Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tomorrow is a holiday in Spain. See you all on Monday.

Starting next Friday (May 8th), I will be leaving on a three-week vacation to Utah and Arizona.

I therefore thought it might be fitting to share today this page from the Serbian magazine Mikijevo Carstvo (Mickey's Kingdom) number 1 featuring the locally drawn story from the '30s Donald, Cowboy.

Some book-related news.

The cover of the upcoming Pixar Treasures has been revealed by Amazon last week.

And David Peake just wrote to let us know about the fact that the Art of The Princess and the Frog by Jeff Kurtti is now offered on pre-order on and that is featuring Pierre Lambert's books about The Jungle Book and Snow White.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Here is the cover of the Serbian magazine Mika Mis 60 that I just received yesterday.

This just in from Jim Korkis:
[Another new Disney book about Tokyo Disneyland, this time surrounded in controversy:]

Jim Korkis just forwarded to me a link to a new Disney history blog with the following statement: "There seems to be a plethora of Disney related blogs out there and I thought I knew most of the good ones. However, thanks to John Frost, I discovered that Shawn Slater started a blog in March. Who is Shawn Slater? Shawn is one of my favorite Disney history people in the world. He and his lovely wife Laurel are Disney history experts and for a time Shawn was a show writer for Imagineering and helped come up with outstanding stories for several WDW locations including the Confectionary Shop on Main Street and the McDonalds Fry Wagon. Thankfully, he is sharing all this information and more on his new blog. The very first time I heard the phrase 'The Disney Mountains' referring to the various mountain-like attractions at the Disney theme parks was in a presentation that Shawn and Laurel created several years ago that delighted cast members. They have truly been keeping the magic of Disney storytelling alive and this is a site I will be bookmarking as one of my favorites."
Regarding the photos of Don Griffith that I posted yesterday, Christian Renaut is almost certain that in the photo where they serve Champagne, the man behind Don is Joe Hale.

Do not miss today:

- Who Was Madame Zenobia? by Wade Sampson
- Report of the Milt Kahl Tribute by Hans Perk
- Tokyo Part 1 by Shaenon K. Garrity (Thanks to Jim Korkis for this link)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don Griffith, who will be featured in Walt's People - Volume 8, was one of the key Disney layout artists. He started working at Disney when he was 19 years old (in 1937) when the Studio was still on Hyperion. He started out as an inker and worked his way into doing Background and Layout. He didn't have any training as an artist before he started working for Disney which is why he thought anyone could learn how to draw. He worked at the Studio for almost 50 years (until 1984).

His granddaughter Tammy Rogers was kind enough to send me these photos of his 40th Anniversary at the Studio. Would anyone recognize the other artists featured?
In the last photo, the caricature of himself that Don is holding was drawn by Vance Gerry.

Don't miss today:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Animation and comics historian David Gerstein just launched his blog, which is likely to become one of my daily stops.
Do not miss today:

- Ken Annakin by Michael Barrier
- Recommended Reading by Michael Barrier
- KEN ANNAKIN on Cinemaretro
- Book Review: The Art of Up
- Breaking News : Disney Legendary Imagineer Marty Sklar says goodbye to WDI by Alain Littaye

Friday, April 24, 2009

Unfortunately Ken Annakin just passed away.

The only thing I know about this weird drawing by artist Eduardo Lopez Chicheri is that it was released in a Spanish magazine in the '30s. I thought you would enjoy it.
Do not miss today:

- Scatman Crothers and Phil Harris by Steven Thompson (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- Why Frank Lloyd Wright Disliked Fantasia by Wade Sampson

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Enclosed: An item that was sold at an auction some years ago - a memo from Walt to Albert Hurter.

From a very authorative source I have been told that Walt sent similar memos to other key artists on Snow White.]
[And here is a scan of another Hurter drawing that I bought some months ago. In addition to the four drawings of cookies (Must be an inspirational drawing to The Cookie Carnival) - he has drawn 11 of his "signature drawings" that have nothing to do with cookies.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This question just in from Christopher Kerry:

[As a Disney historian maybe you can help me. I have an original Paul Hartly painting that measures aprox 6ft by 16ft. the painting illustrates the design and construstion of the original Disney park and used to hang in the Disney Design studios at 808 W Vermont. I know very little about the work other than what I have just stated but would like to know more. have you ever seen or heard of this painting?]

