Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tomorrow and Friday are holidays in Spain. The blog will be updated again on Monday.
Hans Perk has posted the following note on his blog today:

[Several blogs have already pointed the way to the book Working for Disney: 1936-1937, the Ingeborg Willy Scrapbook from The Cowan Collection, available through Blurb for $40 softcover or $48 hardcover. (Check out the PDF of sample pages following the link.)

Mine arrived yesterday, and I must say I am delighted, it was well worth the expense. The photos are wonderful, and most have been enlarged for better viewing. It also features lots and lots of drawings, and even a few Time Reports and Scene Instruction Sheets, the likes I have not seen before! The book itself is nice and tight, quite a surprise for a book that has been produced this way.

With Snow White on the cover, one can only hope that the Disney lawyers leave this alone, as it is presented at cost. Better make sure and get it before it is too late!]

I have received mine a few minutes ago and I second every one of the sentences above. A "must-have". In my universe, at least.
An other treasure from Bob Cowan's collection.

According to Bob:

[Disney and Leopold Stokowski were having trouble reaching an agreement for Stokowski's involvement in the film. Disney went ahead and started work on a "Bug Orchestra" that would play the music if an agreement with Stokowski was not reached. This is a Graphite and watercolor concept drawing of “Bug Orchestra.” A contract was signed and the "Bug Orchestra" did not appear in the film.]
James D. Marks submited the following two questions to me a few weeks ago.

[Please ask Diane if Walt shopped for the clothes he wore or did someone purchase them for him. His clothes were always very fashionable. He put together shirt, tie, jacket and pants which most of us wouldn't think of combining. He looked GREAT, always.

Also, did Walt stand on his tip-toes when photographed so he would appear taller? (I read that somewhere)]

Diane answered:

[Dad shopped for himself. He cared very much about his appearance, and often fretted with me that I was too casual about my attire. We see how, when success happened in the late 20's and early 30's, he became a really natty dresser.

He was much more conservative during my life with him. Have you seen the photo of him attired in an array of checks? With the black and white wing tip shoes? Quite dashing! Dad stood on his tiptoes sometimes in a humorous manner when standing with me and my sister when we were grown .. Sharon was 5'8". He also did so in our wedding photo, to see eye to eye with my husband, who is 6'5".

I appreciate your reader's observations!]
Do not miss today:

- Walt Disney autograph by David Lesjak
- The Rest of the Story by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here is a fun little article, "written by Julie Svendsen" about her father, Disney artist Julius Svendsen. It was oublished in the children's magazine Jack & Jill in September 1963.

The weather was wonderful in Madrid this weekend - almost summer-like - and we had a chance to walk around the Parque del Retiro on Sunday. Close by was a nice bookfair where I picked up this weird little book.

Published in 1943 by Editorial Molino, it proves that piracy was not born with the digital age. Disney's Three Little Pigs are used without credit and license in a story that features dozens of non-Disney characters.

Ironically Editorial Molino's artists were quite familiar with Disney characters and Disney copyrights though. Before the Spanish civil war they had been one of Disney's official licensees in the country (see my article about them in Tomart's Disneyana Update for more information on the subject).

Sunbathing at the Studio

One of the most enjoyable interviews I have conducted (over the phone) recently is a very long one with Joe Hale. The questions that Jim Korkis sent me did help a lot, by the way.

The second part of that interview happened yesterday and Joe mentioned (without my prompting him) a funny story related to the sunbathing photo I just posted on the blog.

The artists were accustomed to go sunbathing, nude, on the roof of the Studio. The Studio is 3 stories high as we all know. When St. Joseph's hospital was built in front of the Studio it was 4 stories high and someone apparently soon realized that the nuns working at St. Joseph had a wonderful view, from the 4th floor, of the artists in the nude.

No more nude sunbathing from then on.
Do not miss today:

- Bambiart by Michael Sporn
- Pluto Goes To The Dogs by Hans Perk

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bob Cowlan, who recently released the book Working for Disney: 1936-1937 - The Ingeborg Willy Scrapbook, has decided to share with all of us his stunning collection. He is doing it both through the Stuff from the Park blog (see post below) and the Disney History blog. The amount of outstanding material that Bob sent me last week is hard to describe.

Without further ado, let's start with two charcoal concept drawings created for the Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia. This underground sequence was never used in the movie.
Quite a few Disney artists have mentioned in interviews that one of their favorite ways to relax in the '40s and '50s was to sunbath, at times naked, on the roof of the Animation building.

