Thursday, October 25, 2007

And finally, to leave us for three weeks on a happy note, this photo of Walt and Lillian sent by Jim Korkis:

[Here is a photo of Walt and Lillian from 1939 offered on eBay. No identification about where they are or why they are so happy or what they are pointing at.]

I love Walt's expression and the feeling of complicity that you can perceive between him and Lillian.

A few technical notes: This is likely to be my last post until Novemver 21st. I am in meetings all day tomorrow, will take a plane to Paris on Saturday and one for Brazil on Tuesday morning. I will be checking my emails regularly until Monday evening, then probably not at all for the two weeks where I will be in the area of Belem, close to the Amazon. So if you need to email me these days and expect an answer, please do it until Monday evening.

See you all in a few weeks.
This just in from a friend of the blog:


Since you won't be around to wish all of us Yanks a "Happy Thanksgiving", I looked around for a Disney Thanksgiving story for you so you could wish us an early Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving. Inspired by Wade Sampson's column this week on Walt Disney and the Grand Canyon, here is a story that Claude Coats told in 1986 (I am sure he told it earlier than that but that's when I heard it) about working on Grand Canyon Diorama and wild turkeys. So that is as close to a Thanksgiving story as I have for you to post if you want.

"First, I developed a story board for the diorama. I spotted in some bighorn sheep in the board as well as some other animals and several wild turkeys. When Walt saw the story board, he was quite surprised and said, 'I've never heard of wild turkeys at the Grand Canyon'. I assured him that there are wild turkeys at the Grand Canyon. He asked me again: "Are you sure?' 'Yes,' I told him. I saw them. Later that day, Walt brought a visitor into my area and was showing him our plans for the Grand Canyon Diorama. With a bit of authority in his voice, Walt asked the visitor, ' Did you know there are wild turkeys in the Grand Canyon?' but before the guest could reply Walt turned to me with that questioning look of his (raising his eyebrow) and said 'Are you sure there are wild turkeys in the Grand Canyon?'"]

Happy Halloween a few days early to all of you!
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[With Halloween coming up on Wednesday, October 31, one of the more popular Disney short cartoons is "Trick or Treat" that has spawned a comic book story, a Little Golden book and more including this Disneyland record that included two Halloween masks. So it the spirit of giving a treat rather than a trick, here are both masks. One is of Witch Hazel and the other is of the animated pumpkin that pops up at the end of the cartoon to say "Boo!" The artwork, like much of the artwork done for everything from posters to merchandise, is incredibly "off model" from the animated cartoon but is still fun.]

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Bill Sullivan progressed from ticket-taker at age nineteen to ride operator (Jungle Cruise where he stayed for two and half years) to operations supervisor at Disneyland, learning all aspects of the operation on the way. "I took a summer job, and I've been here ever since," Sully said in an interview shortly before his retirement.

He was involved with Disney's participation with the Olympics at Squaw Valley and also worked at the 1964 New York World's Fair Disney attractions.

Sully participated in the operations management of a number of lavish Disney film premieres, including "Mary Poppins" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and "The Happiest Millionaire" at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. He relocated in 1969 to Florida for the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971. He worked at the Hilton Inn South, the hotel rented out by the Disney Company to train cast members who would work at the new Disney resort hotels.

While in Florida, Sully served a stint as director of PICO (Project Installation and Coordination Office), coordinating operational design input and installation of owner-furnished equipment at Epcot, after which he was the director of Epcot Center operations. In 1987, he was named vice president of the Magic Kingdom, and was responsible for operation of the Park including attractions, merchandising, transportation, entertainment, ticket sales, Guest relations, costuming, foods, custodial, maintenance, planned work, and horticulture.

Sully retired in 1993 after 38 years with Disney, and without a single regret. He said he now spends his time with his eleven grandchildren. In September, he was officially made an NFFC Legend.]