Any ideas?
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Got to spend a little time with artist Ruben Procopio last Friday. He was in town to attend the FX convention at the Orlando Convention Center (and meet with some friends from Disney Feature Animation who stayed in Florida). Interestingly, he was not selling any Disney related artwork but his own limited edition booklet "The Phantom Chronicles: Artist's Index". You can find more information at The sketchbook features some rough concept art for the artwork Ruben did for "The Phantom Chronicles book" published by Moonstone Books and features Lee Falk's purple suited avenger of justice. Besides his work for Disney, Ruben is a huge fan of the Phantom and the Green Hornet. Ruben was kind enough to draw a little sketch in my copy of a headshot of the Phantom...wearing Mickey Mouse ears and signed it "from the Ghost Who Walks at Disneyworld!". Artist sketchbooks have become very popular in the last few years and several Disney artists have picked up some spare change at various conventions by selling them.]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On May 6, Disney Editions will release the long awaited book by Jeff Kurtti and the late Bruce Gordon, The Art of Walt Disney World. This book will unfortunately be available only at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

I have just received an advance copy yesterday evening and was so excited while I started looking at it that I knew I would not be able to wait to post a short review.

The companion volume to this book, The Art of Disneyland was a great piece and this one follows the same pattern. My excitment in the case of The Art of Disneyland, however, was compensated by the fact that I had seen many of the featured drawings and renderings in other books. Not so with The Art of Walt Disney World. I estimate that at least 75% of the artwork had never been released in book form before.

Every single piece of art has been selected very carefully by Jeff and Bruce and although the text is limited to the captions, every single caption is interesting and brings something of value. The equilibrium between the "WDW that was" and the "WDW that never was" also tends to perfection. I discovered quite a few attractions projects that I had never heard about before, designed by such prominent artists as Sam MacKim or Collin Campbell.

There is sheer beauty in this book if you love WDI's artwork, and although I have to admit that I often prefer the carefully rendered paintings of Dorothea Redmond, Collin Campbell, Tony Baxter, Julie Svendsen, and Sam MacKim, I also loved some of the art created by some artists of the most recent generation.

From my point of view this book is as much a "must have" for park enthusiasts as the Disney Studio Archives Series: Story was for animation historians. When I said I couldn't wait to get it a few months ago, my impatience was justified. This is a book that definitely lives up to expectations.

Do not miss today:

Monday, April 20, 2009

This just in from Serbia through Sasa Rakezic:

[Here is another ad from Politika daily newspaper, dated July 9th 1940. It's an announcement for a new edition of Politikin Zabavnik, a magazine that featured comics, and was coming out every Tuesday and Thursday. The ad is connected to a new Mickey Mouse story, and it says "if you want to see the rest of the story look for today's and all the succeeding issues of Politikin Zabavnik". The funny thing is that Mickey was shown singing a tune "Ala je lep ovaj svet" (This World is so Beautiful), which is actually a popular children's poem of the same title, written in the 1860s by a Serbian poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj. This is reflecting a constant wish to make Disney material be adjusted to the local readers. ]
This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Even on the internet, a researcher can sometimes stumble across the most obscure Disney historical information in the oddest of locations. One of my favorite Disney animated features is "Lady and the Tramp" and unlike today when celebrities are cast in the vocal roles, in those days finding just the "right" voice to capture the character was very much important whether the performer was well known or not. In the film, Barbara Luddy provides the voice for Lady and she continued to supply memorable voices for other Disney animated characters as well. However, the voice of Tramp was done by actor Larry Roberts who despite some success on stage and in early television is largely forgotten today. However, here is some information about the actor (including a photo) that may be of interest to fans of the film like myself.]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crazy day today so I will not have time to update the blog. See you all on Monday.
Do not miss today:

- Good-Will Ambassador No. 1 by David Lesjak (great post as ever).
- Inside the Walled Garden by Michael Barrier

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Looking for Leo Salkin's relatives

I have reasons to believe that Disney story artist and director Leo Salkin wrote a diary during many years. I was wondering if some of you may be in contact with some of his relatives or would know how to contact them. If you do, please let me know.
(The illustrations is from the short Pigs is Pigs that salking wrote and directed).

This just in from Tim O'Day.
This just in from Alexander Rannie:

[The Chouinard book (Chouinard: An Art Vision Betrayed) was published in 1986, not 1965. (I'm suspecting a typo.)

