Friday, January 30, 2009

This just in for our readers in Florida:

[If you are going to be in Walt Disney World Area around February, you won't want to miss the next World Chapter's Meeting. It will be a night to remember with our special speaker and guests.

Well we have a great meeting planned for you! And look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Let's all try to turn out and show our support for our chapter and our special guest speaker! Our speakers always have lots of funny, informative and great stories to tell us ....

The next World Chapter meeting for Disney EnthusiastsIS Saturday, February 21, 2009!

Our Very Special "Be Our Guest" Speaker will be …

Disney Historian.... Jim Korkis

Internationally recognized Disney Historian Jim Korkis is a published author with several books and hundreds of articles on Disney history to his credit, a former Disney Institute animation instructor, and a contributor to the popular “Walt’s People” book series.

RETURN TO MARCELINE. Disney Historian Jim Korkis talks about Walt Disney's love of Marceline, Missouri and its impact on Disney films and parks. Then he will share very rare home movies of Walt and Roy returning to Marceline in 1956 to dedicate the Walt Disney Park in that city. Another once-in-a-lifetime experience for NFFC members as Jim talks about this sometimes forgotten moment in Disney history.

This promises to a very special night as we always have a few surprises planned as well!

8700 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando, FL 32809-7912
(4 miles east of I-4)

DIRECTIONS: Florida Turnpike Exit 254, N on Hwy. 17/92/441 (Orange Blossom Trail), 1/3 mile on left; or I-4 E Exit 72 (Beachline Exp./528 E). Take Exit 4, make right on ramp, then left onto Orange Blossom Trail (Hwy. 17/92/441), 1/2 mile on left.

Click on this link for MapQuest Location

Special World Chapter Room Rates: Contact David Schiller; Director of Sales at: 407-996-1872 or his email address at:

Doors open at 6:00 PM, Meeting starts PROMPTLY at 6:45 PM

Admission: $1.00 for current NFFC Members, $5 Prospective Members.

For more information, call our Club Phone Line: 407-ASK ARLO (407-275-2756)Or Contact us at: worldchapter@magicalmountain.netAlso visit the Magical for the official World Chapter Web Site and Forum at:]
Do not miss today:

- Carolyn Kay Shafer by David Lesjak (great piece of research)
- Vintage Mickey Mouse Kimono by Amid Amidi

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A very good friend is doing some research for a book about Disney and WWII. He does not speak German (neither do I) and needs help with the book pictured above (which he owns) to find out if any sections in it are worth reading for his research.

Is there a German speaking reader of this blog who could help us?
A friend just sent me the following email about the Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair [BOX SET] that I was mentioning on the blog yesterday:

[This was something that Bruce Gordon championed and had all ready to go upon his untimely death. It had been in the works for years, even before the death of David Mumford in 2003.

Randy Thornton at Walt Disney Records picked up the baton after Bruce's passing, and this is the result.

Research and Text: Stacia Martin
Layout and Design: Bruce Gordon
Historical Image Research:
Randy Webster & Hugh Chitwood
Media Designer: Glenn Barker
Digital Transfers: Steve Litten
Clearances: Jann Adachi
Research: Heather Neidenbach
Scheduling: Lisa Beckwith
Management: Melissa Smith
For Disneyland: Linda Votaw and Susie McFarland
A special thanks to Ron Moortgat of the Walt Disney Sound Archives
Thanks to Tony Baxter for starting this whole CD thing, Dave Smith and Robert Tieman of the Walt Disney Archives for your continued support, Marty Sklar, Jan O’Connor and all the Imagineers over the past half-century whose work we are celebrating.