This photo is currently being sold on ebay.
There is so much great material that was posted this weekend, that it is difficult to even know where to begin. Here is what you really should not miss:

- The Studio Strike of 1941 Part 1 on Stuff from the Park
- The Studio Strike of 1941 Part 2 on Stuff from the Park
- Studio strike by David Lesjak (and a lot of other excellent posts on Vintage Disney Collectibles)
- Well, now we know... by Hans Perk
- Hyperion's End by Hans Perk
- Walt's early gig by Mark Sonntag
- Red Cross promotional pamphlet by David Lesjak
- Third War Loan by David Lesjak

Friday, April 25, 2008

Speaking of very exciting book project, I was delighted to learn this morning that Amid Amidi is currently working on a book about Pixar shorts. Can't wait to get and read that one.
I bought this Portuguese magazine about 15 years ago. At the time I did not know much about most of the best Disney artists, aside from a few of the Nine Old Men. So while I liked the cover, I did not pay very close attention to it.

It wasn't until I met John Canemaker in New York two weeks ago and he showed me the illustrations for his upcoming book on Joe Grant and Joe Ranft that I realized the obvious: this cover was created by Joe Grant. It is even signed in the top right corner. That was an embarassing but very enjoyable "Aha!" moment.
This photo was spotted on ebay by Mark Sonntag. The caption reads:

[As part of the Press Preview on April 12 (1964), Henry Ford II was joined by Walt Disney and Robert Moses in a 1964 Ford Galaxie convertible for the opening on The Magic Skyway.]
This just in from Are Myklebust:

[A couple of comments to postings on your blog lately:

1) Interviews with Paul Murry;

There is one more that exists: Klaus Spillman: The Man Who Drew More Tales for the Mouse: An Interview with Paul Murry. The Duckburg Times, no. 16, pp. 17-23. Private press (Frank Gabbard), 1982. Check this link.

2) Mickey Mouse Sunday pages:

In fact an Italian book from 1977 exists that reprints most of this early Sunday pages (also published in other Europeans countries).]

The worst thing is that I have both a copy of the Spillman interview and of the Italian book (translated in French) in my archives. This is what 25 years of collecting will do not you.
Do not miss today the fascinating interview of Ted Thomas by Leo N. Holzer on Jim Hill.

A few other things to check out are:

- Story development in Walt's Kansas City days by Mark Sonntag
- Burlesque or promo? by Mark Sonntag
- The third part of James Baxter's interview by Clay Kaytis

Thursday, April 24, 2008

As you know, one of the books I am really looking forward to see released next month is The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company. I had a chance of reading a review copy and I can already tell you that it is both a page-turner and an extremely well researched book.

Its author, David A. Price, was kind enough to answer a few questions for the Disney History blog.

DG: How does one go from a book about Jamestown to a book about the history of Pixar?

DP: I had spent around five years immersed in the early 1600's. It was agreat experience, which I'd never trade for anything, but I was ready to come back to my own century.

I was drawn right away to the idea of chronicling Pixar's history. I'd been a fan since the early shorts of the 1980's. Pixar's body of work amounts to two decades of sustained excellence, for the most part, which is something you don't witness very often in life. It's such a rarity that I think it invites the question, how did this come about? What's the real story? And, of course, there's an important piece of business and technology history built into it, which was attractive to me.

I know I'm probably alone in thinking this, but I do believe the stories of Jamestown and Pixar have something in common in that they're both journeys into uncharted territory.

DG: Who were the people you interviewed who gave you the "key" to what the Pixar touch is?

DP: I approached current and former employees and other people who'd had a role in the story. Several dozen or so of them helped me, including one of the co-founders (Alvy Ray Smith), production and business executives, technical people and animators, you name it. Most were former employees who could talk about the company freely – and affectionately, I should add. After Alvy and I got to know each other, he was really generous in allowing me access to his old Lucasfilm and Pixar files.

There were other sources who are harder to classify. Harrison "Buzz" Price, no relation, who used to be Walt's numbers guy in the planning of the theme parks, later was heavily involved in shaping the California Institute of the Arts; he shared some background on CalArts, pre-Lasseter. A former senior-level Microsoft executive and a former Pixar person were separately able to confirm the rumors that Microsoft discussed an acquisition with Pixar in 1994 and they set the scene for me. So it's really an eclectic group.

