Sunday, January 31, 2010

I had the pleasure of meeting Andreas Deja this past Friday (along with John Musker and Ron Clements) and to attend the Spanish Premiere of The Princess and the Frog later on that day. Andreas was kind enough to bring me the sketchbook that Stuart Ng released a few weeks ago. I have always loved Andreas' art and this sketchbook is no exception. Andreas does not hide the fact that his sketches are very much influenced by Heinrich Kley and T.S. Sullivant. Which made me stumble on Amazon yesterday upon an upcoming book about T.S. Sullivant named The Antic Cartoon Art of T.S. Sullivant. Can't wait to get that one.
By the way, if you speak French and want to know a bit more about Andreas, this article might prove to be a good read.

As for The Princess and the Frog, the movie is definitely worth seeing but I still can't figure how much I enjoyed it. I know I disliked the heavy-handed "message," as well as Randy Newman's songs... and the fact that I saw the movie dubbed in Spanish did not help. But I also enjoyed tremendously the characters of Dr. Facilier (and all the scenes in which he stars), Mama Odie and Louis, as well as all of the second part of the movie. I also loved all the inside jokes, with "The Firefly Five Plus Lou" at the top of the list. I believe I will have to see it again in English to understand my feelings better.
Do not miss today:

Friday, January 29, 2010

As you know I love pre-WWII Disney items from Eastern Europe and although I did not manage to buy this Hungarian book on ebay last week I thought you might be happy to discover its existence.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have just ordered Floyd Norman's autobiography, which has now been officially released. Can't wait to get it and start reading it.
A few gag drawings by Hal King being sold on ebay at the moment and that I thought you might enjoy.

Do not miss today this great article by Wade Sampson:

- Paul Murry: The Wayne DeWald Letter by Wade Sampson

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love those two cute concept drawings by Tenggren which are being sold at the moment on Heritage Auction Galleries. (Thanks to Emmanuel Bourmalo for the link)
I would have loved to pick up those Italian cheese labels but the auction was over before I could bid. (Thanks to Matt Crandall for the link)
Do not miss today:

- Happy Birthday, Wilfred! by Steve Hulett
- Farewell, Jack: part 7 by Steve Hulett
- Walt Peregoy Exhibit in Encino by Amid Amidi
- The Princess And The Frog’s Supervising Animator Mark Henn – Part 3: The Orlando Features by Jeremie Noyer
- Charlie Thorton by Vincent Potuto
- Real Life Fairy Tale -Snow White by Vincent Potuto

This just in from Are Myklebust about yesterday's post:

[So what is "Scott's Emulsion"?

You will find some information about this healthy liquid and its history here.

BTW; the logo – a very famous trade mark and still used today - has an interesting history in itself, see this link (only in Norwegian unfortunately).]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One of the most astonishing item I managed to buy on ebay recently is this North American advertising booklet in Spanish that depicts Mickey's trip from California to Norway. Weird and fascinating to say the least.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sebastien Durand noticed and sent me a link to the article John Frost just posted on The Disney Blog about the book Snowball's Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe. There is a direct link with Disney, of course, and I am looking forward to picking this book up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Walt Disney's First Lady of Imagineering is first and foremost a tribute to Harriet Burns. Not a biography, not an in-depth look at her career, but a celebration of the human being through the persons who knew her, be they friends, colleagues or family.

If you enjoy knowing the human being behind the Imagineer and if you like to see really unusual documents linked to Disney and Disney history, then this book is for you. If you are looking forward to reading a few short but insightful interviews with Harriet you will also enjoy the book.

If you are expecting an in-depth, structured retelling of Harriet's life filled with work-related illustrations, then you should pass.

The page below will give you an idea of the type of structure and content the book adopted. My only regret: I wished there were slightly more Disney-related documents and slightly less personal photos, but that's a detail.

Overall the book is a pure delight and the best thing next to having actually known Harriet.

Do not in any way, shape or form miss this post today:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I picked up this great book recently, which contains quite a few photographs of our "good friend" Pat Powers. The author mentions that more information about Powers can be found in two books:

Next time drive off the cliff! by Gene Fernett and A million and one nights: A history of the motion picture by Terry Ramsaye.

Would a reader of this blog have access to those two books and be willing to scan the pages that mention Powers?
This great Swedish poster just in thanks to Lars Emanuelsson:

[The brand Persil was a well known detergent, and of course the name Snow White (Snövit in Swedish) fits in perfectly for its purposes. It even took all the color away from her dress.]