The content may have changed in the past year, but here is at least a feel for what is there:

Disc 1
1 Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow 4:47
2 Welcome :20
3 Walt Disney and the
Sherman Brothers 2:32
4 Carousel of Progress:
Early Script Reading 3:06
5 Carousel of Progress:
Alternate Universe Version 27:07
6 The Skydome Spectacular 7:58
7 Toucan and Parrot Show 8:44
8 Music To Buy Toasters By 4:01
9 Mirror Maze 5:08
10 Orchestra 3:17
11 Orchestra :44
12 Orchestra 1:44
13 Orchestra :45
14 Orchestra :47
15 Orchestra 1:05
16 Horizons 1:04

Disc 2
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
1 Introduction :56
2 Early Recording x:xx
3 The PreShow 9:01
4 The Main Show 9:13
5 Pre Show Music 10:18
6 Main Show Music 8:37
7 Dialog Recording Session 5:32
8 Chorus Vocal 1:37

Disc 3
It’s A Small World
1 Queue/Entrance Music 3:05
2 First Demo Recording 1:04
3 Walt Disney Welcome 9:14
4 Vocals (Isolated) 2:14
5 The Ultimate MegaMix 20:51
6 Exit Music 2:38
7 Disneyland Paris 2:05
8 Disneyland Paris 1:29
9 Chorus xxxxx

Disc 4
Magic Skyway
1 World of Tomorrow 2:59
2 Magic Skyway 10:33
3 International Gardens 2:47
4 International Gardens 4:40
5 International Gardens 4:03
6 International Gardens 3:02
7 International Gardens 1:42
8 International Gardens 2:54
9 International Gardens 3:12
10 International Gardens 3:44
11 International Gardens 3:08
12 Auto Parts Harmonic 8:57
13 Dialog Recording Session 8:27
14 Get The Feel Of The Wheel (Ford March) 6:13]

The content did change a bit and you will find what Randy Thornton had so say about it at this link and at this other link.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This just in from Gunnar:

[Enclosed you’ll find another early drawing of Walt. It’s from an article in Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30th 1930. It has probably not seen the light of day for almost 80 years. I wouldn’t call it a caricature, even if his eyebrows seem a little exaggerated. I have also enclosed the whole article - it was so long that I had to cut it in two to be able to scan it.

It also contains a very important interview with Mickey Mouse - who was two years at that time. He tells the reporter that at least one branch of his family came from Germany (Hamelin, or Hameln in German):

"My quadruple great-grandparents were the one pair of mice to escape the Pied Piper of Hamelin. To to that they had to learn to do many wonderful and difficult things. That hereditary lore is the prized possession of my family. I am able now to do anything of which a good artist can draw a picture.”

I guess that there is no reason to doubt his story. It seems clear that some of his forefathers must have been immigrants to the U.S.A. !]

Do any one of you have any details about this product, who is behind it, what it contains,...?
Do not miss today:

- Mary Poppins’ Richard M. Sherman: A “Practically Perfect” Songwriter! by Jeremie Noyer
- Some Day My Lawsuit Will Come by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This just in from Sasa Rakezic:

[I'm sending you the page from a magazine sent by a friend from Prague. The magazine is called Hvezda (Star), published in Prague in September of 1943. The article is actually made as an instruction to parents about creating hand-made toys for their children, which obviously was important to know during the war time. Among the other toy models, there's obviously a Mickey. Again, it's strange that Mickey Mouse appeared in a magazine published during the German occupation!]
Do not miss today:

- Lost Horizons by Michael Crawford
- Russel Shroeder has retrieved Disney’s Lost Chords! by Jeremie Noyer

Monday, January 26, 2009

This just in from Gunnar:

[Enclosed: Two more caricatures of Walt. One of them is very well known and probably one of the best (above). Anyone who could make a guess at the artist that drew it ?

The other one (below) - recently sold on ebay - is described as drawn by Kopietz (drawn sitting on Walts shoulder), but I would think that Carl Barks was the man behind this drawing.
Finally here is a photo of Walt and Kimball with two caricatures of Walt on the wall. Kimball was appearantly not afraid of showing them to Walt. I would really have liked to view a better version of the drawing of Kimball and Walt in WD's office.
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Besides the Art of Disney Stamps book, there are several other Disney items being offered for a limited time from the US Postal Service (including a pamphlet on Mickey Mouse for fifteen dollars). Check out all the items they still have available at this link.]

