Monday, May 26, 2008

I will be in London from tomorrow to Friday. The blog will be updated again on Monday.
This just in from Sébastien Durand:

[An interesting side note in Disney / Pixar history

In 1988, Pixar presented its third short,"Tin Toy" , at the Annual SIGGRAPH event with great fanfare. At the same conference, Apple presented "Pencil Test": "this film was created entirely on Apple II Macintosh computers" said the closing titles. It is interesting to note that a future Pixar director, Andrew Stanton ("A Bug's Life", "Finding Nemo" and "Wall*E") was credited as "storyteller" and "animator". Even more interesting is that Nancy Tague was responsible for "Design Police" as well as credited as "animator" and "storyteller". A few years before, at another SIGGRAPH conference, Nancy had met John Lasseter and had since become his wife. This may explain why John is credited as "Coach" for "Pencil Test". Remember this was WAY BEFORE Steve Jobs returned to Apple and his relations with the company he had created then being ejected from were at the time very difficult!

You can see Pencil Test here and here is a Making of Pencil Test.]
Do not miss today:

- Out to Lunch (I) by Hans Perk
- Out to Lunch (II) by Hans Perk
- WALT & NORMAN ROCKWELL by Mark Sonntag
- Evil Queen with Panther Concept Art on Ardendale Station
- Interview with Jules Engel on Toon In!

And blog reader Paul Schnebelen just sent me an email to let me know that he recently started a blog where he reviews books about the Disney theme parks. I like what he is doing, so here is the link.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I love never-released project. From the collection of Robert Cowan comes this fascintaing outline for the unproduced short The Janitors.

- Disney's Dike from Time Magazine (March, 1941). Thanks to David Lesjak for pointing me in the direction of the Time archives, allowing me to stumble upon this great article about Phil Dike.
- Bambi’s Music 1 by Michael Sporn
- Bambi’s Music 2 by Michael Sporn

Thursday, May 22, 2008

From the collection of Robert Cowan:

[From Disney Strike. “Official Striker - Disney Unit - Screen Cartoonists Local 852.” No name on the card, but was from the collection of strike materials owned by Rudolph Elstad. Elstad collection.]
Servants' Entrance

Are Myklebust mentions:

[It was great to finally see this animated sequence from "Servant's Entrance" (1934)!

BTW: This film was based on a novel from 1930 by Norwegian Sigrid Boo (1898 - 1953), and a Norwegian film version of the book was made in 1933.]
As a friend mentioned: "If we were rich enough...!" This stunning Mary Blair concept art is currently being sold by Van Eaton Galleries.
Request for help

One of the readers of the blog is looking for the following article:

"Ed Benedict on Animation: The Facts of Life," by Dana Larrabee, Film Collectors World, May 1, 1977

Would anyone have access to it?
Do not miss today:

- A Day in the Life: Disney, June 20, 1938 by Michael Barrier
- Post Pictures... CPRR & Ollie's Depot by Hans Perk
- 530th Engineer Light Pontoon Company by David Lesjak

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One of the books we are all awaiting eargerly is Charles Solomon's upcoming Disney Lost and Found: Exploring the Hidden Artwork from Never-Produced Animation due out in June. Charles was kind enough to answer a few questions for the Disney History blog.

Didier Ghez: You wrote The Disney that Never Was a few years back. Will Disney Lost and Found be a "Disney That Never Was - Volume 2"?

Charles Solomon: Disney Lost and Found is more of a companion book than a Volume 2. The format is different and there are more illustrations and less text.

DG: Why did you decide to work on that book? Can you run us through the genesis of that project?

CS: Ken Shue of Disney's publishing arm and Lella Smith of the Animation Research Library had begun the book, then asked me to come in and help with it. They had discovered some interesting new artwork that hadn't come to light when I was writing "Never Was."

DG: What is the most exciting material you have unearthed for Disney Lost and Found?

