin, page 292-293.

I loved reading about the origins of the Disney library and even more so being able to identify its original staff members, including Helen Luwdig Hennesy. Was she the wife of Disney artist Hugh Hennesy?

Do not miss today:
- Rube Goldberg stuff by Joakim Gunnarsson

And those links sent by Jim Korkis:

- Urban Legends about Disney and comics are at this link and this other link. At those links, they discuss two items you can find at the following links:
- The never reprinted Donald Duck and the Atom Bomb strip giveaway.
- The Mickey Mouse "suicide strips"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

One of my greatest joys while working on the Walt's People series was one of the side events linked to the project: I was contacted by Thomas Inge who manages quite a few cartoon, comics and animation related book collections for University of Mississippi Press.

While I did not need the help of UMP to release Walt's People, I knew of a few projects which did lack a publisher and that I sent Tom's way. One of those projects is extremely similar to Walt's People and I can't wait to read it.

Working with Walt: Interviews with Disney Artists by Don Peri is due to be released in March 2008 and collects Don's best interviews with Disney artists, all of them published in this book for the first time.

The artists featured should include: Ben Sharpsteen, Wilfred Jackson, Dick Huemer, Ken O'Connor, Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons, Clarence Nash, Les Clark, Floyd Gottfredson, Eric Larson, Herb Ryman, Harper Goff, Jack Cutting, and a few others!
And not to be outdone, Van Eaton Galleries is selling (not through ebay) those two absolutely stunning concept drawings of Baloo by Ken Anderson. Those made my eyes buldge this morning, making me feel like The Wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon.

Speaking of ebay, Howard Lowery currently has for sale on ebay those two great photostats of Aristocats storyboard drawings created mostly by Ken Anderson.
A few more caricatures of Les Clark found on ebay recently.

Long time Disney historian and co-editor of the newsletter Sketches, Jim Fanning has launched his blog. This is an excellent news for all of us who care about Disney history and the "Tulgey Wood" made it to my permanent links. Thanks for Jim Korkis for forwarding this piece of news.

More from Jim Korkis:

[Re: Pinto Colvig comic strip artist
Around 1913/1914, Vance "Pinto" Colvig (the voice of Goofy in the Disney cartoons and also the first Bozo the Clown) worked as a newspaper cartoonist at the "San Francisco Bulletin" and later, the "Chronicle." He also dabbled in early animation, starting his own studio, Pinto Cartoon Comedies, which closed when his artists were drafted to serve in World War I.

I contacted Comic Strip historian Allan Holtz who has an excellent blog and he responded that "The only info I have for Colvig is a series titled "Life on the Radio Wave" in the Chronicle in 1922. That research was on the Chronicle microfilm, so at best I'd have a blurry photocopy example or two deep in the files somewhere. I haven't indexed the Bulletin past 1904 since they seemed to have gone with mostly syndicated material. Do you have any more detailed info? It's something I could look into further if there was anything interesting going on there."

Does anyone have any more information that might be able to help Allan do some further research? I wonder how Pinto's cartooning background influenced his work at Disney. Certainly his background as a circus clown influenced the early interpretation of Goofy and his musicial background provided just the right little addition to the "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" tune.]
Disney political animation

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[With all the attention on the recent candidates preparing for the Presidential race, let's take a brief moment to look back at a forgotten moment in Disney animation history.

The first Presidential animated for television political commercial was done by the Disney Studio to support Dwight D. Eisenhower for President. Walt was a staunch Republican but the Disney Studio couldn’t officially support any particular candidate so it was done privately through Roy O. Disney. Here is the "I Like Ike" animated commercial, produced by Roy Disney and Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon during the 1952 presidential campaign.

Eisenhower’s television advertising, the first ever for a Presidential candidate, was masterminded by Rosser Reeves, the ad man who created the M&Ms slogan “melt in your mouth, not in your hand.”]
Apologies for my silence yesterday. I was in Paris and could not find time to update the blog. I will post a lot of material today. Let's start with some bits and pieces that you should check out today:

- Bob Camp has started posting scans of the very rare catalog Graphic Gallery 8 dedicated to concept artist Ferdinand Horvath.
- Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold by Wade Sampson
- Sound Conundrum by Hans Perk

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great shot of Walt at Swope Park (according to the photo caption) sent by Mark Sonntag.

Do not miss today:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I will be in Sevilla until Friday then in Paris next Monday and Tuesday. I will try to update the blog on Monday, though.
This great photo just him through ebay thanks to Jim Korkis.

Do not miss today:

Monday, September 17, 2007

I will start updating the blog again on Wednesday.

As you know, I love concept art paintings. I just received a scan of this piece from The Fox and the Hound, via Van Eaton Galleries that I had to share with all of you.

War victime: Quite a strange role for Mickey to play. This French postcard from currently sold on ebay was issued by the German (!!) publisher Hagelberg.

Jeff Pepper has just posted the latest installment in his "freeze frame" series. The whole series makes for a fascinating read.
Check out also today this post by Don Brockway about some great Disney books reprints.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Those two caricatures of Les Clark are currently being sold on ebay. The one above is by Dick Lundy.