Do not forget to check out today:
- Hawaii, 1939 and More on Walt at DCA posted by Michael Barrier on October 23, 2007.
- Walt Disney and the Grand Canyon by Wade Sampson
- Somebody Else... by Hans Perk
- Mary Blair Show Preview by Amid Amidi
- Bobby Driscoll 1937-1968 by Don Brockway
- Hal Adelquist, 1914-1981 by Don Brockway
This last one is a very sad story. In an email he sent both CartoonBrew and myself, Don added:
[I had to read the newspaper story (from 1977) twice – I couldn’t believe it; it’s like a bad movie. I searched around for a long time to see if anyone in the animation fan community had chronicled Adelquist’s post-Disney life, but as far as I can tell, it’s never been covered, apart from this piece (…that I’ll have to remove if the easily identifiable newspaper from whose archives this came spots it). Maybe someone with more resources than I have can do a little digging and find out more. I’m still kind of stunned by it all.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I will be in Barcelona tomorrow and the blog will only be updated again on Thursday.

By the way, and to avoid taking you by surprise: I will be leaving on Saturday for a 3-week vacation to Brazil (in the region of Belem during 2 weeks and then Sao Paulo for about a week) and will be back on November 21st. I am extremely unlikely to update the blog at any point during those three weeks (hence the huge number of posts this week).
Once again, I need your help. I was reviewing last week the key articles I still need to get access to, and here is the list I came up with. Would anyone of you have any of those?

Girls at Work for Disney
[Glamour Magazine, April 1941, 50-51]

Carl Nater: Walt Disney – As I know him
[Film News, 8, 1953]

Dave Smith: Mickey Mouse Index – Indexing and Cataloguing the Walt Disney Archives
[The Indexer, April 1987, 154-156]

Paul J. Smith: The Music of the Walt Disney Cartoons
[The Etude Music Magazine, July 1970, 148]

Robert Spencer Carr: Ideas for More Walt Disney Films for South American Release
[Politics 2, July 1945, 211-213]

Ross Care: The Threads of Melody
[Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, 1985, 80-115]

Mike Broggie: The Lilly Belle Goes to Disneyland
[Hollywood Studio, May / June 1968, 15-16]

Ray Bradbury: The House that Mouse Built
[Museum, March / April 1980]

Ray Bradbury: The Man with the Mickey Mouse Obsession
[Observer, January 13, 1980, p 32-33]

Ray Bradbury: The Machine-Tooled Happy-land
[Holiday, October 1965]

In addition, would anyone of you know what are the titles of I. Klein’s articles in Cartoonnist PROfiles issues 16, 20, 32, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46, 50, 67?

As you probably saw, if you followed today's "reading list" below, Michael Barrier has answered my comments on his post from yesterday. I remain unconvinced by his arguments, but love reading his answers, as ever.

I believe that in this specific case Michael is falling into a very common trap: to consider the Walt Disney Company as a living and thinking entity, instead of the sum of its components. The company is only as good as its members: if someone in the publishing department was ill-advised to authorize or sanction Neal Gabler's flawed bio of Walt, I do not believe this should tint Lasseter's artistic choices for DCA. I do not believe either that we can accuse John Lasseter or WDI to use Walt as a crutch in this specific case: there are quite a few original ideas that are not directly linked to Walt in those new plans for the park. Finally, using Walt as the unifying theme to salvage a park about California built in California (an absurd initial idea that Lasseter is obviously not responsible for) is probably the most satisfying solution that exists, if we exclude destroying it and rebuilding it from scratch.

Does that mean that no new ideas coming from Disney today are quite cynical or pure exploitation of Walt (one thinks of the conversion of the Disney Gallery at Disneyland into a high-price suite)? No, of course ot. But with the new management on board I believe we should see less and less of this and more honnest hommages to the man.