CS: I was excited to find the earlier versions of The Rescuers. Various artists had told me that the story went gone through two entirely different incarnations before they created the final version. I didn't think any artwork from the earlier stories still existed. The first, which was presented to Walt, stuck close to the original book: Bernard, Bianca and a mouse named Nils rescue a poet from a grim fortress-prison. The second version was a musical involving a singing bear and a crooked penguin in the local zoo who knew Penny before she was taken away. All that remains of that scenario in the finished film is the brief walk Bernard and Bianca take through the zoo at night.

DG: To create your did you conduct a whole new set of interviews with former Disney artists?

CS: Unfortunately, many of the artists are no longer with us. But some of the younger people, including Burny Mattinson and Andreas Deja, were very helpful. And in other cases, I could draw on interviews I'd done previously.

DG: As Disney historians and enthusiasts, can we expect any "revelations" or surprises in this book?

CS: I think you'll find a few surprises--did you know they considered bringing back Cruella DeVil in another film?

DG: What are the main chapters of the book?

CS: It's divided into three sections: one on "Visions Lost and Found," from various films going back to Snow White, then sections on two recent projects: Wild Life and My Peoples.

DG: Even after having written The Disney that Never Was and Disney Lost and Found, do you think there is still a lot of hidden artwork from never-produced animation to be discovered?

CS: The ARL remains an Ali Baba's cave of treasures. And while some of the material is decades old, there are very talented artists at the studio who continue to produce extraordinary work. Paul Felix's original sketches for Tarzan were so beautiful, Peter Schneider moved the project from TV to Features. I love Dick Kelsey's sketches for Hiawatha and anything that Hans Bacher drew…the list goes on and on.

Do not miss today:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Productions numbers

Bob Cowan sent me the following question:

[I was writing up some background on a few items I have that have only production numbers on them and I can't seem to find my reference document. Is there a site or do you have anything that matches the cartoon title with the Disney production number?]
My friend Sebastien Durand just sent me the following email and I am wondering if some of you might help.

Sebastien has all the Disney Annual Reports from the '60s to 2007, and a few from the '50s and the '40s (1945 and 1947). He is wondering if one of you would be willing to make photocopies of the other ones that exist from the '40s. He is also sending me the questions:

[Was the first Annual Report published in 1940 or in 1941 ?

Were the Annual Reports to employees the same as those to shareholders in the '40s?

In the 1945 Annual Report, Grand Canyon and Latin Rhapsody were mentioned among the projects "in story" stage. Were these projects ever completed? I suspect Blame It on the Samba could be the definite title for Latin Rhapsody but what about Grand Canyon?]
Do not miss today:

- All About the Mouse Podcast with Don Peri (thanks to Ed Mazzilli for the link)
- Next after Snow White: Bambi... by Hans Perk

Monday, May 19, 2008

Servants' Entrance

If you have read this blog from the start, you may remember this post, in which I mentioned Servants’ Entrance (1934) from Fox, which contains a six minute long animated nightmare sequence in b/w made by the Disney Studio.

A very serious collector from Paris that I met last week was kind enough to give it to me as a birthday gift. Here it is for all of you to enjoy.

The live-action section of the clip is also fascinating. Did anyone say Snow White?
Here is a great photo of Walt being sold on ebay. The caption says that the woman is actress Rose Strada [who looks a lot like Lillian, in fact!]. It seems to have been taken at a polo match. It is dated November 11, 1937.

[UPDATE: Diane Disney Miller confirmed that the woman on the photo is indeed Lillian Disney, as we all suspected].
I have just received a great birthday gift from a major French collector that I met on Saturday. It should be up on YouTube in a few hours and I will then share it with all of you. Believe me, you will all enjoy it. I had been looking for that one for months.
Two interesting auctions launched or about to be launched these days: Hake's and S/R Labs.
Two books I am looking forward to getting when they are released:

- The Art of Pixar Short Films and
- The Art of Bolt
Do not miss today:

- Kay Kamen - Playthings magazine by David Lesjak
- Kay Kamen Remembered by David Lesjak
- Where's Walt, No. 8 and Where Walt Was: May 16-17, 1946 posted by Michael Barrier on May 16 and May 17, 2008.
- SOUTH OF THE BORDER with Walt by Mark Sonntag
- Rare Disney story sketches from Robert Cowan by Jenny Lerew
- Disney Girls... by Jenny Lerew
- Two interviews about The Pixar Touch. One on Jim Hill and one on The Pixar Blog.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I will be in Paris until Sunday and will only update the blog again next Monday, May 19th.
Walt's People - Volume 6 is now available on Xlibris.
I was able to pick up this May 1941 issue of the magazine Glamour on ebay recently. I bought it purely for this two-page article titled "Girls at Work for Disney" that I believe many of you will enjoy.
I received yesterday the latest issue of the Tomart's Disneyana Update (number 70), which contains at least two great pieces: the 5-page article about Chad Valley that Pat and Doug Wengel helped me put together and the second part of a great interview with Harriet Burns.
Do not miss today:

- What Walt Knows About Girls by Wade Sampson (outstanding article)
- Retta’s Dogs by Michael Sporn
- General Foods Post Toasties Cut-Outs by David Lesjak

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I received today the proof copy of Walt's People - Volume 6. It looks good and I have sent the approval fax to Xlibris. What this means is that this volume will be available through by this Friday at the latest and on in about 6 to 8 weeks.

Needless to say, I am now focusing on Volume 7.
David Price's long awaited Pixar Touch has been released. As I mentioned a while back on Cartoon Brew: I can confirm that David Price really did his homework on The Pixar Touch. The good news is that the book even provides some new stories about recent Disney history, including the exact account of Frank Wells’ death (so precise that it is almost unbearable to read).

David, had asked me to write a blurb for the book, which, for time reasons, did not appear on the back cover. Here is what I had to say: "Precise, fast paced, and impeccably researched, The Pixar Touch takes us to the roots of the most significant revolution in the field of animation since the Golden Age of the Disney Studio. A must-read."

In other words, get it today :-)
Do not miss today:

- A few fun posts in this blog discovered by Jim Korkis this morning.
- Goofy on the Post-Modern Pampas by Michael Barrier (May 11, 2008)
- Fortune August 1942 by Hans Perk
- Baby Mine Breakdown by Michael Sporn

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nice article from the Bob Cowan collection received today featuring the voices of all of the characters in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Two events that you might want to attend if you live in Southern California:

[On June 14th in Anaheim CA, The 1313 Club will be having its first Movie Night with Disney Legend Bob Gurr. This club's movie night will show a small portion of "Meet Bob Gurr Extraordinaire" DVD that will be released on July 20th at the NFFC.

Then there will be a Q & A time as well as popcorn, sodas and more .... So come join us for our first Annual movie night

Time & Date: June 14th - 4:30 pm
Where: Holiday Inn Anaheim - 1240
South Walnut, Anaheim, CA 92802 (off of Ball road)
Cost: $1 for members, $5 for non Members
More info: 951-685-3217
Please email us to save your spot! at:]

[Exciting News!! On Saturday, May 17th, Van Eaton Galleries and Creative Talent Network are presenting the 2nd Annual Animation “Book Look” Festival! We are very honored to have among our many talented artists and authors, including Toby Bluth, Willie Ito, Rik Maki, and Don Peri—just to name a few! This will be a wonderful opportunity to share in the Celebration of the Animation World. There will also be a special sale of Disney artwork!

Saturday May 17th, 2008
Van Eaton Galleries
13613 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Animation Book Look is FREE and open to the public]

Do not miss today:

- WALT & LILLY portrait by Mark Sonntag
- MAN OF LA MUNCHA by Kevin Kidney
- Rico LeBrun’s guides by Michael Sporn
- Victory Garden promotional material by David Lesjak

Friday, May 09, 2008

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[This is by a French painter who became a cartoonist, Roger "Tetsu" Testu 1913-2008.]
This week has been particularly rich in terms of breakthroughs, from all Disney history angles:

- I seem to have located an unknown series of interviews with Bill Tytla, in Quebec. It will still take time and efforts to get copies of them but I was thrilled by that re-discovery of tapes that had been forgotten for 41 years.

- I have mostly cracked the "Lars Plush Dolls" nut thanks to collector Mel Birnkrant.