I once wrote an article for Tomart's Disneyana Update about the Argentine Disney licensee from the mid-40s, Editorial Tor. I own all of the hard-cover Disney books published by Tor, except for two: The Tortoise and the Hare and Snow White and the Magician. The later was sold on ebay yesterday. I lost the auction, unfortunately, but I thought some of you would enjoy seeing its cover.

Do not miss today:
- Eyvind Earle by Michael Sporn
- Goodbye Dear Friend... by Pete Emslie

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Imagineer and Disney Legend Ralph Kent passed away. Jim Korkis has sent me the following message concerning his career and his funeral:
[You should probably link to Lou Mongello's tribute to Ralph Kent. Lou did a terrific job summarizing Ralph's career. While Ralph's passing was not unexpected, it is still tragic and he seemed much too young to be leaving all of us.

Ralph was an incredible person. He was genuinely modest, talented beyond all imagination, funny, patient and unfortunately in his later years plagued by health problems that eventually had him in a wheel chair. At last year's NFFC convention in Orlando, he seemed frail but still full of fun and it was clearly apparent how much he and his wife loved each other.

I knew Ralph for about ten years and in fact, before he got really ill, he had talked with me about collaborating with him on a book. We would cover the Fab Five characters decade by decade. He would do the drawings and I would do the text. He was upset when he saw merchandising that had a 40s Mickey with a 50s Goofy and such. So the purpose of the book was to show how the character should be drawn step by step, what the personality was, how they interacted with the other Fab Five characters, their "key" films of that period etc. as a guide primarily for the merchandising but also for the general public. That dream will never come to pass unless I hook up with Alex Maher or Brian Blackmore who were trained by Ralph as his successors at the Disney Design Group. I hope one day Alex and Brian will share some of the many stories they heard from Ralph over the years. I had some notes from previous talks with Ralph in preparation for a longer interview that never came to pass that I will eventually put together for Walt's People once I locate them and organize them.

I believe there is an interview with Ralph in Tomart's DISNEYANA but it focuses primarily on his work in merchandising. Ralph's impact will be felt for at least another generation through all those artists that Ralph trained.
Ralph's wife Linda called with the following arrangements - so far:
* Ralph will be cremated at the Grissom Funeral Home, 803 W. Emmett Street, Kissimmee, on Thursday. TIME TBD
* The funeral will be on Saturday in the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall, 1525 Mill Slough Road in Kissimmee . TIME TBD
* In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jehovah Witness, 1525 Mill Slough Road, Kissimmee (407-933-7547) ]
Animator Dick Lucas by Vance Gerry. I will be in London until Thursday. The blog will be updated again on Friday.
Quick update by Jim Korkis:

[The person who commented on the Mickey Macaroni and Cheese recipe and wondered about the chili recipe could be directed here.]

This just in from Jim Korkis:
[Above are two Disneyland postcards from the long defunct Art Corner at Disneyland. The cats from "Lady and the Tramp" postcard is from the mid-Fifties. The Disney costume characters might be from the early Sixties. Disney postcards are a great archive of Disney history. I love Disneyland:The Nickel Tour by Gordon and Mumford and am sorry they didn't do a book for Walt Disney World. However, there is an excellent website that documents WDW postcards.]
Cover of the Serbian magazine Mika Mis, number 269.

Don't miss this great piece about Ub Iwerks by Bruce Watkinson (found through Michael Sporn's blog).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Steel and America

I was researching a piece for a future volume of Walt's People when I realized that not only had I never seen the educational Donald Duck short Steel and America (1966), but that I did not even know much about this cartoon. I found this short clip online which comes from what seems to be a revised version from 1974.

Would anyone of you know:
- How long is the original short (or featurette) Steel and America?
- How much animation does it contain and how much live action?
- Who directed the animation and who directed the live action?

This weekend I received a whole new series of Serbian treasures from pre-WWII Serbia.

One of the most astonishing discoveries were the covers of "Dzepni kalendar Mika Mis" (Pocket calender Mika Mis) featured within Mika Mis 152. My Serbian correspondent mentions, "I haven't seen a single copy of these preserved ever, probably because then and now people are simply throwing out pocket calendars when they are through with them, but they were obviously small calendars with mostly Disney-inspired cover designs by local artists - some of them were the same as the covers of regular Mika Mis issues."

Nice photo of Walt, Lilly and the "burnt turkey statue" found by Mark Sonntag on ebay this weekend. For a complete story behind this photo, see this post.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The three most awaited DVDs of the year, The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, The Chronological Donald, Volume Three (1947 - 1950) and Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic are now available for pre-order on Amazon.
I was thinking recently about the Disney history books I would love to see published one day. Here are a few. Which one would you like to see in print if you owned the magic wand?

- The Disney that Never Was - Volume 2
- The Disneyland that Never Was
- Ferdinand Horvath
- Freddy Moore
- Ken Anderson
- The Great Disney Directors
- Walt Disney's collected letters
- The Hyperion Studio Days
- Vintage Disneyana outside of the US
A few great pieces (including these two) in Hake's new auction.