Getting back to your question, I don't think I talked with anyone specifically about the meaning of the "Pixar touch" itself. I'd say the Pixar touch is something anyone can see onscreen and interpret for themselves. For me, it's a level of artistic and technical quality and a level of sharpness and intelligence in the script. In the strongest films, I think the Pixar touch is also a level of complexity in characters who appeal to children but who are struggling with adult-like problems.

DG: What were your most important discoveries while conducting your research?

DP: Wow, let's see. I came into the project knowing a fair amount about the company, so my perspective might be different from some other people's. I was surprised by the number of companies that turned down Lucasfilm when it was trying to spin off its computer graphics group before Steve Jobs finally bought it. I hadn't known how much Pixar's early years as a computer hardware and software company were shaped by Steve's vision of bringing 3-D graphics technology to Everyman. I was interested when I got hold of the original Disney-Pixar production contract and I saw how one-sided it was. I was surprised at how inexpensively Toy Story was made.

I knew generally that Pixar's directors and artists tend to be very committed to research on the subjects of their films, but until I worked on the book, I didn't appreciate the extremes to which they sometimes take that research. I don't think it's widely known that Ratatouille had another, unpublicized director between Jan Pinkava and Brad Bird. Just to take a few things more or less at random. When I was writing, I wasn't necessarily looking at my factual finds as discoveries in their own right as much as I was trying to understand their relationship to a larger picture.

DG: Did you study Disney history before researching Pixar history?

DP:It isn't my background, but yes, I did study it. It became obvious pretty quickly that one can't understand the history of computer animation without some grounding in the history of animation in general and Disney animation in particular. So I got to spend time with books, films, old issues of Animato, etc. I was fascinated to learn how much historical work is being done by people outside the academic community who are doing it for love of the subject. A few accessible sources I'd recommend to anyone are Michael Barrier's Hollywood Cartoons, Tom Sito's Drawing the Line, and the Walt's People series. Remind me, who's that guy who does Walt's People?

I also like Charles Solomon's Enchanted Drawings.

DG: Any special anecdotes linked to researching or publishing that book?

DP: It was a lot of work, like any other big project, but it didn't always feel that way -- talking for hours with amazing people, watching the shooting stars overhead in Pixar's main theater, taking in the Sonoma Film Festival, tooling around Woodside (the town where Steve was living when he bought Pixar), poring through Ed Catmull's Ph.D. thesis ... It was a case where, as Noel Coward is supposed to have said, "Work is much more fun than fun."
I have always be fascinated by the tremendous preservation efforts of early animated shorts undertaken Ray Pointer. If you want to read more about Ray's efforts, you should read the 3 articles published about him on this blog or check out his site, Inkwell Images, which is now part of the permanent links on this blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interesting drawing and photo of long-time Disney artist Ralph Wright currently being sold on ebay.
Bill Tytla, Quebec and Prague - I need your help

While in New York, John Culhane mentioned that Bill Tytla had been interviewed during Expo 67 in Montreal and that the interview was filmed! I am assuming that the interview was conducted by the late Louise Beaudet. There is a movie titled "Vive L'Animation" from 1966 that shows up in the Archives of the Cinematheque Quebecoise and that seems to include Tytla as a participant.

Would a reader of this blog be able to visit the Cinematheque Quebecoise in order to:

1. Check out this movie to find out if it contains excerpts of an interview with Tytla?
2. Check out if the full tape / movie of the interview has been preserved there and who holds the copyright?

Another request, this time for our Czech readers or anyone that may be travelling to Prague soon. I have reasons to believe that the Prague Film Archives might contain some extremely rare material related to Disney animation (note that I might be wrong). If you are planning to travel to Prague or live there, could you please contact me?
When I was in New York, I had the chance of attending a conference by Ed Catmull (thanks to John Canemaker). What struck me as fascinating is the very clear business mind that Ed has. He is not just a major scientist and a person who appears to be a great human being, he also appears to have a feel for managing a huge group of people and learning from his mistakes like few people I know. I was left with the feeling that he should really write a whole book about management (complete with anecdotes linked to his professional career, of course).

