Thursday, January 31, 2008

From Pete Merolo's astounding collection comes this never-seen-before 7'' x 9'' Mary Blair Concept painting of Alice and the March Hare at the Tea Party.
Here is the cover of the Serbian magazine Mika Mis number 95.
Jeff Kurtti was the first editor of the internal magazine WD Eye that I mentioned in a post yesterday and send me the following information:

[The magazine was created in the Communications department at WDI, since the Imagineer population had increased so much (a lot of "newbies"), and had spread all over the world. The idea was to create a communication that educated, updated, and helped bind the culture together.

The art, writing, and photography were pretty much all in-house and volunteer, and we had meetings to solicit ideas, contributions, and content.

Betsy Richman was in charge of the thing, I was the editor of issues One through Eight (I moved over to a new job at the Studio after that). I also wrote a large chunk of the content.

And of course, as always, Marty Sklar pored over every word with his relentless red pen! ;-)
Gino De Young in the WDI Graphics Department designed and produced the first five issues, it then got to be too much for him to keep sacrificing every evening and weekend for free to do it, so an outside firm began to do the design.

It went away for a while, cam back with a whole new creative team, mission, and form, then went away again.

The inventory you have there seems to be complete.]

Do not miss today (today is a particularly rich day in terms of in-depth posts):

- Where's Walt, No.4 posted by Michael Barrier on January 30, 2008
- In Walt's Worlds: Natural Walt by Wade Sampson
- Seiberling Latex Company by David Lesjak
- New Music from the Walt Disney Records Archives by Jeff Pepper
- Floyd Norman: Story Of A Storyman by Jeremie Noyer

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Found in an interview of Hazel George by Bob Thomas I am currently working on for Walt's People - Volume 10.

[Hazel George: I once asked Walt if he believed in the Immaculate Conception. Walt: “I believe that every conception is immaculate, because a child is involved.”]
We all know that The E-Ticket and Tales from the Laughing Place are the two best resources for information about the parks and their creation. The two best sources outside of internal Disney publications that is.

Among those internal publications the one that I have always found the most fascinating is the newsletter from Walt Disney Imagineering, WD Eye. I am trying to learn more about this newsletter. It seems to have had two different "seasons": one from about 1989 to about 1994 and one from mid-1996 to 1998. Here are the issues I know exist.

Do you know if there were others? When did the magazine start getting published and when did it stop?

November 1989 - Issue 1 - Wonders of Life
December 1989 - Issue 2 - MGM Studios
January 1990 - Issue 3 - 3 Men and a Business Plan
February 1990 - Issue 4 - Love Imagineering Style
April 1990 - Issue 5 - Jungle Fever
Summer 1990 - Issue 6 - Old Kids on the Block
Winter 1990 - Issue 7 - Fantasia is 50
Spring 1991 - Issue 8 - Lifestyles of the Budget
1991 - Issue 9 - Cartoon Sketching Map of WDI 1991
Spring 1992 - Issue 10 - Crossing the Atlantic
Fall 1992 - Issue 11 - Molding the Magic
Winter 1992 - Issue 12 - WDI 40th Anniversary
Spring 1993 - Issue 13 - TDL 10 Years Old
Summer 1993 - Issue 14 - Unsung Heroes of WDI
Winter 1993 - Issue 15 - Disney America
Spring 1994 - Issue 16 - WDW Tower of Terror

July 1996 - Fantasia Gardens - Premiere Issue
August 1996 - The Disneyland Resort
September 1996 - First E Ticket at EPCOT
September 1996 - Marty Sklar's 40 Years with Disney
Oct / Nov 1996 - WDW 25th Anniversary
January 1997 - Happy New Year
April / May 1997 - Club Disney
Summer 1997 - The New Amsterdam Theater
Winter 1998 - 1997 Year in Review
Summer 1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Fall 1998 - Disney Cruise Line
Winter 1999 - Test Track
And here is the cover of the Serbian Mika Mis number 94.

Do not miss today:

- Last Little House - 5 by Michael Sporn
- Joe Grant and Hero Worship posted by Michael Barrier on January 29, 2008.

By the way, in that last post we learn that Don Hahn is working on a film that will pay tribute to Joe Grant. Knowing that John Canemaker is currently working on a book about Joe Grant and Joe Ranft, we can look forward to an in-depth exploration of Grant's career this year or next.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I have just received yesterday more covers from the pre-WWII Serbian magazine Mika Mis. Here is the first of this new series of 8 covers.