This just in from Sebastien:

[This 1934 French cartoon should be discovered and compared to similar efforts - and results - by Disney to animate the human body in The Goddess of Spring.]
Do not miss today:

- A Patron of The Clock Store by Jeff Pepper
- At Last - Color Cartoons by Michael Sporn
- I've got no strings -- or clothes -- on me by Greg White
- Card Check, 1941 and 2009 by Michael Barrier

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great caricature of Bill Tytla by Disney story artist Aurie Battablia being sold by Howard Lowery at the moment on ebay.

Very busy days today and tomorrow. I will post more on Monday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Have you all wondered what Don Hahn has been doing during his leave of absence from the Studio? You will find the answer below and I think you will love it.

Didier Ghez: In April 2009 Focal Press will release 2 volumes titled Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures that you edited. Most of us are familiar with the Stanchfield classes that were partially released online a while back. Could you tell us how you became involved in this project and how you tackled it?

Don Hahn: Walt was one of the first people at Disney who took the time to mentor me about drawing. What I soon realized is that he was mentoring everyone and had a real gift and passion for teaching. In the late 1970s and early ‘80s we started a program at the studio called THE DISNEY SCHOOL OF ANIMATION with Walt and Eric Larson as the teachers. They both wrote lessons for the animators, a group that included Glen Keane, Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Mark Henn, John Musker, Brad Bird, Ron Clements and more. Those lessons kept coming and twenty years later, Walt had written close to 900 pages about the art and craft of animation.
When Walt passed away in 2000, I immediately was looking for some way to pay tribute to him and it didn’t take long before it dawned on me that I should try to publish his work. At first I couldn’t find a publisher so I considered self publishing the book, but at 900 pages it was too much for anyone to take on. Hans Bacher had just had his book published by Focal Press and suggested I call Georgia Kennedy at Focal. In the summer of 2007 I went to see Georgia at her office in Oxford England. She was familiar with some of the pages, since many had found their way to the internet and had been passed around informally in the animation industry for years. Then I showed Georgia all the bits that hadn’t been published. Hundreds of pages about drawing, life and art. She was hooked. Then came the insane task of getting approvals from all the artists to use their work in the book. Walt would famously grab drawings off of people’s drawing boards and Xerox them for his lectures. After 140 letters went out to all the people whose work was included in the book we had 100% response and 100% “yes” to use the work.
From then on it has taken two years and a team of six people who work with me in LA and another 6 who work for Focal Press in Massachusetts to bring the book to life. Eight years later we are moments away from publishing and it is beyond my wildest dreams. I must say that none of this would be possible if Dee Stanchfield, Walt’s wife, hadn’t been completely supportive. All the author’s proceeds from the book will go to Dee.

DG: The books' main target audience is clearly animators. Is there anything in them for Disney historians or Disney History enthusiasts?

DH: I think what’s interesting about the book is that it was written during a second golden age of animation. The first lessons are about ‘how to draw Taran’ from The Black Cauldron. Through the pages of the book you can see work by Andreas, Glen, Mark Henn, and so many others as well as countless references to Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin, and more. Add to that all the examples of work from Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl, Fred Moore, Bill Tytla, Ollie, Eric, and then add to that Hirschfeld, Joe Grant and so many other artists. It’s a living art history book by one of the eye witnesses of the art of Disney Animation, Walt Stanchfield.

DG: Did you know Walt Stanchfield personally and could you tell us a few words about him (as an artist and as a human being)?

DH: Walt attended Chouinard Art Institue as did so many of Disney’s artists of his era. After a brief stay in the navy, he went to work at Harman-Ising studio and then Disney. He worked on every Disney feature from Mr. Toad thru Lion King and taught at the Studio deep into the 1990s when his health (cancer I think) caught up with him. He was a very free spirit. Walt lived in Buellton, CA about three hours north of the Studio. He would drive down on Monday and sleep in his van in the parking lot, really a 20 year old spirit trapped in a 70 year old body. He ate very healthy food and felt that exercise and diet was as much a part of nurturing the creative spirit as was drawing and study. He played tennis every day. His wife Dee would accompany him on sketching trips. Dee would often drive while Walt did water colors and sketches while looking out the window. Walt was active in the local art scene in central California where he showed his personal work regularly at galleries. His legacy at the Studio was as much about living as it was about art. He was the example of how to live to the fullest as an artist — always curious about the world, always sketching, studying, playing music, reading, and sketching some more.