What is even more suprising is that there seem to be quite a few other people at Pixar with similar gifts and not all of them are business people. One of them is no other than Brad Bird. You do not believe me, then check this outstanding interview mentioned a few days ago by Mark Mayerson on his blog. To access it, use the following username: and password: 142)

Also not to be missed today are:

- The Return of the Gremlins by Wade Sampson
- You will never believe the real origin of Phantom Canyon's inhabitants ! by Alain Littaye
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Hogan’s Alley #16 will feature my article, “Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South?” about the making of Disney’s “Song of the South” and some oddities surrounding the film. However, there wasn’t room for everything including this oddity, a 1957 Disney Golden Book where on the cover the Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolf and Dumbo meet the infamous “tar baby” from the Uncle Remus stories. The term “tar baby” became controversial when it was later used as a racial slur. In some later Disney versions, the character became a white glue baby and in the Disney theme park ride, they have B’rer Rabbit trapped in honey instead of tar.]
While in Milan on Monday I picked up a huge Italian comic book (575-page long!) called Wizards of Mickey. Since Michael Barrier recently posted on his site some Disney comic panels that -while more acceptable to Europeans than to Americans as they sort of deal with sex - are still definitely in bad taste, I thought I would share an example of a beautiful and really ambitious project. Probably the best stuff that has been released in terms of Disney comics in a while.

Funny that the Italians decided that the book should have an English title. This would never have been authorized in France :-)
Since there has been so much polemical noise surrounding It's a Small World these days (see here and here for example), I thought you might enjoy this concept painting created by Mary Blair for the attraction and currently being sold by Van Eaton Galleries.
Well, it looks as if we will never know what the mysterious book Windows on Main Street by Chuck Snyder was going to be as its publication seems to have been cancelled according to Amazon.

Do not miss today:

- Popular Science on Fantasia Sound by Jerry Beck
- End of an Era by Brain Sibley
- Ollie Johnston: Last of the Red-Hot Animators by John Canemaker
- Did Walt Really "Hate" the Goofy Cartoons? by Michael Barrier (April 23, 2008)
- A great series of photos of the Walt Disney Studio during the Golden Age in 7 parts has also appeared during the last few weeks on the blog Stuff from the Parks. Here is part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This just in thanks to Jim Korkis:

Working for Disney: 1936-1937 - The Ingeborg Willy Scrapbook

[Reproduction of a 1936 scrapbook made during Ingeborg Willy's first year working as an inker for the Walt Disney Studios. The scrapbook contains numerous photos of other Disney employees, internal memos, production work sheets, and a large number of original pencil sketches from the first feature-length animated film, Snow White, and other early Disney cartoons.]

This self-published book is definitely one I will pick up. Not so much because of the sketches, but because of the photographs of the Studio during the Golden Age. I will let you know more about it when I receive it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

From pre-WWII Japan

Here are two astonishing items from pre-WWII Japan. A great propaganda short, apparently from 1934, sent to me by a friend from Serbia and a beautiful match box that was sold on ebay last week.

Ollie by Christian Renaut

[Although we were a bit prepared for it, given Ollie’s age, it doesn’t allay the grief. I am but one among many who, at one time or another, had the opportunity to meet Ollie several times, whether it was in France or in the USA. When I first met him, I could see no one but the Disney animator who had done so much to delight me with his drawings. But pretty soon, I got to know the man, and I simply came to appreciate a human being and not only a talented hand. Of all the Disney artists I have come across, he surely was the one I had the closest connection with, along with Frank, but in a different way, and I have here an opportunity to tell the story I never referred to in my books, which is probably one of the greatest days in my life.

Thanks to my friend Philippe Videcoq, who did so much for me to introduce me to the Disney company and more, I was lucky enough to meet the two animators and their wives, plus Doug, that is Frank’s youngest son, in Paris. I could hardly utter something interesting as I was so amazed to meet such legends, and I thought that the less I said, the more I could listen to them. It was across the square from Notre Dame, before it would be the setting of a future Disney feature, since the year was 1987.

Suddenly, Frank says they were going to stay a bit more in Paris with their son who was a student there, and Ollie said they would go to Brittany, that is, the Western part of France I live in, to visit some places, including the well-known Mont St Michel. I couldn’t avoid saying I was from that area and inquired how they would travel there. Most of the trip had been planned and their train would carry them to a hotel in the Pirate city of St Malo, then they would get a taxi or something. Ollie already had difficulties to walk and I could imagine how hard all this would be for him. Would I be bold enough to propose to drive them around since I was available that next day? Wouldn’t I be a bit too audacious and even a drag? Yes, French people are not as direct and simple as Americans. Eventually, I made up my mind and suggested I would make it easier if they would accept my help by driving them around, adding I knew the place quite well. I could even show them round in places that are not always mentioned in guide books such as Medieval towns that would “ remind them of Pinocchio cottages”. I was ready for any answer except one, that it might be a nuisance for me and take too much of my time! They were so humble that they couldn’t fancy I would be the privileged one!