Speaking of the DCA redo, Jim Korkis was kind enough to send me yesterday this great piece about the Carthay Circle Theater:

[I am very excited that there will be a Carthay Circle Theater at the new Disney's California Adventure just as I am disappointed that none of the press releases delve into the full connection between Disney history and that historic movie palace. So, once again I am putting on my Disney Historian hat and sharing the following information from my files:

"Carthay Center" was developed by J. Harvey McCarthy in 1922 as an upscale residential district along the San Vicente Boulevard line. The development included the Carthay Circle movie theater, at San Vicente and Crescent Heights Boulevards. The official address was 6316 San Vicente and Dwight Gibbs was the architect. The style of this movie palace was "Mission Revival" and it seated around 1500 people. Along with Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Carthay Circle hosted more big West Coast movie premieres than any other Hollywood theater. "Gone With the Wind" premiered at the Carthay Circle in 1939.

In the "Our Gang / Little Rascals" episode "The Big Premiere" (1940), the first five minutes of this film was shot on location at the Carthay Circle theatre where the gang tried to crash a film premiere and the theater looks very similar to when "Snow White" premiered there.

In the letter box version of the 1967 Doris Day comedy, "Caprice", you can clearly see a great deal of the theater interior and exterior before it was demolished in March 18,1969 because it was no longer earthquake safe. Two low-rise office buildings and a city park occupy the site today.The last film to play the Carthay Circle was "The Shoes of the Fisherman".

The Disney history with the Carthay Circle Theater actually begins in 1929. Walt decided to produce a new animated series, the Silly Symphonies, and the first installment was "Skeleton Dance". However, when Walt sent the film to his distributor, Pat Powers, Powers replied, "They don't want this. MORE MICE."

Walt knew if he could get the short shown in a prestigious theater that an audience would love it, just as he had done with "Steamboat Willie". Walt found a salesman he knew at a local pool hall and convinced him to contact Fred Miller, the owner of the Carthay Circle Theater, and gave him a print of the film. Miller liked it and booked it into the theater in August 1929 where it was a huge hit. Walt sent the reviews back to Powers and the short was eventually booked into the New York Roxy Theater where it launched the successful Silly Symphony series.

It was this success that convinced Miller to take a chance on the first feature length animated cartoon, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". It premiered at his Carthay Circle Theater December 1937. That famous premiere is available on the "Snow White Platinum Edition" DVD on Disc Two where there is the “Los Angeles Premiere”, a brief newsreel of sorts (1:10), with appearances by various celebrities and Walt Disney along with performers costumed as the dwarves and Mickey, Minnie and Donald duck, and the “Original Premiere Radio Broadcast” (30:00) that features interviews with those at the premiere and some audio from the film itself.

Disney Historian J.B. Kaufman who knows things I never ever knew in decades of research has stated: "Snow White was at the Carthay Circle for four months. The Spanish-language edition of the feature, Blanca Nieves y los siete enanos, was unveiled at the Carthay Circle on Sunday, 27 February 1938, and became a regular Sunday-afternoon feature during the remainder of Snow White’s run there."

However, the Disney connection doesn't end there. The Carthay was only one of two theaters (the other being New York's Broadway Theater that used to be called the Colony Theater and was where "Steamboat Willie" premiered) to be fitted with the full Fantasound equipment for the premiere of "Fantasia".

In addition to the recreation of the Carthay Circle Theater on Sunset Boulevard at the Disney/MGM Studios at Walt Disney World, the Carthay Circle Theater is also found in a mural at Hollywood & Vine restaurant along with other local landmarks such as the Warner Brothers Studios and the Columbia Ranch.]

The Dwarfs at the Snow White premiere
Thanks to blog reader Tim Susanin, I am able to share with you today this great article from March, 1944 published in Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers and written by Carl Nater, who worked at the time for the Disney Studio as Production Coordinator for Army and Navy films. The article deals with the way the Studio had to operate during WWII.