DG: Quite a few other great Disney artists, from Bill Tytla to Eric Larson gave classes on animation. Would you consider editing additional volumes that would collect those (some of the conferences from CalArts for example or some of the action analysis lectures that were given during Don Graham's classes, like the one that Michael Sporn recently posted on his blog at this link)?

DH: I would love to publish as much of the writings of the masters of animation as possible. It’s a time in my career where I have benefited so much from the artists that I have worked with that I feel it’s time to share their work and writings with the next generation of animators coming up. And as you have pointed out, these works are more than just animation text books, they are the “dead sea scrolls” of animation, once lost to the world of animation history, but now slowly making their way into the hands of the audience. I’ll do anything I can to keep that going. Kudos to Michael for sharing the work too.

DG: I believe you are also working on a documentary about Joe Grant. How advanced is the project and when can we expect its release?

DH: It is still in the research phase. I have had several conversations with Joe’s family and coworkers over the past few years and have found the most amazing film clips and interviews (both on film and audio) of Joe. The film is probably still a year away at this point, but it has been a treat to research and tell the story about this amazing guy.

DG: What are some of the surprises for Disney historians that the documentary will include?

DH: Joe’s pre-Disney work is wonderful to see. The best is a little clip from a Gary Cooper movie where Cooper plays an artist. His portfolio is all Joe’s drawings. Fantastic. Also Joe’s work in the Model Department is stunning as are his ceramics and greeting cards. Then there are the clips of Joe as a child actor in William Fox movies! There is so much to this man over an above the work he did for Disney, and that’s what makes the story so incredible.

DG: What are the most surprising things you discovered about Joe while working on this documentary?

DH: How young he was when he came to Disney and how long he had already been involved in Hollywood as a child actor and caricaturist for the studios before Walt spotted him. He took 40 years off before he came back to work with me on Beauty and the Beast. 40 years...we should all be so lucky to have a career that measures that long and for Joe, it was just a break in the action.

DG: Are you tackling other Disney-history related projects at the moment or are you thinking about tackling any other ones?

DH: I am almost finished with a documentary film called Waking Sleeping Beauty about the history of Disney animation in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. It’s an incredible almost Shakespearian story of an era that started with CalArts in the 1970s and ended with Lion King, the biggest box office success in history to that time. The talent of today’s industry: Lasseter, Musker, Bird, Clements, Keane, Selick, Burton, Rees, Kroyer, Bluth, all of them came from that era. I’ll be done with the film later this year when it will make its debut at film festivals everywhere (if I can finish it on time).
This just in from David Lesjak:

[Another caricature of Walt - from The Mickey Mouse Book published in 1930 by Bibo and Lang. I have a huge post on the vintage blog about the book and its history, print run, revisions, etc.]
Do not miss today:

- Tom Nabbe Is Tom Sawyer by Wade Sampson
- "Street Gang" takes a hard look at Jim Henson's dealings with Disney by Jim Hill

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't miss the blog tomorrow as I will be publising a fascinating interview with Don Hahn in which he discusses his current Disney-history related projects.
This just in from Gunnar:

[Enclosed you'll find 3 early caricatures of Walt Disney.

The caricature from 1929 (above) was drawn by Jack King (together with caricatures of all the artists of the studio at that time).

The painting of Walt and his crew: Walt Disney by Miguel Covarrubias, 1937; Gouache.

Information about Miguel Covarrubias is found here.

"Walt Disney has made a brilliant acting unit out of about as irresponsible, undependable, unstable a crew as ever trod the boards," claimed the text accompanying this Vogue caricature, June 15, 1937.
Do you or readers of your blog know of other early caricatures of Walt - by studio artists or others ?]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Transcribing interview with Imagineer Eddie Sotto
I have received recently a long interview with Imagineer Eddie Sotto in mp3 format based on questions that I sent him a few months ago.
Eddie discusses his work with the "old timers" of WDI as well as the abandoned attractions he designed for Disneyland Paris.
Would one of you be willing to volunteer to transcribe this fascinating interview?
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Little Known Facts About Well Known Places: Disneyland is a nice little book but for Disney book completists only. This approximately 5x7 hardcover runs 200 two color pages (black and orange) with usually one fact (actually only one sentence in very large type) on each page. Author David Hoffman is supposedly a television writer who also works as an on-camera corespondent and author of a dozen books on pop culture. Apparently there are four other books in the series: Paris, Italy, New York, Ireland.