Edward Mazzilli attracted my attention yesterday to a great web site: The Mouse Lounge:

[Just as a heads up: not sure if you listen to any of the Disney Podcasts that are out there, but the MouseLounge Podcast has had two back to back shows with some great Walt Content. Gary Chambers is the host and as near as I can figure it he gets his clips from the Disney Family Museum. He use relative tracks to what he is trying to discuss. This week we heard Walt talking a number of different ways about getting cash for his endevours. A very good listen.

Show 29 had Walt speaking about his South American trip.

Show # 30 also has a panel discussion recorded last week at the re-opening of 101 Dalmations. Besides Leonard Maltin, there was Alice Davis, Eric Goldberg, Lisa Davis, and Blaine Gibson in attendence also. Enjoy.]

This just in from Jim Korkis:
[Purchase an authentic Disney military insignia emblem for less than six dollars (here).

"BATTLIN' PETE" Walt Disney Merchant Marine EmblemThe military service patch of the United States Merchant Marine was created by the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California in July 1944. The Walt Disney Studios had become world renowned for their designs for military units of the United States Armed Forces.
On July 5, 1944, The United Seamen's Service, Inc. of Los Angeles, California, requested the Walt Disney studios to produce a patch for the Merchant Marine. An exhibition of wartime art of merchant seamen of the United Nations was scheduled at the Los Angeles County Museum from July 16 to August 13, 1944. In connection with this exhibition, The United Seamen's Service, Inc. wanted to display this new Merchant Marine patch art at a public ceremony on Sunday, July 23, 1944.
True to his commitment to the Armed Services, Mr. Walt Disney directed his artists to create a patch for the United States Merchant Marine, recognizing their efforts in the conduct of World War II. Using one of their colorful characters, Battlin' Pete, the patch was created showing Pete knocking out a humanized torpedo. The finished artwork was mailed on July 14, 1944. The "Walt Disney Merchant Marine Emblem" image of Battlin' Pete was done by Hank Porter, who was the head of the WW II insignia unit at Disney Studios.
The patch was produced in a 5" diameter size, different from the many shoulder patches created for the other armed forces units, which were usually 2 1/2" in diameter. The Merchant Marine patch was usually worn on the front of jackets or blouses. The United States Merchant Marine now had the distinction of its own Walt Disney Service Patch.

At the same time, the official Merchant Marine service song was written at the United States Maritime Service Training Center, Sheepshead Bay, New York. The song, Heave Ho, was written by Jack Lawrence, one of the musicians in the base band.

The song ends, "We can cross any ocean, sail any river, give us the goods and we'll deliver, damn the submarine, we're the men of the Merchant Marine."The Walt Disney service patch and the Merchant Marine service song help tell part of the story of life at sea, the merchant marine defying the elements, and the actions of the enemy. Both remain a part of our country's proud military past and a memory of a merchant marine fleet that will never be seen again.

We shall also never see such a group of merchant seamen who sailed the Liberty Fleet in World War II. Often sailing with the merchant crews were 180,000 U.S. Navy Armed Guard.]
Do not miss today:

- Mickey Mouse on the Home Front by David Lesjak
- Insignia Stamp Album by David Lesjak
- Peet’s Little House - 4 by Michael Sporn

Monday, January 28, 2008

I received this morning the cover proof of Walt's People - Volume 6. Still about 7 weeks until its official release but I am always excited when those proofs start coming my way.
By the way, here is what will have been accomplished after the release of Volume 6:
Volume 1
JB Kaufman : Rudy Ising
Mike Barrier : Dave Hand
George Sherman : Bill Tytla
Paul Anderson : Ken Anderson
Robin Allan : Milt Kahl
John Province : Marc Davis
Mike Lyons : Marc Davis
Jim Korkis : Jack Hannah
Alain Littaye : John Hench
Didier Ghez : John Hench
Robin Allan : Harper Goff
Jim Korkis : Joyce Carlson
Peter Emslie : Cover art

Volume 2
JB Kaufman: Friz Freleng
John Province : Grim Natwick
Mike Barrier : Frank Tashlin
Jim Korkis : Ward Kimball
Mike Barrier : Ward Kimball
Arn Saba : Floyd Gottfredson
Robin Allan : Herb Ryman
Christian Renaut : Frank Thomas
Wes Sullivan : Dale Oliver
Robin Allan : Eric Larson
Thorkil Rasmussen : Eric Larson
Thorkil Rasmussen : Woolie Reitherman
Christian Renaut : Richard Rich
Didier Ghez : Richard Rich
Mike Lyons : Glen Keane
Didier Ghez : Glen Keane
Peter Emslie : Cover art