And be sure to check out the following site (if you don't already know about it):

The history page gives an outline of the Foundation's mission to perpetuate Nelbert Chouinard's work.]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This just in from Sasa Rakezic in Serbia:

[I'm enclosing here an article from Politika daily - it was published on March 10th 1940, and it speaks about the release of Pinocchio and its success in the US. It was also announced in an ad (above) in that very same issue that Politikin zabavnik (a magazine which is Politika's spin off) will soon start to publish a Pinocchio comic strip. The article starts with: "Mickey Mouse with his partner Minnie and the army of characters has slowly and painstakingly conquered all the continents. But it took years before the world accepted comics and animated cartoons". The article also speaks about the universal appeal of Pinocchio, a fable that was written by Colodi, but is based on a fable that exists in many countries, including Serbia, where it's called "a tale about Neposlusni Ćira (Naughty Chira)".]
Here is a book that I can't wait to read: Chouinard/An Art Vision Betrayed by Robert Perine published in 1965. Thanks to Michael Sporn for letting us know that it exists through his blog.
Do not miss today:

- Hyperion Avenue and Griffith Park Boulevard, 2009 by Michael Barrier
- Grumpy and the Seven Snow Whites by Wade Sampson
- A note from the "ornery" son by David Lesjak
Alan Coats, Claude Coats' son just launched a website dedicated to his father.

This just in:


Rare Theatrical Screenings Hosted by Oscar Nominated Film Producer Don Hahn and Walt Disney Animation Studios Creative Director David Bossert

On Wednesday, April 29, audiences at the 2009 Newport Beach Film Festival (April 23 – 30) will again enjoy a “Behind-The-Magic” peek at the art of Disney animation as Academy Award nominated film producer and author Don Hahn and Creative Director for Walt Disney Animation Studios David Bossert present an evening of rarely seen Disney animated shorts. Hahn and Bossert will share with the audience a collection of short animated films that had very limited theatrical distribution or have not been seen theatrically by a general audience in decades (in some instances over 60 years) beginning at 7:30pm at the art deco Lido Theater in Newport Beach. For media credentials, photos and ticket information, please visit:]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This just in from Gunnar:

[Enclosed: Scans of an article in The Filmgoer's Annual 1932, probably published in 1931, in London.

WD gives an account of the origin of Mickey Mouse: "We just got together, the bunch of us, and we worked things out. Sometimes we had good, old-fashioned scraps, but, in the end, things got ironed out and we had something."]

Monday, April 13, 2009

Help needed!

This weekend I had the chance to meet John Culhane who is spending a 10-day vacation in Madrid. John brought me no less than 60 tapes for Walt's People, containing such gems as interviews with Shirley Temple, Frank Capra, Art Babbitt, Les Clark, and many, many others.

I can't tell you how happy I am to be able to share those interviews with all of you in future volumes of WP. That being said I need more help than ever transcribing, transcribing and transcribing even more. Volunteers are more than welcome!

Please email me at

This interview with Al Taliaferro just in thanks to Michael Barrier.

Do not miss today:
- There's Gold In Them Thar Hills by Ger Apeldoorn
- Topolino Celebrates 60th Anniversary by Arthur Wolf
- Happy Easter ! by David Lesjak
- Disney and McDonald's by Wade Sampson

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tomorrow and Friday and holidays in Spain. See you all on Monday.
Here are a few photos of Walt in 1941 during his trip to Argentina, with the journalist Regina Monsalvo.

Do not miss today:

- Walt's Great New Plans by Hans Perk
- A Tribute to Tom Thordarson - a.k.a " THOR " - Artwork - Part Three : Tokyo Disney Sea Mysterious Island by Alain Littaye

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Disney Books Network has just been updated.
Do not miss today:

- Earliest Disney records? by Jerry Beck

Monday, April 06, 2009

There is one book that I simply can't wait to finally put my hands on, after years and years of waiting: South of the Border with Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program 1941-1948 by J.B. Kaufman.

J.B. mentioned last week that the book was now at the printer and David Peake noticed this weekend that Amazon offered it in pre-order.

Van Eaton Galleries released on Saturday their new catalog of concept art and storyboard art. Some beautiful pieces in there.

Do not miss today:

- The Desert Battalion by David Lesjak
- Mickey Mouse model sheet by David Lesjak

Friday, April 03, 2009

Jim Korkis is researching an article on the infamous Dixieland Jazz Band, "Firehouse Five Plus 2" composed at various times by some of the top men at the Disney Studios including leader Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Jimmy MacDonald, and Harper Goff. One of the most difficult articles to track down was one of the first devoted to the band that appeared in "Record Changer" magazine September 1949. Thanks to some luck, Jim was able to find it and was kind enough to photocopy it for the readers of this site to enjoy. While the "Firehouse Five Plus 2" went on to great success, recording many albums that are available today on CD and playing at a variety of venues including Disneyland, this article is important because it came at the very beginning of that career.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Enclosed you'll find a Mickey Mouse page from the December 1931 issue of College Humor, probably made specially for this magazine, and one in a series. I can't recall having seen this one anyplace else.

A digression: Two more "humor pages" from this magazine !]

I realize the two ads are off-topic but I could not resist posting them. I do not believe that even the characters in the TV series Mad Men would have dared to create them 30 years later.