Do not miss today:

- Walt Disney in Rio de Janeiro, circa 1941 by Alain Littaye (truly outstanding post)
- Animators & cartoonists from all over come together to “Help the Hodges” by Jim Hill

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And for those of you who care more about US material, here is a link to a site focused on vintage Disney ads, courtesy of Jim Korkis.

For those of you who love Disney Comics from Italy and especially Romano Scarpa, here is a site definitely worth exploring... if you speak Italian, though.

Do not miss today:

- More Untold Tales of Captain EO by Wade Sampson
- Farewell, Jack: part 6 by Steve Hulett

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[In the early 1970s, Don and Lynda Ault interviewed artist Paul Murry. That interview is currently begin transcribed and edited for a future edition of Walt's People. Paul Murry is probably best known for his work on Disney related comic strips like "Uncle Remus" and comic books where he supplied the artwork for many of the Mickey Mouse serials in the back of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. However, Murry got his start at the Disney Studio as an inbetweener and later as an assistant animator to the legendary Fred Moore before becoming a full animator on such classics as "Dumbo".

To whet your interest, here is a brief quote from that interview where Murry talked about the fact that he and Moore would often leave early in the day from the Disney Studios in Burbank and go to a nearby bar to spend the rest of the afternoon.

"That’s what Fred Moore might do in the old days. Big cockney ass of his and he would walk out of the studio, over to the bar, sit there and drink whisky, and talk to old James Jeffries, the boxer who used to be heavyweight champion. They used to hang out together. He was a big star. Haven’t you heard of Jeffries Barn? Used to be down here in the valley. He came out of retirement and fought Jack Johnson. He got beat. Got the devil beat out of him. But you probably don’t know him."

Hard to believe that Moore not only knew Jeffries but was his drinking friend. Jeffries was the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world and retired undefeated in 1905. He was coaxed out of retirement to fight Africian American boxing champion Jack Johnson in 1910 in a bout in Reno, Nevada. (The life of Jack Johnson inspired the play "The Great White Hope".) Jeffries was obviously out of shape and his corner threw in the towel in the 15th round. In later years, Jeffries trained boxers and worked as a fight promoter. He promoted many fights out of a structure known as "Jeffries Barn" which was located on his alfalfa ranch at the southwest corner of Victory Boulvevard and Buena Vista in Burbank, California near the Disney Studios. Jeffries Barn is now part of Knott's Berry Farm, a Southern California amusement park.]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Floyd Norman is about to release through print-on-demand publisher his long-awaited autobiography, My Animated Life. He is still tweaking a few things so I will let you know as soon as he considers the book ready to be ordered. (Thanks to David Lesjak for the heads up)
Do not miss today:

- Disney Legend Harriet Burns: A model (maker) of a mother by Todd James Pierce
- Cliff Edwards, Ward Kimball, Jack Kinney, and the Crows by Michael Barrier
- Farewell, Jack: part 1 by Steve Hulett
- Farewell, Jack: part 2 by Steve Hulett
- Farewell, Jack: part 3 by Steve Hulett
- Farewell, Jack: part 4 by Steve Hulett
- Farewell, Jack: part 5 by Steve Hulett
- Walt Disney’s Creative Organization Chart by Delphine Hirasuna (Thanks to Sebastien Durand for the link)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I will be in meetings all day tomorrow and in London on Friday and Saturday. The blog will be updated again on Monday.
This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Here is an article in Pictorial Review, Oct. 1935, with a brief biography of Donald Duck, described as Mickey Mouse's enemy.]

It is Jim Fanning's birthday today, which gives you a great reason - if you needed one - to visit his Tulgey Wood website. Jim is a really good guy and one of the "hidden treasures" of Disney History. He's written books, numerous articles (currently for Sketches, D23, and Disney Dream Files), done research for Disney projects from pamphlets for laserdiscs/videos to scripting episodes of Disney Family Album tv show to materials for DVDs and so much more. More importantly, he is accurate and digs up great stuff that was never previously in print.
This just in from Major Pepperidge:

[I wanted to alert you to some neat vintage illustrations that sold in a recent auction over at "Illustration House" last December.

If you go to Lot #58, there is an Al Hirschfeld illustration with cameos from Minnie and Mickey. Also, Lots # 72 and 73 are Mary Blair paintings.

Just thought you'd like to see them. Cheers!]