For the most part, the information is accurate but fairly well known by Disneyphiles. However, Hoffman does occasionally veer off into urban legends and speculation, in particular his entries on Club 33. For approximately the same price, a better bargain would be "Disneyland Detective" by Kendra Trehan that contains more information, more previously unfamiliar information and much better illustrations. The illustrations in this book (to avoid Disney legal attention) are generic drawings of a submarine or a carousel to occasionally illustrate a piece of information. I really wish this had been a better book but for those with little or no knowledge about Disneyland but a casual interest in the subject, it would be a nice gift.]

Do not miss today:

- On Board the Santa Clara by Michael Barrier
- Toast of the Town by David Lesjak
- Harvard 1938 by David Lesjak

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jim Korkis just spotted this new book about Disneyland yesterday, called Disneyland : Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places by David Hoffman. I have not yet seen a copy. Did anyone of you read it? What is it worth?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This just in through Jim Korkis:

[Another fun Disney link to share even though Christmas is long gone.]
Do not miss today:

- Walt's Whereabouts, No. 4A by Michael Barrier
- A Belated Christmas Gift: The Disney Newspaper Strip by Wade Sampson

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Hi Didier !

On February 16th, 2007, you had a posting where you - and Are Myklebust - asked if anyone knew of a photo of Hazel George. As we all know, she was the studio nurse and Walt's confidant, besides being a song lyricist for the Disney Studio.

Recently I found a portrait of her, see enclosure. The quality isn't very good, I'm afraid, as it is a frame grab from a documentary film. Hans Perk posted another photo of her on his blog some time ago - and it was confirmed in a comment by Floyd Norman that it was of her. See: A little strange that there are so few photos of such an important person in Walt Disney's professional and private life.


This just in from Jim Korkis through ebay:

[C.C. Beck was the artist on the original Golden Age Captain Marvel. He picked up some extra money in the 80s doing cover recreations of Captain Marvel but apparently did a few others as well....including recreating a classic Carl Barks cover.]

Ebay description:

[Offered here is a beautiful cover recreation painting of Four Color #108 (Donald Duck in the Ghost of the Grotto) done by C.C. Beck in 1980. This piece measures 15” x 20” (image area is 11” x 15.5”) and is in excellent condition aside from some light tape pulling on the front (only in the margins, actual image is unaffected). Overall a spectacular example of C.C. Beck art.]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I will be in London on Monday and Tuesday next week. The blog will be updated again on Wednesday.

Friday, January 09, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Enclosed you'll find an aerial photo of the Franklin Hills - Los Feliz area in LA from 1932.

I have numbered some places in this photo that are of interest:

1. The Walt Disney Studio. Unfortunately most of the buildings are just outside the photo

2. Appartment houses used by the studio: Often called annexes

3. The Griffith Park Boulevard

4. The Snow White/Dwarfs cottages

5. The Rowena Reservoir

6. Football field. This was used in the ending sequence of "Grease". For a funny story: see page 78 in Jack Kinney's book: Walt Disney and Assorted Other Characters

7. John Marshall High School, built in 1931. Can be seen in the background of several studio photos. It has been used in a lot of movies and TV-series.

8. Walt's and Roy's houses in Lyric Avenue

9. Shakespeare Bridge, built in 1926

10. Walt's house in 4053 Woking Way - built in spring/summer of 1932. I'm not sure of the exact place of this - or if it was built when this photo was taken. There are still a large number of lots that have no buildings.