- I received an outstanding article about the English Mickey Mouse Annual series, from David Gerstein that contains some outstanding material about artist Wilfred Haughton. That article will appear as a three-part series in the magazine Tomart's Disneyana Update.

There are a few more nuts to crack, though (it would not be fun otherwise): the Demolay comics are one, Ediciones Modernas from Mexico another. I made some progress on that last front this week also, when I received the Pluto flip book that you see pictured below and some photos of the Mickey one.

An exciting week, indeed.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This just in from George, one of the readers of the blog:

[Since you post such wonderful pictures of The Park, I thought I'd share some that I found at a local flea market a few years ago (I also sent them to "Stuff From The Park", I want everyone to see these shots). I collect Disneyland postcards, so I'm always on the lookout for any sort of photographic memorabilia of Disneyland, but these photos are really something else.

They were apparently taken by the very influential photographer and filmmaker Hazel Greenwald from Jerusalem. Hazel was responsible for creating the "Hadassah Archive", a photographic and film arts archive in Jerusalem used for educational and preservation purposes.

It appears she snapped these photos in the early years of The Park, pre 1960. She is documented as having been in the States during the late '50s. How she managed to photograph scenes in the park this empty is anybody's guess. Perhaps she was let in early, or just went on a very slow weekday?

I love these images so much, especially the Disneyland Band in front of the Tinker Bell Toy Shop. They're very artistically shot, and have a lot of depth. They're all 4x5.5 Inches, they're all stamped on the back "Copyright by Hazel Greenwald c/o Hadassah, Jerusalem", and they're also stamped with a series number "A77", except for the DL Band photo it's number is "A34". I bought all 5 photos, and duplicates, for $1!

I cherish them, and love to share them with friends and fans of Disneyland, I figured if you wanted to post them to your blog it would be an ideal venue to share them with the Disneyland fans I couldn't normally reach.]

This just in from Celbi Pegoraro:

[I though this is interesting to share as I wrote on my website. There is a 1985 trailer of Disney´s "The Black Cauldron" released on a Pinocchio VHS that year with a two seconds cut scene from the "cauldron born" sequence. (1:23 to 1:24)]
Do not miss today:

- Our First Conservationist: Walt Disney by Jim Korkis
- Happy 50th Birthday, "True Life Adventures!" by Jim Korkis
- More on Synchronizing Mickey by Hans Perk

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Trip to San Francisco

It looks as if I will be travelling to San Francisco from June 21 to June 29. If any of you would like to meet me while I am there, please do let me know in advance.
This is by far the most famous magazine cover to have appeared following the death of Walt Disney. Mickey crying was drawn by the French artist Pierre Nicolas, whom I had interviewed many years ago. I had a chance to conduct a follow-up interview with him two month ago, on March 13 focusing mainly on the creation of this cover. Here are his answers.

Didier Ghez: Can you tell me something about the events that surrounded the creation of your famous Paris Match cover?

Pierre Nicolas: It’s relatively simple. The day that Walt Disney passed away I was called by Armand Bigle that was the person in charge for Disney in France and even at the European level, in the offices of the Champs-Elysées. He put me in touch with people from Paris Match who took me to the office on rue Pierre-Charron where Paris Match was published. There the redaction committee took place, which included Thérond, the director of the editorial board, Pigneau that did the layout, Bourgeas, the art director, Croizard, the associate editor, Collette Porlier and Mrs. De Saint Edvire. We discussed for a while about what should be done, because they wanted to do something about the death of Walt Disney and they were thinking about a cover. But as ever, when people speak about Disney, they want to put too much in. They wanted to remind people [on the cover] of each movie, each known character. But on the cover this would have been confusing. And it had to go to the printing house within the following hours. So I did not have time to do too complex a thing. So obviously I thought about creating the face of Mickey, thinking that it was the most simple and quickest idea. It was a bit of laziness but it was also a logical idea. So that is what I did. The only issue is that I was in the offices of Paris Match and there was not much there. They brought me to a small drawing office where I found some drawing supplies. It was at night! I had been called to the meeting at around 10.00PM and I finished the drawing around midnight or one in the morning, in a hurry. It had to go to the printer. I worked with some drawing tools that were not mine. I could have done much better with a full day in front of me and if I had been at home or at the Disney office.
In the following years, there was a party at the Club of the Art Directors to say that the Paris Match cover had received the award for best cover of the year. There was an award, of course, but to get it I would have had to spend 200 francs! So I refused. I thought this was amazing. I never even saw the award.