Do not miss today:

- Forgotten Disneyland Heroes by Wade Sampson
- Mickey Mouse Revue by Wade Sampson
- The Princess And The Frog’s Supervising Animator Mark Henn – Part 2: The “Disney Decade” by Jeremie Noyer

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disney Historian Jim Korkis has been communicating with Diane Disney Miller for a few years and every now and then, she shares a wonderful story that doesn't fit into an article or project that Jim is working on at the moment. Just this last week, Diane shared one of those stories about her father, Walt Disney, and we thought it might be nice to share with the rest of you since it gives another little insight into the life of Walt. It is not an earthshattering revelation but just an interesting glimpse into the private home life of Walt.

Here is what Diane wrote to Jim: "There's another incident in dad's life that's never talked about, but that reveals a lot about his nature. One summer ... maybe 1944, because Sharon would have been at least 7, and I could have been 10 going on 11. He built a trail around the the hillside of our "canyon", the lower part of the lot at 4053 Woking Way. The canyon was landscaped, with flagstone steps descending to the bottom, where the badminton court was, and the screen-enclosed shed with the lifesize wooden horse from which he would have practiced polo shots. This was always locked, in my memory, and we were forbidden entry because of the threat of black widow spiders that, indeed, probably lurked within. I really wanted to be able to climb up on that horse and pretend it was a real one.

"Anyway, he decided to build this trail ... he called it the 'Burma Trail', which should help date it. He labored energetically all summer on weekends. He had Sharon enlisted to bring him root beers at intervals to keep him going. He was drenched in sweat and dirt at the end of the days. There was absolutely no need for this trail. He just wanted to do it. He relished the hard work. He would have been in his early 40's then. I don't know if this has ever been mentioned, and I'm the last person alive who would know about it, and, though it is not an important thing , everything he's ever done is brought up, examined, discussed, and all kind of conclusions drawn. about it. Looking at it historically in his life, it was the post-war period .. He craved intense physical activity, as most of us do. He was home-centered. As he labored on the hillside on the construction of this trail he was concentrating on the job, the placement of each board to support the trail ..each shovel full of earth .. and, at the end of the day, exhausted but satisfied with his day's work, he'd shower and join his family for dinner .. perhaps the scotch mist with mother on the terrace. What was I doing? Swimming, reading, playing the piano .. but I wasn't too curious about the progression of the trail project. I did use it, though."

Jim adds: [When you print Diane's story you may want to include this link that reprints the first of eight installments of Diane and Pete Martin writing about Walt Disney. The eight installments were later gathered together and re-edited and released as the first Walt biography.]
My good friend Fernando Ventura from Brazil has been working for the past 6 years on two books: one about Brazilian Disney artist Canini and his interpretation of Jose Carioca and one called Disney Comics - Made in Brazil. Those books are still a work-in-progress, but to update us Fernando has created a bilingual blog called "Disney Made in Brazil" that you can visit here.
Do not miss today:

- DISNEY GUEST STAR DAY With Reddy Kilowatt by Paul F. Anderson
- Blaine Gibson remembers Harriet Burns, the First Lady of Imagineering by Todd James Pierce

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here is some very exciting and unexpected news from John Donaldson about a book I did not know was in preparation:

[After many years of work, I am pleased to announce, my memoir biography, "Warp and Weft: Life Canvas of Herbert Ryman" is about to be published. Four hundred pages, with forty-six pages of notes... The website about it can be found here.]

Update: This book is highly problematic and should be read with an extremely critical mind.
This just in from Jose Fonte:

[In the early '80s, Richard Williams' Studio created a series of TV ads for Fanta with Disney characters. I believe there were two of them. I need to know the date when they were released. Would anyone know? I am also trying to find out who animatec them.

I am working on a book about Robert Zemekis and this would be an important detail for the chapter about Roger Rabbit.]