After a few more details were settled, we decide on an appointment the following day.
And that following day has remained to this day, one of the highlights of my life: I spent a whole day with Marie and Ollie, talking Disney, arts, architecture, anything. We had lunch, they invited me for dinner. I could even hear Ollie, almost in tears, telling Walt’s last day at the Studio and his own reaction at the sad news of his death. The time came to part, after I had driven a sleepy Ollie bending over on me, his head almost laying on my shoulder, which would make Marie laugh about for years then.

Later, once I visited them at Flintridge in their home, Ollie had organized a party and ran his train so I could meet more people from Disney, including the true gentleman that Howard Green is. And that evening, I was again invited for dinner at their home with Glen Keane and his wife! I had to pinch myself to really believe I was witnessing two generations of Disney animators talking together with me!

These are but a few memories from my time with Ollie and I’m happy that we have kept in touch for so long, just the way I do now with Jeannette Thomas.

The preface they wrote for my first book remains one of the greatest gifts I have received, but in my mind, that special day near my hometown will for ever be in my heart.

May Ollie rest in peace and be thanked for his contribution to animation, but, most of all, for being who he was.

Christian Renaut.]
Do not miss today:

- More gold on Michael Barrier's site thanks to both Michael and Tim Susanin, posted on April 19, 2008 (When Rudy Met Walt, Cont'd and Walt's Skeptical Supervisor)
- Two Days in the Life: Kansas City, 1922 by Michael Barrier on April 21, 2008 (the photo of Iwerks is just superb!)
- Bob 'n Ollie by Michael Barrier (April 17, 2008)
- Howard Frank & Ollie and Creating Betty by Michael Sporn
- Ollie Johnston by Jaime Weinman (thanks to Jenny Lerew for the link)
- The Shadowgraph! by Hans Perk

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Since I will be on a short business trip to London tomorrow, I thought I might post this beautiful concept painting that Mary Blair created for Peter Pan.

I will be in Milan on Monday, so the blog will only be updated again next Tuesday.

If any of the readers of this blog lives in Milan and wants to meet me, please drop me a line. We could see each other on Sunday afternoon or early on Sunday evening.

Do not miss today:

- Mermaids, donuts and musical concrete by Floyd Norman
- Where's Walt, No. 7 by Michael Barrier (April 16, 2008)
- Ollie Johnston by Will Finn

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Walt's People update

Some good news about Walt's People, finally:

- I have just approved the interior galleys of Volume 6, which means that the release date should be around my birthday on May 19. A bit more than one whole month late.

- I have received yesterday two interviews I had been awaiting for a long, long time. One of Paul Murry by Donald Ault (the only existing interview of Murry aside from a very short one by George Sherman) and one I conducted virtually (sending the questions on paper and receiving the answers on tape) with Paul Carlson. This interview with Carlson mostly covers the production of Disney commercials in the '50s, a subject seldom discussed anywhere else.

- John Culhane has started to catalog all of his interviews in order to get them published in Walt's People. This is especially exciting as he seems to have taped interviews with Bill Tytla and potentially John Lounsbery.
Nice photo of Walt and Henry Ford currently being sold on ebay. They are looking at a scale model of the Ford Pavillion, created for the World's Fair.
A while back I wrote an article for the magazine Tomart's Disneyana about the English Disney magic lantern slides created by Ensign. A very rare catalog from Ensign is currently being sold on ebay. If one of you gets it, could I ask you to send me scans?

I received the following email from Alexander Rannie and am wondering if anyone of you can help. (The illustration of this post comes from an excellent article published in the Animation Journal from Spring 1996).

[I recently ran across a typed note at the ARL regarding artwork from the Silly Symphony Springtime (1929) that seems to be related to an early exhibit of Disney art -- sometime in the 30s, I'm guessing.

It reads:


Do you have any thoughts as to what specific exhibit it makes reference to?]

Announcing The Disneyland Compendium

Interesting book(s) to come from Jason Schultz and Kevin Yee:

[We've been hard at work on a magnum opus about Disneyland, an idea we had going all the way back to 2000 when we started working on books. Tentatively called The Disneyland Compendium, the idea was to put into a single work everything about everything. We envisioned multiple volumes and hundreds of pages, maybe thousands, of detail-oriented reference material. We wanted to provide THE authoritative information for Disneyland.]