A better version of the photo can be found here.]
Here is some info about an upcoming animation art auction that will happen on May 30, for our French readers. I will post the catalog when it will become available.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I mentioned a while back how excited I was by the upcoming book by dance critic Mindy Aloff, Hippo in a Tutu. I was glad to receive a review copy a few weeks ago and devoured it over the Christmas season. The Bottom Line: I loved 75% of it and was unconvinced by the remainder. In other words: I would definitely recommend buying it but with a few warnings.

The illustrations have been selected with great care and show a large number of never-seen-before documents. I particularly loved the elements coming from the Cowan collection, as well as the photographs of live-action references and the sources of inspiration for the Disney movies and shorts. The shots of Isadora Duncan that could have inspired The Goddess of Spring, of Virginia Davis dancing with Garland Ladd as reference for Mr. Duck Steps Out and of Marjorie Belcher dancing with composer Oliver Wallace for Snow White are priceless.

Speaking of which, the other undeniable highlight of the book is the detailed interview with Marjorie Belcher by Mindy Aloff. Mindy asks all the right questions (including some about Marjorie's short-lived marriage with Art Babbitt) and that interview itself, from my point of view, would justify buying the book.

Now come some of my reservations: I honnestly found the first two chapters of the book (A Short, Highly Subjective Tour of Dancing in Historic Disney Animation and Choreography: Dancing and Drawing) hard to focus on. I believe the main reason for this is that while I learned quite a bit in those chapters about the history of dance and choreography and how it applied to Disney animation, I also never knew where Mindy wanted to lead us with her text. I felt lost and had the impression of jumping from subject to subject without getting the point of the whole thing. My guess is that I like structure and focus too much to have been in synch with those two chapters.

Things get a lot better in chapter 3 (Animation, Dancing, and Music, or are the Silly Symphonies Really Silly) which focuses on some specific shorts and reveal quite a few stories about their sources of creation and their making, and in chapter 4 (Live-Action Reference: The Illusion of Life and Life Itself) which is from my point of view the true highlight of the book (thankfully it is also by far the longest of all the chapters). That chapter is both focused and full of interesting new stories about the actors and actresses that served as live models for Snow White, Fantasia, and quite a few other Disney movies. The information it gives us about the Jackson brothers (live references for the crows in Dumbo) and Hattie Noel (one of the live references for Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia) are, once again, priceless.

Overall I would say that dance enthusiasts will probably enjoy thoroughly the whole book. As for Disney historians: the illustrations, Chapter 4, and the interview of Marjorie Belcher are a strong enough reason to buy the book, which I did find satisfying if not perfect.

One last thing: I was impressed all along by the quality of Mindy's research. As far as I could tell the text did not include any factual mistake (save for one obvious typo on a date) and showed a level of Disney-history erudition which is hard to find outside of books written by Disney specialists.
This just in through Fernando Ventura:

[I just bought on Ebay a collection of "Disney papers". It includes original Scamp and Mickey rough scripts, newspapers, animated drawings and high quality photostats from the Winnie the Pooh comic strips. Aparentelly it comes from Manuel Gonzales' heritage. I uploaded some of them on Inducks.]

Do not miss today:

- The Pleasure Island New Year Story by Wade Sampson
- Small Wonder by Kevin Kidney

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tomorrow is a holiday in Spain. The blog will be updated again on Wednesday.

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Hi Didier,

I found this photo for sale on ebay some time ago. I had never seen it before. It doesn't have a very high resolution, but it is possible to identify a lot of people. It is probably taken in the summer of 1931. Rudy Zamora, the man in dark clothes in the first row, was employed only one year, from early 1931 till early 1932. There's a total of 108 people.]

Question for the readers of this blog

This question just in from a reader of the blog:

[Martin and Osa Johnson were pioneering wildlife filmmakers who produced enormously popular movies in the 1930’s, ( I came across a rumored link with Walt Disney. The story goes that Disney used the Johnsons’ films depicting African wildlife to help his animators visualize animal movement for his own animated feature films. That story is, for now, based solely in hearsay. Is there any way you can help us explore whether there’s any truth to it?]
Do not miss today:

- Where's Walt, No. 4A by Michael Barrier
- The Walt Disney Family Museum site has been updated
- Lots of new posts by David Lesjak on Vintage Disney Collectibles