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Saturday night I was at an NFFC event where Bill "Sully" Sullivan was talking. I got some great stories from him and permission to transcribe that 26 minute interview that was done with Lillian Disney, Diane and her daughter Jenny on the day that Epcot opened. Sully was the one who arranged for that interview since he was in charge of Epcot at that time and so I got the story behind how that interview was arranged. He had never seen the interview so I got him a copy. It was Bob Allen who conducted the interview. Once transcribed, I'll get it to "Walt's People".

Sully mentioned that when Walt Disney was in the Disneyland park, communication would go out to all the people with the secret code: "Code W". Sully said that one time at Walt Disney World on Main Street, Roy O. Disney was standing next to Dick Nunis, the President of the Disney parks, who had his radio turned on when the announcement came over it: "Code R. Code R." Roy looked at him and said, "What does that mean?" An embarrassed Nunis said, "It means you are in the park, sir." Roy paused and said quietly, "Oh." Then he said nothing more.

Also at the event was Michael Broggie, the son of Imagineer Roger Broggie, who was out here at Walt Disney World because the special train themed room at the Wilderness Lodge resort was officially re-named the "Carolwood Pacific" room the day before and Michael was here for the ceremonies. It was originally called the "Iron Spike" room and featured items and photos relating to Walt Disney's love of trains.

Michael announced that he is working on three new books: Walt's Words of Wisdom, a book filled with Walt quotes to inspire young people, a history of the Disney Studio and a book about stunt people. In addition, he is working with the Disney Family Museum to obtain and archive interviews for them as well as promoting a special product (the first one licensed by the Disney family) of an HO scale model of the Lilly Belle engine and cars that used to run around Walt's backyard. It is available on the Carolwood Pacific website and may soon be sold at the Disney theme parks.

Michael was very busy because Sunday he took a group walking the route of the original Ft. Wilderness railroad along with two folks who worked on that railroad. On Monday, he did a special two hour presentation for WDW cast members.]
I just got an email yesterday from author David Price (The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company published by Knopf, May 2008), who corrects some of the information I was posting yesterday:

[Just so there's no misimpression ... I'm a proud card-carrying memberof SIGGRAPH, but I'm not employed there.]

Considering David's online profile, I am now certain that this book will be a "must-read".
Do not miss today:

- That New "Partners" Statue and Walt and The Art Spirit by Michael Barrier (posted on October 22, 2007)
- Bill Peet’s Tar Baby pt 2 by Michael Sporn
- More Jippes by Joakim Gunnarsson
- Joe Grant at Chouinard by Joe Campana

Monday, October 22, 2007

One more interesting book has just been announced by Amazon: Illustrating Disney: Imagineering and the Fine Art of Disney Illustration by Peggy Van Pelt and Tom Gilleon.

(Considering your recent comment on my Disney California Adventure post: this one is for you Pete!)
I updated the Disney Books Network this weekend.

By the way, quite a few of us are looking forward to the release of To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios at the end of this month, but blog reader Ross Anderson sent me the following note about another upcoming book about Pixar that could prove to be a fascinating read:

[The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company (Knopf) will be published in May 2008.

The author, David Price, works at SIGGRAPH. The book is focussed on the individuals who catalysed the genesis of Pixar.]
This piece of Disneyana, found on ebay this weekend, is one of the most interesting I have seen in months. At first look it would seem to be part of the famous toothbrush holders series by S. Maw & Sons from the UK, but the seller claims that it was produced in Portugal. Beautiful in any case.

Do not miss today:

- Bill Peet’s Tar Baby pt 1 by Michael Sporn
- Woman Power Revisited by Hans Perk (I hope someone will soon face this challenge and work on a very in-depth piece about women in Disney animation. I would publish it with real pleasure and excitment.
- Fred Moore and Family by Jenny Lerew
- My Journey to the Great White North by Michael Barrier (especially the part about the new Goofy short).
- Schulz and Disney and Walt's Hawaiian Holiday both posted by Michael Barrier on October 21, 2007.