Check this link for more details.
Do not miss today:

- Brad Bird on Ollie Johnston on CartoonBrew
- The Disney Company on Ollie Johnston on CartoonBrew
- John Canemaker on Ollie Johnston on CartoonBrew
- On Ollie Johnston by Michael Barrier (April 15, 2008)
- Ollie Johnston by Pete Emslie
- Disney Dinosaurs by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We are just back from New York and I might be posting a bit more about that trip this week or next. Let's just say a few words for now: the whole trip went extremely well. I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time two of the Disney historians I most admire: John Canemaker and John Culhane. I also had the pleasure of having dinner with Diane Disney Miller, Walt's daughter. With some luck those three meetings will have some very interesting consequences in the next few months. Since it is too early to comment on this, though, here is some bit of news I got from John Canemaker that I am able to share.

The name of his upcoming book is Two Guys Named Joe: Master Animation Storytellers Joe Grant and Joe Ranft published by Disney Edition, Fall 2009.

John shared a preview of the illustrations and this book will obviously be a must-have and a must-read as were all of John's other books.

I also had an "Aha!" moment during the discovery of the illustrations for the book. But more about that later this week.
The news for us today, of course, is dominated by the death of Ollie Johnston, the last of the Nine Old Men. The two best tributes can be found here and here.
Here are two pieces of audio material that you might be interested in.

Frank Stajano writes:

[A new podcast is available at this link.

It opens with an interview with Don Rosa from January 2008. There are many interviews with Don on the net. The new thing here isthat you get to hear the man's voice, rather than just reading his words. There are also a few previously unpublished nuggets, from the reference material I collected when I was writing the book on him twelve years ago.]

And Dave Oneal mentioned:

[When I was a kid I had a great big boom box radio, and it had a tape recorder in it. I used to use it to make sound tracks for my silent super 8 films, and sometimes I would record off the radio. Sometimes I would catch a Disneyland advertisement, and I would treasure it and play it over and over again!!

Well recently I had the chance to meet a fellow who worked in radio back in the 1950's and 60's And he handed me a box of what they called reel to reel tapes! Once I found a place here in Hollywood that could play them, I was astounded to find several Disneyland spots from the 50's and 60's!! The problem was a lot of noise and hiss from the tapes beinghot and cold for decades.

But as they say every cloud has a silver lining since one of my other friends is an a pro tools audio expert and we spent a few saturdays at his studio after hours cleaning the tapes and wow they sound great. So I'm pleased to say that I'm now offering you a very special CD of radio spots from Disneyland from the 50's to 70's plus an interview tape with Walt Disney.I know not everyone is as excited as me to listen to these, but if you would like a chance to own these recordings on CD, now is the time, you can purchase them at this link. Or you can download them right now by purchasing the download at this link.]
This just in from Tim ODay:

[Roy E. Disney and Don Hahn Present Rarely Seen Disney Animation and Experimental Films at 2008 Newport Beach Film Festival

Noted Filmmakers and Oscar® Nominees Roy E. Disney and Don Hahn Present Rarely Seen Disney Animation and Experimental Films at 2008 Newport Beach Film FestivalSpecial Evening of Disney Animation Represents First-Ever Festival Collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios
NEWPORT BEACH, Ca. (April 9, 2008) – On Wednesday, April 30, audiences at the 2008 Newport Beach Film Festival will get a “Behind-The-Ears” peek at the art of Disney animation as noted filmmakers and Academy Award® nominees Roy E. Disney and Don Hahn present an evening of rarely seen Disney animated shorts and experimental films. Screening at 7:30pm at the art deco Lido Theater in Newport Beach, Disney and Hahn will share with the audience a collection of short animated films that had limited theatrical presentations, many of which are not available for viewing on DVD.

Among the films to be presented include “How to Hook-Up Your Home Theater” (2007) starring Goofy, the Oscar® nominated films “The Little Match Girl” (2006), “Lorenzo” (2005), “Destino” (2003, a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali more than 50 years in the making) and “Redux Riding Hood” (1998), plus the experimental film “Oilspot & Lipstick” (1987, Disney’s first foray into computer animation), among others. Disney and Hahn will give the stories behind each film in addition to presenting a classic Mickey Mouse short in salute to Mickey’s 80th anniversary in show business.

“This special evening represents the first collaboration between the festival and The Walt Disney Studios and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Gregg Schwenk, executive director of the Newport Beach Film Festival. “We are delighted to welcome Roy Disney and Don Hahn and we thank them for sharing these extraordinary films with our audience.”