Volume 3
Dave Smith: Ben Sharpsteen
Thorkil Rasmussen : Ward Kimball
Klaus Strzyz : Ward Kimball
Klaus Strzyz : Art Babbitt
Mike Barrier : Art Babbitt
Mike Lyons: Joe Grant
Jim Korkis : Bill Justice
Wes Sullivan : Volus Jones
John Province : Bill Peet
Robin Allan : Lee Blair
Robin Allan : James Algar
Klaus Strzyz : Jack Bradbury
Klaus Strzyz : Tony Strobl
Celbi Pegoraro : Floyd Norman
Christian Renaut : Burny Mattinson
Christian Renaut : Andreas Deja and Phil Nibbelink
Didier Ghez: Andreas Deja
Christian Ziebarth: Andreas Deja
Peter Emslie: Cover art

Volume 4
JB Kaufman: Virginia Davis
Grim Natwick: Homage to a Star
Joe Adamson: Dick Huemer
Brian Sibley: Dick Huemer
Dick Huemer: Huemeresque 1 and 2
Mike Barrier: Joe Grant
Jim Korkis: Peter Ellenshaw
Armand Eisen: John Hench
Armand Eisen: Marc Davis
Dave Smith: Lou Debney
Charles Solomon: Stan Green
Charles Solomon: Leo Salkin
Christian Renaut: Dale Oliver
Alberto Becattini: Dick Moores
Alberto Becattini: Roger Armstrong
Don Peri: Roy Williams
Didier Ghez: Brian Sibley
Christian Renaut: Ted Berman
Floyd Norman: The Other Fred
Floyd Norman: The Bullpen
Celbi Pegoraro: Floyd Norman
Christian Ziebarth: Eric Goldberg
Pete Emslie: Cover Art

Volume 5
Michael Barrier: Hugh Harman
Dave Smith: Nadine Missakian
Richard Shale: Ward Kimball
Dave Smith and Richard Shale: Erwin Verity
Richard Hubler: James Algar
Richard Hubler: Winston Hibler
Richard Hubler: Bill Anderson
Richard Hubler: Bill Walsh
Christopher Finch and Linda Rosenkrantz: Bill Walsh
Richard Hubler: George Bruns
John Burlingame: Buddy Baker
Jérémie Noyer: Buddy Baker
Mike Barrier: Fess Parker
Christian Renaut: Walt Stanchfield
Richard Hubler: Marc Davis
Dave Oneil: Alice Davis
Richard Hubler: T. Hee
Harry McCracken: Maurice Noble
Christopher Finch and Linda Rosenkrantz: Al Dempster
Bob Miller: Walt Peregoy
Floyd Norman: Windwagon Smith
Floyd Norman: The Making of The Jungle Book
Jim Korkis: Bill Evans
Alberto Becattini: Jack Bradbury
Alberto Becattini: Lynn Karp
Didier Ghez: Dave Michener
John Musker: In Memory of Vance Gerry
Charles Solomon : Vance Gerry
Christian Renaut: Vance Gerry
Clay Kaytis: Ron Clements and John Musker
Pete Emslie: Cover Art

Volume 6
Michael Barrier: Carl Stalling
I. Klein: The Disney Studio in the ‘30s
I. Klein: Some Close-Up Shots of Walt Disney during the “Golden Years”
I. Klein: Golden Age Animator Vladimir (Bill) Tytla
I. Klein: Walt Disney Took Another Giant Step!
Steve Hulett: Wilfred Jackson
Steve Hulett: Eric Larson
Steve Hulett: Ward Kimball
Steve Hulett: Ken Anderson
Steve Hulett: Ken O'Connor
Steve Hulett: Claude Coates
Robin Allan: Claude Coats
Christopher Finch: Frank Thomas
Christopher Finch: Ollie Johnston
Christopher Finch: Milt Kahl
JB Kaufman: Maurice Rapf
Richard Hubler: Lillian Disney
Richard Hubler: Roy O. Disney
Richard Hubler: Edna Disney
Richard Hubler: Sharon Disney
Richard Hubler: Diane Disney Miller
Richard Hubler: Ron Miller
Richard Hubler: Dick Irvine
Richard Hubler: Marvin Davis
Richard Hubler: Joe Fowler
Richard Hubler: Roger Broggie
Dave Smith: Fred Joerger
Jim Korkis: Ken Anderson
Richard Hubler: Frank Reilly
Frank Reilly: The Walt Disney Comic Strips
Jim Davis and Alberto Becattini: Ken Hultgren
Wes Sullivan: Bud Hester
Wes Sullivan: Iwao Takamoto
Gabe Essoe: Larry Clemmons
Christian Renaut: Joe Hale
Didier Ghez: Steve Hulett
Jim Korkis stumbled upon those great pieces of art created by Ward Kimball and currently on sale on ebay through Howard Lowery. We had to share those with you.