[I have to admit that I disagree with Michael about the "exploitation" of Walt Disney at DCA. I tend to see the use that is made of Disney history icons and even the new statue of Walt as hommages to the man and a great way to introduce new generations to who he was. I first learned about Walt himself through a comic book retelling of his life in the French Mickey Magazine (Le Journal de Mickey) and that is part of what led me to try anf know more about him. I doubt that cynicism is at work among the imagineers today when it comes to those "Walt" touches in DCA. From what I know of John Lasseter, he truly respects Walt and Walt's history and is constantly trying to pay tribute to him, directly or indirectly.

I had a similar discussion with a friend this weekend about the use of a quote from Walt as the main theme of Meet the Robinsons (which I finally saw this weekend). In this particular case, I was the one who was wondering if there wasn't some amount of cynicism in that use. But my friend reminded me that quite a few of the best Disney artists do truely respect and admire Walt and love to pay subtle or less subtle hommages to him, so that there was a good chance that this particular reference was sincere.

In case you wonder: I disliked the first part of the movie and loved the second one (from the moment when the villain reveals who he is).]

Friday, October 19, 2007

I just discovered two new books mentioned as upcoming on Amazon (not dates or ISBN, hence no link here).

The first one is a "no-brainer": The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland. The other 3 volumes in the series were good and I am quite looking forward to this one.

The second book is more intriguing. Its title: Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation by Mindy Aloff.

On here site, the author says: "Am working on Hippo in a Tutu, a book about the dance sources of historic Disney animated films, for Disney Editions."
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[The "Disney Girls" are so iconic that they tempt new interpretations from young artists including these interesting variations at this link.]

It looks as if I had forgotten to publish the second page of the animator draft of A China Plate. Here it goes.
I usually stay away from Park-related news. To be honnest the main reason for this is that WDI has not excited me much in a while. The other reason usually is that not many of WDI's new projects are related to Disney history (there are always a few exceptions, of course). That is until this week's news about the redo of Disney's California Adventure, which includes tributes to Walt' arrival in LA, a recreation of the Carthay Circle Theater where Snow White was premiered and even a new version of the Flying Saucers (under management from Car's character Luigi).

Are we seeing the beginning of a new golden age of WDI as was the case on the mid-80s? I and many others do hope so.

For more about this massive and much needed redo check this link and that link.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I just found this while browsing on Amazon. Not sure why the word "prince" is singular in this title, but judging by the second part of the title, this could be a very interesting book to pick up next year. We will see.

Disney's Neglected Prince: The Art of Disney's Knights in Shining Armor (and Loincloths) published by Disney Editions (June 3, 2008).

A friend just found this item, while browsing on ebay.
[Orlando, FL, October 2007 - Starting today get ready to be a part of Disney magic and own a very rare piece of Walt Disney World history, The 1971 Disney World Roy Disney dedication plaque from the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in FloridaThis one of a kind piece is the actual wood dedication plaque that was held by Roy Disney (Walt Disney's brother) for the dedication ceremony on October 25th, 1971, since the bronze one was too heavy to lift. The plaque reads "Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place. A Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn-together. Dedicated this 25th day of October, 1971."]
It almost looks as if the old Disney Auctions is back under a new name (Surplukingdom). They have quite a few cool stuff from the Disney parks on auction.
I am not sure about my feelings, though, when they start selling historical items like this one.
Both Jim Korkis (who sent me those images and links) and myself are wondering if:

1. The book Mickey Mouse: The Evolution! The Legend! The Phenomenon! hardcover, published by Easton Press and currently sold on ebay is just an expensive reprinting of the regular edition of a book with a similar title.

2. Collecting Disneyana by David Longest released in September 2007 according to Amazon is just a reprint or a totally new book.

Anyone to give us more info about both?

This just in from Vinny Poputo:

[Hi Didier,

I want to share this.