Roy Edward Disney is the son of Roy O. Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, founders of The Walt Disney Company. Born in Los Angeles, Roy practically grew up at The Walt Disney Studio, where his father managed business affairs, while his uncle inspired artists to create magical animated worlds for movie screens. He joined the studio in 1954, working as an assistant editor on the successful True-Life Adventure films, two of which won Academy Awards®. Disney left the Studio in 1977 but returned in 1984 to serve as the Company's vice chairman and head of the animation department. During his tenure, Disney animation produced some of its greatest box office successes, including "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King." He was executive producer of the film “Fantasia/2000” and was nominated for an Oscar® as executive producer of the animated short “Destino.”

Roy Disney currently serves as a consultant for The Walt Disney Company and Director Emeritus for the Board of Directors. His most current project is as executive producer (along with co-producer Leslie DeMeuse-Disney) of the new film "Morning Light," to be released later this year, which chronicles one of the youngest crews ever to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race to Hawaii.

Don Hahn is a noted film producer who has produced some of the most successful Disney animated films of the past 20 years. He began his career in animation working for legendary Disney animator Wolfgang Reitherman as an assistant director. He later became production manager of “The Black Cauldron” (1985) before moving on as an associate producer of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988).

In 1988, he became producer of the benchmark animated feature “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991, which made him the only producer in Hollywood history to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award® for an animated film. His next production, 1994's “The Lion King,” set worldwide box office records for an animated film and quickly became the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history. Other producing credits include “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Emperor’s New Groove,” and “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.” He also produced the Oscar®-nominated animated shorts “The Little Match Girl” and “Lorenzo.”

Joining Disney and Hahn will be David Bossert who has been with The Walt Disney Company for more than 23 years and currently serves as Creative Director at Walt Disney Animation Studios Special Projects. He has worked on such films as “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Hercules,” the Academy Award-nominated animated short “Runaway Brain,” and “Fantasia 2000” for which he served as Artistic Coordinator and Visual Effects Supervisor. Dave served as Associate Producer on the award winning and Oscar®-nominated Disney/Dali short “Destino.” He also served as the Artistic Coordinator and Visual Effects Supervisor on the award winning and Academy Award-nominated short “Lorenzo.”

Bossert was the producer on “Walt Disney on the Front Lines,” a DVD compilation of films produced by The Walt Disney Studios during World War II. The DVD, released in 2004, won numerous awards including a Special Achievement Award from ASIFA-Hollywood. He produced a four-volume DVD collection of Walt Disney’s award winning “True Life Adventure” nature films. Bossert is also the Artistic Supervisor for the Disney Restoration Team and has overseen restoration on many of the Disney animated shorts and the recently restored features such as “Bambi,” “Cinderella,” “Lady and the Tramp,” The Little Mermaid,” and the upcoming Blu-Ray DVD release of “Sleeping Beauty.”

About Newport Beach Film Festival
Launched in 1999, the Newport Beach Film Festival is one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States. Presenting over 450 films from 37 countries, the Newport Beach Film Festival has featured many acclaimed films, including the U.S. premiere of 2006 Academy Award® Best Picture “Crash,” and the west coast premieres of “The Illusionist,” “Son of Rambow,” “Mad Hot Ballroom” and “Layer Cake,” “Dust to Glory,” “Riding Giants,” “Sexy Beast,” “Spellbound,” “Dogtown” and “Z Boys.” With its pristine coastal location and warm weather, strong network of corporate sponsors, nightly events, music performances and industry seminars, the Newport Beach Film Festival has quickly gained recognition among filmmakers and audiences worldwide, hosting more than 40,000 attendees during the Festival's eight day run at Newport Beach's beautiful Fashion Island and Lido Plaza (April 24 – May 1, 2008). For ticket information please visit:

About Newport Beach
Newport Beach, an opulent seaside community located on southern California’s Orange County coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego epitomizes the quintessential southern California lifestyle. Known for its picturesque views of the Pacific and one of the world’s largest small yacht harbors, the city is acclaimed for its beaches, outdoor recreation, sophisticated atmosphere, international film festival, three annual epicurean festivals and the oldest holiday boat parade in the nation. For additional information, please call (800) 94-COAST or visit]
Mark Sonntag has started posting online all the Gottfredson Mickey Sunday pages he has in his collection. This is particularly exciting as those have never been collected in a book (to my knowledge) unlike the daily strips.