I updated the Disney Books Network this weekend.
Do not miss today:

- Mickey Mouse Sunday newspaper strip by David Lesjak
- D.C. Heath & Company by David Lesjak

Friday, January 25, 2008

The long-awaited book about Maurice Noble, Stepping into the Picture: Cartoon Designer Maurice Noble seems to have started shipping on Amazon based on my "Amazon Associates" report from yesterday. Whenever one of you gets it, I would be very excited to hear your thoughts about it. I have really been looking forward to that one as it seems to be a book that started as an attempt by Maurice Noble at writting his autobiography.
From Michael Barrier comes this article published in Reader's Digest in February 1969 and written by Roy Disney.

This just in:

[Don Brockway shares some links to YouTube for the film "40 Pounds of Trouble" mentioned in Wade Sampson's column this week. It was the first non-Disney film filmed at Disneyland.]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I had never seen the poster of the Silly Symphony Cannibal Capers before. I just discovered it on ebay today.

What is very unclear from the description is whether this is a photostat or the original art. If this is actually the original art (not impossible as it seems to come from the estate of Burt Gillett), then it is a stunning piece which is totally undervalued at the moment (and I mean totally undervalued).
Fabulous series of photos from the Disney Studio in 1938 being sold on ebay at the moment, including the Animation Test Camera Department (above), the multiplane (below)...

The Special Effects Department (I believ this might be Jim Macdonald)...

and Ink and Paint.
Do not miss today:

- "Dream Worlds" offers look at abandoned Disney animated features by Jim Hill
- Khrushchev and Disneyland by Wade Sampson
- Disney Background Painter Mack Dies at 90

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Do not miss today:

- Where Walt Was: Honolulu, August 1934 (January 21, 2008) and More on Walt in Hawaii (January 22, 2008) by Michael Barrier. Great piece of research.
- Peet and Blair’s Little House by Michael Sporn
- Lloyd Richardson revisited by Hans Perk

Monday, January 21, 2008

The blog will not be updated on Tuesday. See you on Wednesday.

The cover of the book The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company has just been released on Amazon. As I already mentioned: Can't wait.
Anyone travelling to Tokyo in the near future? I would love to get this book about Tokyo DisneySea that I just discovered through a reader of the blog.

By the way, I am still trying to get a copy of the Japanese history of Tokyo Disneyland: Tokyo Disuniirando no shinso (The True Story of Tokyo Disneyland) by Kano Yasuhisa, published in 1986 by Kindaiban geisha.

Could anyone help?
As promised, here is the second part of the article I started posting last week.

I mentioned my thoughts about Hans Bacher's Dreamworlds last week. Christian Renaut sent me the following note about that book:

[I totally subscribe to your admiration for Hans Bacher's work and his book is definitely a must. I had had the privilege to have a look at a big collection of his preliminary inspirational sketches and paintings. I had then the idea to publish a book about his work because I couldn't resign myself to think such masterpieces couldn't be seen by more people. I have always thought that the best work about "Beauty and the Beast" or "Aladdin" or even "Mulan" was his, long before the features were carried out.

Hans Bacher is a clever, tactful and dedicated draftsman, who knows everything about colour and style. He may highlight his masters and role models' work like Cy Young's, Hans is clearly on a par with them, but he is too humble to even venture to think so himself.

I will always remember the moment I could look at all these paintings, although they were (good) xeroxes and do wish I had been able to write that book about him.

But a highlight was also meeting him just as Mulan was coming out in the USA. I understand why Andreas Deja gets along so well with him, and their German childhoods don't explain everything: they both have such subtlety, finesse.

Well, wherever he is now, I'd like to tell Hans I'm so glad he did this book and now his work is available for anyone to marvel at.]

Do not miss today:

- USS Atule SS-403 - insignia by David Lesjak
- Searchlight Maintenance Detachment by David Lesjak
- Laugh-O-meter by Hans Perk
- Meador’s Forbidden Planet by Michael Sporn

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thanks to Tim Susanin, here are the first three pages of the article Growing Pains published in the magazine American Cinematographer in March, 1941. I will post the rest on Monday.