This is a pic of Ward Kimball in the cartoon Nifty Nineties. When I met Ward in the early 1980s, I asked him if he would sign it. He said, " Where did you find that? Horrible. " And wrote 'terrible' on the pic.


Do not miss today:
Are Myklebust sent me the following information on the Norwegian book below:

[Published the same year that Walt would have turned 100, but has absolute nothing to do with the official anniversary.

The title means: “The Hunt for Uncle Walt – Four Near-Disney Experiences” (- the under title is a spoof of the expression “Near-Death Experiences”).

More than a biography about Walt, it is a book with four essays about the theme “Disney”, two in general (with some biographical information about Walt in both), which are the familiar sociological babble, one about Celebration, the Disney town in Florida (with more sociological babble) and finally one about Carl Barks (quite a different essay from the others – in fact very well written) + a small bibliography listing some of the well known standard books about Disney.

The book doesn’t bring any new information, and it contains only a few illustrations – which are all well known images.

Only for those who want have a “complete” collection of Disney themed books (and can read Norwegian). ]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

While browsing this morning, I just discovered two foreign books about Disney I had never heard about.

One is from Italy, Walt Disney: Prima Stella a Sinistra (Walt Disney- First Star to the Left) by Mariuccia Ciotta (Bompiani, 2005).

The second one is from Norway, Jakten Pa Onkel Walt: Fire Nr-Disney-Opplevelser by Anders Giaever (Cappelen, 2001). Would any of the Norwegian readers of this blog be able to share some information about it?
Here is the cover of the Serbian magazine Mika Mis, number 122.
Do not miss today:

- Kahl's Jungle Book by Michael Sporn (I forgot to mention that one when it was originally posted)
- More Disney Films You'll Probably Never See by Wade Sampson
- Mysteries on the Way to Solution by Michael Barrier (October 16, 2007)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This just in from Jim Korkis:
[In 1939, the Disney Company produced a special commercial color short for the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Fifi entitled "Mickey's Surprise Party". In New York for the World's Fair, Nabisco built an air-conditioned motion picture theater seating approximately 266 persons where guests to the Fair could see the short for free. For the Exposition in San Francisco on Treasure Island, Nabisco had a 130 seat theater showing the short.

An unedited version of the short is hidden on the Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color DVD. On the second disc, press the up arrow on your remote when 'play all' is highlighted. Mickey's head appears in the "o" of Mouse. Press enter to see the cartoon. Here is a terrific collectible I recently located that is a metered envelope available at the Fair that features an advertisement for that very rare commercial short. ]
S/R Labs new auction catalog is now available online.

Don't miss today:

- Can anyone solve the "Where is Walt?" photo mystery that Michael Barrier just posted on his site (October 15, 2007)? The photo that illustrates this post is the one in question.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Would anyone reading this blog know if Disney comic artist Bill Wright ever granted an interview about his career?
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[The wonderful and frustrating thing about doing research is you run across items that are completely unrelated to what you are trying to research but they are too good to be tossed aside. Here are two quotes I ran across this weekend that I didn't remember ever reading although I must have since they were in my files:

"We thought we were always going to be twenty-one years old. We thought we would always be putting goldfish in the bottled drinking water, balancing cups of water on the light fixtures, changing the labels on cans of sauerkraut juice. We were twenty-one years old. Walt was thirty, leading the pack. Working there was more fun than any job I could ever imagine." --Ward Kimball from the book "Donald Duck" by Marcia Blitz (1979)

At Imagineer Claude Coat's 54th anniversary with the Disney Company in 1989, he told a group of cast members: "Walt was real easy to work for, if you did exactly what he wanted the first time. He had a funny way of using the word 'Disney'. He'd say, 'You've got to get more Disney in it', and he didn't mean that he wasn't necessarily going to do it, but he meant that something had to happen to make it better than it was." Coats did background and color styling for Snow White, Song of the South, Peter Pan and more and then in 1955 was moved to WED to work on Disneyland dark ride attractions.]
Quite a few things to check out today:

- Very Special Mouse posted by Michael Sporn
- Walt, Igor, and Stoki posted by Michael Barrier on October 12, 2007
- Børge on Babbitt by Hans Perk
- A Very Good Choice... by Hans Perk
- Congrats, Mr. Fun! by Hans Perk
- Disney Legends 20th Anniversary 2007 by C. W. Oberleitner
- A question from Bill by Joakim Gunnarsson

Friday, October 12, 2007

The blog was updated today with three posts. Do not get fooled by the fact that for some reason they appear after the post about Becky Fallberg.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This tragic news just in: Becky Fallberg has passed away.
[Wednesday, October 10 was a fairly memorable day in Disney History it seems. Not only does it mark the 50th of Disney's Zorro, it also marks the 55th birthday of a terrific little short entitled "Trick or Treat".

Wade Sampson reminded me of that fact because he is writing a column on the short for Mouse Planet for October 31st. He gave me a brief preview of his column where he will explain how Warner Brothers was also able to make a short featuring Witch Hazel voiced by June Foray, the highly censored comic book adaptation by Carl Barks and the fact that Walt thought the dialog in the cartoon was "too fast" and he couldn't always understand what was being said. Despite their personal friendship, director Jack Hannah never saw the comic book adaptation by Carl Barks until decades after the short was produced and Barks never saw the animated cartoon until decades later.]

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Out of the night,
when the full moon is bright,
comes the horseman known as Zorro.

This bold renegade
carves a Z with his blade,
a Z that stands for Zorro.

Zorro, Zorro, the fox so cunning and free,
Zorro, Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z.

Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro, Zorro.

Fifty years ago, on October 10, 1957 the Disney Company produced another huge hit when Zorro premiered on American television. A good way of celebrating is by checking Bill Cotter's exhaustive website regarding the series. In addition, there are several books for the Disney Zorro fan including: The Zorro Television Companion, Chasing After Zorro, Guy Williams: The Man Behind the Mask and even Zorro by Alex Toth featuring the artist's comic book stories of Disney's masked hero for DELL comics.

A bit of trivia Britt Lomond, who ended up being the villain in the first thirteen half hour episodes, was actually Walt's choice for Don Diego/Zorro but others convinced Walt to go with Guy Williams. Williams was a favorite because he got advice from his friend, actor Strother Martin, on how to play the character with a "lighter" touch and to bobble his head and smile while he was fencing which is something real fencers never do.]

Do not miss today:

Monday, October 08, 2007

I will be in London until Thursday and the blog wil only be updated again on Friday.

My wife is a jeweller. While browing through some of her reference book yesterday I stumbled upon this bracelet from 1939 created by Cartier. One fascinating detail, of course, are the characters from Alice in Wonderland it contains, along with the Silly Symphonies, Snow White and Pinocchio characters. This is 1939, which shows, once again, for how long Alice had been in the works.

By the way (and this is clearly totally off-topic), if you want to discover the type of jewels that my wife creates, visit her new blog in English. She can also create (and enjoys creating) tailor-made items. She works with stainless silver, but also gold and every precious material that you can think of and, of course, exports overseas. The prices on the site are in pounds, but to calculate the prices in US dollars, just multiply the amount by 2.

This just in:

[From Disney Newsreel September 14, 2007

Disney Legend Armand Bigle, often refered to as "Disney's Godfather of Europe" passed away in Paris on August 25. He was 89 years old.

Born in Paris on November 13, 1917, Armand worked during World War II as a correspondent for Opera Mundi, a news agency serving Western European press, before founding his own company and serving as representative for Walt Disney Productions in Benelux and Switzerland. After launching Mickey Magazine, which proved an immediate success, Armand joined Disney in 1949, when Company co-founder Roy O. Disney tapped him to relocate to Paris to serve as the Company's premier European sales representative. In that position, he was charged with the awesome task of opening new territories and recruiting licensees to develop Disney merchandise and publications in countries such as Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Greece, Israel, Indonesia, Beneluz and the Middle East.

