Monday, September 01, 2008

Wade Sampson received the following email from Gunnar Andreassen after his column on Mouse Planet last week:
[Hi !

A very interesting story you gave us here ! I have a little bit to add to it.

Some weeks ago I bought a photo of WD at his desk in his office, probably taken in 1937. It was a very sharp photo, and I was able - with the use of a magnifying glass - to read some of the words of the title of a book that lay on his desk. "Jimmie" "blue envelope". I found the book on eBay: "Jimmie Dale and the Blue Envelope Murder" and even the same edition that WD had. I have since then read about the series and the author, and it was great to get more information from you!

Best regards

Gunnar Andreassen]

Gunnar then went on analyzing all the elements in the photo, which I found fascinating. Here is what he came up with:

[From left to right.

(BO) = Item also in photos from his Burbank office
Behind the desk:
1. Photo of baby Diane (BO)
Her first shoes (?) These are on book ends in BO
2. Miniature figures (BO ?)
3. Radio Cabinet (probably)

On the desk:
4. Wooden tray (for outgoing mail ?)
5. Stenography pad (?) and folder (for incoming mail ?)
6. Water Carafe with glass on tray
7. A little stand for a quotation/saying or a calendar ? (BO)
8. A miniature sword (letter opener/paper knife ?)
9. Item with Mickey (and Minnie ?) and another character. Could it be a cigar cutter ? (BO)
10. Ash tray with cigarette
11. Pair of scissors and some pencils
12. Desk pad (BO)
13. Two heaps of: German series of books with fairy/folktales: See enclosure 1
14. Electric desk watch with two pens. (BO) Still there in 1949 - probably one of the pens was used when signing contract with Kathryn Beaumont (voice of Alice) - there is a photo of this event.
15. In Walt’s hands: Andersen: Märchen (H.C. Andersens fairytales German edition, probably illustrated - in the same series as the other fairytale books
16. Statuette of a globe and a man (?) (BO)
17. A bit of a film roll
18. Letter or note: can read one word: “original” - but not the rest
19. Cigarette box (silver ?) (BO)
20. Pistol: Probably a lighter (BO)
21. Book: Jimmie Dale and the Blue Envelope Murder. See Wade Sampsons article: Walt Disney aka the Grey Seal
22. Book: Because of a semi-transparent dust cover the title is difficult to read. Perhaps : “ Great …….. Society”
23. Role of paper: a drawing ?
24. Two horses as book ends. Because of his polo interest ?
25. Book: Our America: A textbook for Elementary School History and Social Studies, by Irving R. Melbo, 1937, 402 pages. Includes a chapter about Walter Disney and Mickey Mouse
26: 4-6 other books: No titles visible

Behind the desk:
27: Telephone
28. Edgar Bergen’s puppet: Charlie McCarthy - probably smaller version than the original
29. Charlie is sitting on a metal box: The same box as on desk on early 1930ies photo ?
30. An apparatus that has something to do with the telephone: also on photos from the early 30ies.
31. A figure of a dog or horse (?) - also on the early '30s photos ?
Walt has a flower on his lapel
Enclosure 1 - German fairytale books:
Could these have been bought by WD in Germany on his Europe Tour in 1935 ?

The following titles can be read:
4 books by “Brüder Grimm”
2 books by H.C. Andersen (one in WD’s hands)
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
A book by Ludwig Bechner (?)
Reinecke Fucks
Till Eulenspiegel
A book by H.P. Hebel
Die Blume im Lied]

I forwarded this photo to my friend Jim Korkis who had the following comments:

[The Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll is interesting especially considering the connections later. When Snow White was released, there was a special radio show of Edgar Bergen telling Charlie the Disney story of Snow White plus there was a special book (I have a copy) of Charlie being involved with the Snow White story. Bill Walsh was the agent for Bergen and later became a Disney writer and producer. Edgar and Charlie were in Fun and Fancy Free and then later on the first Disney Christmas tv show. ]

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