Would any one of you know why? (David Gerstein maybe?)
Do not miss today:

- Michael Sporn has been posting some great 101 Dalmatians storyboards from John Canemaker's collection since last week
- Mouse Heaven by Jerry Beck
- WALT & LILLY at YOSEMITE? by Mark Sonntag
- Quite a few interesting updates on Vintage Disneyana Collectibles by David Lesjak
- A lot of great new posts on Floyd Norman's blog

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We are leaving tomorrow on a 10-day vacation to New York. This promises to be a very exciting trip, including attending a conference by Ed Catmull, meetings with John Canemaker, John Culhane and Diane Disney Miller. The blog will be updated again on Tuesday April 15th.

In the meantime, let me say goodbye with a beautiful piece of artwork by Hank Porter sent recently by Don Brockway.

See you all very soon.
Update about Walt's People - Volume 6

Unfortunately the news is that Volume 6 is late, really late. Due to a series of delays on Xlibris' side and one small mistake on my side, I still have not received the final galleys. Since I am leaving tomorrow for a 10-day vacation to New York, I will only be able to approve the final galleys by April 14th, which means that the book should be out around May 14th.

Oh well...
Tamara Khalaf, author of the upcoming art book Disney's Dogs, was kind enough to send me the following information regarding it:

[Whether they’re old dogs or hotdogs, they’re all good dogs. From conceptual design artwork to final film images, Disney’s Dogs is a pictorial journey into the Walt Disney Company’s legacy of art through its beloved canines.

Disney’s Dogs highlights dogs from the more than seventy-five-year history of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, including early images of Goofy and Pluto. Then it’s on to all one hundred and one Dalmatians, the Hound part of The Fox and the Hound, Oliver & Company, and Lady and the Tramp. There are also sidekick dogs who have found a place in our hearts, such as Bruno from Cinderella, Nana from Peter Pan, Percy from Pocahontas, Little Brother from Mulan, and Max from The Little Mermaid. Disney’s Dogs also showcases dogs that are not “traditional,” including Stitch from Lilo & Stitch, the footstool in Beauty and the Beast, the carpet from Aladdin, Slinky Dog from Toy Story, and Zero from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. Additionally, Disney’s newest dog – Bolt!—joins the dog pound. This is one book you’ll want to get your paws on!

Disney’s Dogs is 192 pages, 7 x 7 in size and will be unleashed Fall 2008!]
An extremely exciting book has now been officially announced by Amazon:

Disney Lost and Found: Exploring the Hidden Artwork from Never-Produced Animation by Charles Solomon.

This looks like the book I was dreaming about: a sort of The Disney That Never Was - Volume 2. This is coming out in June, so there is not even that long to wait.

[Thanks to David Peake for having spotted that one.]

Two DVDs that sound interesting:

[1994 was the year in which Carl Barks went on his first trip abroad ever, on a European tour. During this trip, among other countries, he visited Sweden in association to Donald Duck´s 60th birthday. When Barks visited NAFS (k) and Seriefr√§mjandet (comic organisations) to meet and talk to his fans we had the opportunity to tape the event. The result was “Carl Barks Meets His Fans”, a 29 minutes interview with the greatest Donald Duck cartoonist ever!

After receiving a large number of requests we have now finally succeded inmaking "Carl Barks Meets His Fans" available on DVD. Order your own copynow, from LMB Media Productions on, with start Mars 31.]

and to discover the other one, titled Disneyland Resort -Imagineering the Magic, check Alain Littaye's Disney and More.
This just in from Ettore:

[I think you may be interested in this Italian Disney-related book:

La vera storia della Regina di Biancaneve, dalla Selva Turingia a Hollywood by Stefano Poggi and published by Raffaello Cortina Editore (2007).

The author esplores the connections between Uta, Margravess of Meissen, a mediaeval aristocrat, patron of the Cathedral of Naumburg, and Ghrimilde, the evil queen from Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". These connections are inspired to the author by the strong similarity between a statue in the Cathedral of Naumburg and the famous Disney villain during a trip in 1999.]

Do not miss today some great updates on Toons at War by David Lesjak.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dark Horse has finally released the first issue of the new Return of the Gremlins series. Hurray.
Floyd Norman has launched his blog and I have obviously added it to the permanent links.
Do not miss today:

- Quite a few great updates on Mark Sonntag's blog
- The Walt Disney Family Foundation site has been updated
- The Cute Walt Story That Never Was by Wade Sampson
- Modern Mechanix Reveals the Secrets of Disney by Wade Sampson