This just in also from Jim. I was really, really excited to receive this email and the site is making it to my permanent links:

[This site is devoted to the Disney News (later Disney Magazine) magazine with cover scans and summaries of every issue from the first one in the Sixties to the last issue.]
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Lainey wrote in to ask about the Midget Autopia (and make sure you visit her website) and it made me realize that I am of a different generation and having grown up as a kid in Southern California I got to experience a Disneyland that disappeared much too quickly and quietly over the years.. So here is a short history of Autopia.

When Disneyland opened in 1955 there was an Autopia in Tomorrowland and it was a huge hit. To satisfy the younger kids who couldn't reach the pedals, Walt installed a Junior Autopia on the area where the Mickey Mouse Club Circus used to be on July 23, 1956. The Imagineers cleverly fastened a block of wood to the gas pedal to help out the smaller drivers. However, the demand for Autopia was so high that Walt closed the Junior Autopia in September 1958 and changing the track and the cars, it opened as the full size Fantasyland Autopia on June 6,1959.

Ah, but Walt didn't forget the younger drivers. He opened yet another Autopia, the Midget Autopia on April 13, 1957 and it ran until April 3, 1966. No adults were allowed to ride along with their kids. It was the first Disney Autopia on a track and each car had two steering wheels (not connected to the actual wheels) so both youngsters in the car can pretend to drive. Since I had two younger brothers, they were always sent off in one car and I followed all by myself in my own car and my parents have a slide of me using both steering wheels to drive. When you are a kid you can never be too careful.

So at one time, there were three different Autopias running at once at Disneyland.

The Midget Autopia was removed to make way for "It's A Small World" but Walt donated everything to Marceline, Missouri so the attraction could be the centerpiece of their Walt Disney Park. It ran for several years before going into storage and disrepair.

Most people don't realize that the Midget Autopia was going to be just one of several attractions in an area called "Mousekatopia" that would feature rides all scaled down for very little kids. There was to be a helicopter ride, a boat ride and of course the Midget Autopia. It was all described in a December 27,1956 memo. However, "Mousekatopia" is just another anecdote in the Disneyland That Never Was.]
Do not miss today:

- Oil Paintings and Pumpkins by Lainey Schallock
- Behind the Walls of Hollywood Studios by Jeff Pepper
- Another Kingdom That Never Came: Disneyland expansion plans circa 1976 by Jim Hill

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Marceline, Missouri has decided to restore to operating order the famous Midget Autopia that originally was at Disneyland and then donated by Walt himself to Marceline (Walt's hometown) where it ran for many years. The only Disney attraction that operated outside the theme park. The still existing cars and the track have been examined by experts, and historians have been consulted for their input.

Sadly, those of us who enjoyed the attraction as children will be unable to fit into the cars once it is restored. The row of cars in front is a "storage" lane next to the "load" lane. Kaye Malins who is heading up the Disney Museum in Marceline as well as this new project has one of the original yellow cars in the museum. For more information on the museum go to this link.]

Do not miss today:
- More Disney Circa 1977 by Steve Hulett

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This just in from Van Eaton Galleries.
If anyone of you is planning to attend this event, could you please contact me?
[Van Eaton Galleries and Creative Talent Network Present:
Join us Saturday, September 15th, 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Van Eaton Galleries
13613 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Together with special guest Mel Shaw and the families of Joe Grant, Walt Stanchfield, and Rowland Wilson, we will celebrate the art and influences of four legendary animators.

RSVP @ 818-788-2357

Attendees receive a commemorative brochure that includes biographies of each artist and a collection of statements and anecdotes from the many celebrated artists who have shared studio space with these great talents.

We hope to see you at the event!]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Speaking of Buddy Baker: Would anyone know how to contact Tish Eastman, author of a great article about Baker for the magazine Persistence of Vision number 9?

Ben is trying to reach him to discuss some matters related to the biography he is currently writting.

This just in from Ben Ohmart (whose publications I mentioned on the blog yesterday):

[You might want to add my Buddy Baker book to your list of "coming Disney books". It's based on my interviews with Buddy, his family and friends and will have a load of never-seen-before pictures. Coming in March.]

I just received yesterday the catalog of the exhibition held at the Tate Gallery in London, Dali and Film. Aside from my overall interest in the matter, one of the main reasons I ordered this catalog is the fact that it contains no less than 17 concept drawings created for Destino.

Felix Fanes, the author on the text about Destino mentions that Disney met Dali again in October 1957 in Port Lligat (which we knew) and that they discussed a potential collaboration on Don Quixote. I had no idea about that last bit of information and am wondering what Fanes' source could be.

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[The rare 1934 Mickey Mouse hood ornament by Desmo Car closed at $3,300 at a recent auction according to SCOOP!]

Don't miss today:
- Robin Hood storyboards by Joakim Gunnarsson
- The "Freddy Moore Girl"! by Pete Emslie
- Dan Jeup about Eric Larson on