As Roy's son, Roy E. Disney later recalled, "At the time, we had no significant merchandising business in Europe. Once Armand accepted the position, however, the business grew rather wildly."

After more than four decades of service to the Company, Armand retired in 1991, having overseen the creation of Disney toys and publications that helped bring the Disney name to households throughout the continent.

Armand is survived by his wife, Henriette and three sons, Gerald, Dominque and Alexandre.]
This just in from Pete Docter:

[The Art and Flair of Mary Blair

October 27, 2007 - March 18, 2008

The Cartoon Art Museum is proud to present The Art and Flair of Mary Blair, a retrospective exhibition of the work of famed animation designer Mary Blair (1911-1978). One of the first women to work as a concept artist for Disney, Blair was responsible for the look of some of the key Disney films of the 1940s and 1950s including Cinderella and Peter Pan. Her colorful, charming geometric designs, synonymous with 1950s style, appeared in advertisements and children¹s books. Perhaps her most famous creation, however, is the Disneyland attraction "It's A Small World," which Blair originally designed for the 1964 World's Fair. She was posthumously recognized as a Disney Legend in 1991 and was honored with a Winsor McCay animation award in 1996.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition includes an array of Blair's groundbreaking concept art for classic Disney feature films including Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, Disney shorts such as The Little House, Johnny Appleseed, and Susie, The Little Blue Coupe, and Disney theme parks and attractions, including "It's A Small World."

The Art and Flair of Mary Blair showcases the full scope of Blair's career as an artist and illustrator, including early watercolor paintings, commercial illustrations for such clients as Hanes, Pall Mall, and Baker's Chocolate, a selection of Blair's fine art, unpublished family photographs, and children¹s book illustrations, including pages from the classic Little Golden Book I Can Fly.

Information regarding the opening reception and additional programming will be announced as details are confirmed.]
I just received a scan of this stunningly beautiful concept drawing from Dumbo by Bill Peet being sold by Van Eaton Galleries and I couldn't help to share it with you.
This Pinocchio model sheet sold at the moment by Howard Lowery on ebay deserves particular attention as it represents the early version of Pinocchio as the character was conceived before being redesigned by Milt Kahl. I believe that Frank Thomas animated a great deal of that early version of Pinocchio before it was dropped.
Fun caricature of artist Jack Cutting being sold on ebay at the moment.
Do not miss today:

- How Mickey Mouse almost got to play Christopher Columbus by Jim Hill
- The True-Life Winston Hibler by Jeff Pepper

Friday, October 05, 2007

There is quite a lot of Carl Barks being sold at the moment on ebay through Jerry Weist Comics, including this 1937 caricature of Barks by fellow story artist Harry Reeves.
This beautiful ad from from 1927 just in via Mark Sonntag and ebay.
I have just received the following email from Dave Oneal (owner of the Extinct Attractions Club):

[As you may be aware, I have been creating a book about the motels, shops,and restaurants around the Disneyland area from the 1950s to today, and I'm happy to report we are actually in the middle of the book now and should be printing it within 6 weeks! But we are looking for your help!

The book is a chronicle of how all the little motels and shops popped up after Disneyland was built, it contains hundreds of pictures and a collection of little stories from various Disney legends, and famous Disney writers... but we need you help too!

Did you stay at the Heid motel? Knona Kai, or have a favorite memory of say Chaos Chinese place? Tell us about it, do you have a snap shot out side the park? We are looking for help, so please let me know! The web site is still in deveopment, but we will be adding more and more everyday! Check it out at this link.]

To be honnest, this subject does not excite me much, but I like the bit about "little stories from various Disney legends." That's a part that does sound exciting.

Do not miss today:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are Myklebust was kind enough to send me this article from The American Magazine from March 1931. He started identifying the artists on the photo above. Can you recognize the others?