Can anyone help?
This just in from Germund von Wowern:

[Does anyone here own any original artwork by Jim Fletcher, preferably from the 1960s?
I'm preparing a Disney book with a quite long biography of Fletcher, and a panel or two from a pencilled page would be a great addition. ]
Do not miss today:

- The new " Jungle Book " luxury edition is simply Gorgeous ! by Alain Littaye
- Snow White book now available in soft cover edition at affordable price by Alain Littaye

Friday, January 08, 2010

This just in from Disney Historian Jim Korkis who has always loved the character of Jiminy Cricket:

[Many Disney fans know about the sad end of the life of Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards who was the charming voice of Jiminy Cricket, not only in "Pinocchio" but in many of the special animated shorts done for the Original Mickey Mouse Club and for a good number of Disneyland records as well as other projects. Unfortunately, he had a lifetime addiction to alcohol and drugs as well. He entered a nursing home in 1969 as a charity patient having lost all of his money (from taxes, gambling, payments to three ex-wives and more) and the Disney Company was quietly paying his medical bills along with help from the Actor's Fund. At the time of his death from a heart attack at the Virgil Convalescent Hospital on July 17, 1971 at the age of seventy-six, Edwards' passing wasn't reported to the public for several days because hospital officials didn't consider it newsworthy since they didn't know he had ever been famous. His body was initially unclaimed and donated to the University of California, Los Angeles medical school. When Walt Disney Productions found out about this, it offered to purchase the corpse and pay for the burial.

The Actors Fund of America and the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund paid for the burial instead. A spokesman for the Actors' Fund, Iggie Wolfington, said at the time, " "I can't praise [Walt] Disney Productions enough for the way they continued over the years to look out for Mr. Edwards' well-being." The Disney Company did pay for the headstone.

However there is now a new mystery surrounding Edwards' birth that has been uncovered by George Grant who runs the excellent Original Mickey Mouse Club website (link over in the righthand column). All soruces say that Edwards was born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1895 and that has never been questioned. When Grant started to do some research on Edwards to do an entry for site, however, he could " find no records for him or his family from Hannibal MO; they are absent from the 1900 and 1910 Federal Census for instance. His 1920 Census record is also a bit of a puzzle."

Here is that excerpt from the 1920 Census (taken Jan 15, 1920), "Cliff Edwards was 24 years old, born Illinois, parents both from England, living in Manhatten as a renter in a building with other show business folks. Was listed as married, but lived with a single lodger named Charles Freeman, also 24, born in Russia to Russian parents. Cliff listed profession as actor on stage, Charles as clerk in stock brokerage."

It was not uncommon at the time for actors to lie about their age, real name or background....and this was sometimes done with the creative assistance of the studio they were working for as well....and Edwards did work in Chicago, Illinois (where he picked up the nickname "Ukulele Ike" when a waiter at a cafe where he was performing kept forgtetting his name and called him "Ike"). So there are still new Disney mysteries to uncover, especially if like Disney historians like Michael Barrier, you go and check the official records for the time that often contradict the well-known and often-repeated stories that we all have just accepted as fact over the years.]

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Do not miss today:
- Walt Disney at Nordisk Film by Hans Perk
- More on Walt at Nordisk Film by Hans Perk
- Grizzly Flats Rides Again! by Jerry Beck

- Marge Champion, Snow White's Live Action Model by MouseStation Crew

Disney Historian Jim Korkis sent the following:

[Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, two friends named Wayne DeWald and Gary Brown would track down comic book and comic strip artists like C.C. Beck, Al Williamson, Don Martin, Hal Foster and write to them. DeWald and Brown were both members of an apa (amateur press alliance--where each member published a pre-determined number of his own contribution and sends it to a central mailer who picks out one copy from each stack of submissions puts them together in one magazine and sends it back to each member) named CAPA-Alpha (the first comics apa) and would share some of the information they got from these artists. Occasionally, the artists would also do free original art for them. DeWald tracked down Paul Murry who had been an animator at the Disney Studios but went on to greater fame as an artist for the DELL/GOLD KEY comic books, in particular the Mickey Mouse serials in the back of WALT DISNEY COMICS AND STORIES. Murry had been an assistant to Freddy Moore at Disney.

I recently got in touch with DeWald and Brown to ask about Paul Murry. DeWald wrote: “In Murry’s case, I don't know if I wrote him via Gold Key comics or what. In those days I regularly wrote letters to just about every artist I could think of, usually getting at least a note in response. To the best of my recollection I think we were in touch about 1968-1970. He did four or five illustrations for me of Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Goofy and those are also gone although my good friend Gary Brown still has two of the Mickey Mouse ones that he used for his K-a apa zine, “Ibid”. All the artwork Murry did (for free) was done in India ink and it was on art board. My overwhelming recollection is what a nice guy Murry was and how eager he was to talk about his animation days."

With Gary Brown's permission, here are the two Mickey Mouse drawings by Murry that he ran on his K-a zine in 1970 that he said could be shared with Disney fans. K-a had less than 50 members so less than 50 people originally saw this artwork.]