Do not miss today:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are Myklebust was kind enough to send me this excellent article the magazine Better Homes and Gardens published in January 1940. I thought you might enjoy it.

Do not miss today:
- Peet’s Little House 2 by Michael Sporn
- Walt's Canadian Connection by Wade Sampson

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I received quite a few books that I was awaiting this week. The best surprise among them was Hans Bacher's Dreamworlds. I knew it had a good chance to be good, but I never realized it would be that good! I was afraid it might be a book purely aimed at professional artists. It isn't. If you are interested in the history of the Disney Studio during the last 20 years, if you love concept art, and if you want to discover concept paintings from quite a few of the discarded projects Hans worked on at Disney just before he left, like My People, Wild Life or Fraidy Cat, get this book now. This is a "must-have" and a "must-read" (there is also beautiful art from Beauty and the Beast, Mulan,...). More interesting artwork in this book that in a few "art-ofs" released by Disney recently.
This just in from Don Brockway:

[I can't tell you who produced the dolls, since neither of the pictures I have offers up a credit for them.

What's interesting to note, however, is that the dolls are probablyarticulated to some degree, as evidenced by the different positions of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum's heads/arms.

The least I can do is give you a better version of the picture you have aswell as the one that appeared in the NY Sunday News Magazine.

I'm not sure if I have these posted over at, theunofficial site I've had up for a few years, but you're welcome to them!]

Thanks Don!

The reason I am so interested in those dolls is that I suspect they might have been produced by the Italian company Lars about which I am trying to write an article for Tomart's Disneyana Update. Did I say "Lars"? That company remains a mystery and I have started developing a new theory about it. Here is a note I posted on a blog two weeks ago and that did not get any answer. I was wondering if one of the readers of this blog could help.

[I need your help. I write articles about Vintage Disneyana for the US magazine Tomart's Disneyana Update. I have been researching for several years some fascinating Disney dolls that are credited in all Disney reference books to a mysterious Italian company supposedly called Lars.

I have never been able to find any information about Lars and the felt dolls look suspiciously like some that might have been produced by another Italian company... Lenci!

This weekend I stumbled upon a piece of information that might explain everything. It looks as if Lenci changed its named to Ars Lenci at some point. Depending on the way this was printed on the label, some people might have misinterpreted it and read Lars instead of Ars Lenci.

I was wondering if you or some of the readers of your blog could help me with at least three things:

- Would you have a photograph of one of the labels or stamps that feature the Ars Lenci logo? (By the way: when did the change in name happen?)

- The dolls credited to Lars are of much better quality and much more "on-model" than the Disney dolls released by Lenci in the 60s and that appear in one of the catalogs your feature on the site. Would you have a catalog that would help me find out if those better quality dolls were released in the '40s, '50s or '70s?

- You mention several books about Lenci: do you know if one of them features Disney dolls that might be relevant to my quest?

Thanks a million in advance for your feedback! Happy New Year.]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yesterday I posted a photo of the Sound-Effects Department. Here is a story told by Jim Macdonald that will appear in Walt's People - Volume 7.

[On the sound effects stage there are all those drawers there, a couple of hundred, all of them labeled. Now then, I had to make some bee buzzes and I could never get the rubber thin enough. So I’d sent out and I’d had some rubbers, the regular contraceptives, sent in. I stretched those out over a spool and I put a hose at the bottom and by working the handle there I could make these bees buzz. To label those from other bees, what did I label those? I said, “Spanish Fly.” Walt had some guests in there and he was reading off all these labels, “raspberries… horns… Spanish Fl… ah…” and he moves over it quickly. He got off that idea quickly. But he did love the sound effects. Back there in the early, early days, he used to love to come. I remember he used to bring guests around, and he’d always bring them to the sound-effects stage.]
I was reviewing an old auction catalog yesterday when I stumbled upon this small photo of Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Alice. In this specific case, however, my interest does not focus on Kathryn but on the plush dolls that surround her. Would any of you know who created those?

Extremely astonishing piece of Disneyana found on ebay today:

[This rare box from Java Indonesia is from the mid 1900's and was used as a shop display. This box advertises a favorite Javanese snack called Kwatji with the worlds favorite cartoon character. This 3-dimensional art measures 20 1/2" high x 13" wide x 6 1/2" deep.]