DG: This cover became very famous in the whole world. Were you surprised by this?

PN: It was the first, which might have made it famous. A few months or years after I received a phone call from a journalist from Paris Match who told me that the grandson of the CEO of Match had sold the original drawing of the cover in a gallery in New York, to someone called Andre Sheller.

DG: Walt Disney visited your offices once. Any special memories of that visit?

PN: No. He came only once and met with Bigle. Bigle introduce me, that’s it. Walt one entered my office by mistake while looking for Bigle and apologized in bad French. I found this funny as he seemed to blush. I thought it odd that such an important person would be so kind and would blush. But that’s it. I did bring him a letter from Bigle two days later at the hotel Plaza Athénée. I was never in contact with him, unfortunately.
Bob Cowan has launched his blog. If you love truly great stories about great animation art, you should go and check it out, and check it out, and check it out again. This blog is an asolute treat.

Bob also launched a blog about comic book art (non-Disney).

Do not miss today:

- The History of it's a small world by Wade Sampson
- Johnston/Peet Bd by Michael Sporn
- Mickey shots by Michael Sporn
- Tribute to Ollie Johnston in Flip Magazine

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Thanks to a Disney friend, I was able to see an old episode of the original Mickey Mouse Club television series that had an interesting segment that I had never seen before entitled “Karen in Kartoonland”.

As a kid, I loved (and still do) the “how to draw” cartoon character books. Apparently, Walt knew that the kids in his television audience loved to know how to draw Disney characters as well. When the “Disneyland” television series was being developed, one of the project proposals for that first year was a section entitled “Everyone Can Draw”. Supposedly, Roy Williams would handle the segment. The idea never developed any further for the show and Williams ended up using his cartooning skill at Disneyland itself delighting guests with quick sketches of Disney characters and on the Mickey Mouse Club.

In fact, for the original Mickey Mouse Club television series, the idea of a “how to draw” segment was revived.

The idea was going to be called “How To Draw” but by the time the project got going, little Mouseketeer Karen Pendleton had become popular so someone had the clever idea of calling the sequence “Karen in Kartoonland” and having her visit a Disney artist. The title was an allusion to Alice in Wonderland. The episode I recently watched had her visiting Disney artist Bill Justice who showed her how he animated Mickey Mouse and asked Karen to model facial expressions that he then duplicated on Mickey’s face.

Apparently, there were four “Karen in Kartoonland” episodes: January 19, 1956 (Pluto), February 2, 1956 (Mickey), February 16, 1956 (Things), March 1, 1956 (Jiminy Cricket).

For me, this is just another example of one of the many Disney “lost treasures” that should be included as an “extra” on some Disney DVD.]

This just in from blog reader Francesco Diella:

[I would like to know if you have or know where I can find theblack and white CBC interview with Walt Disney in video form.]

Could someone help him?
This just in from Are Myklebust:

[Referrering to the posting at Mark Sonntag's blog "Walt's early gig" (April 25, 2008)

Walt Disney quoted in Bob Thomas biography:

"The Newman was playing a Cecil B. DeMille picture, Male and Female, and all I had to work with was a standing photo of the stars Gloria Swanson and Thomas Meighan. Well I thought it would make a better ad if they were lying down, and that's how I drew them."

Could it be this photo (above)?]

[Here is another still from ”Male and Female” (1919)]

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bob Cowan keeps sharing with us his amazing collection. Today he has the following question:

[I was wondering if any of your readers would have any insight on the attached items -- subject, artist, etc.]

Any ideas? Of course the crucified Mickey is very likely to be a gag drawing. But what about the others?