Friday, May 28, 2010

This just in from Tom Sito:

[I hope you are having a nice weekend. I just wanted you to know, so you can tell your Disney fan friends of a big art auction here in LA on behalf of a worthy cause. A young Disney animator named Pres Romanillos has been battling an advanced form of leukemia. He is on his second round of bone marrow transplants and chemo. Pres was the lead animator of the villain in MUHLAN. But even with insurance his medical bills are overwhelming. So the animation community is rallying to help.

There will be a reception at the animation guild in North Hollywood on Friday June 4th at 4:00PM, then the auction on June 20th, with stuff on e-bay and on-line for out of town bidders. The artwork collected to be sold is magnificent. An original Tytla Stromboli, Something from both Frank & Ollie, Tex Avery, Richard Williams, An Eric Goldberg Genie, a Glen Keane Pocahontas, Andreas Deja, John Pomeroy. I donated original drawings from Aladdin. I think there will be goodies for sale to suit all price ranges.

I'd appreciate it if you could pass the word on to your friends in the Disney Fan community. They can check the details at]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We are going tomorrow on a holiday on the East Coast of the United States (New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington). The blog will be updated again after June 8th. So as a parting gift, here are all the Mika Mis covers between number 51 and 59 I have in my collectoon, complete with interior Disney comics.

Do not miss today:

- The Muppet*Vision 3-D Story by Wade Sampson
- Walt and animal protection. by Mark Sonntag
- Walt - late 30s? by Mark Sonntag

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I am in Milan tomorrow. The blog will be updated again on Thursday.
Are Myklebust says:

[Do you remember your posting from Sunday November 22, 2009, based on mail from Gunnar, and with a link to your own essay on Paul F. Anderson's Disney History website.

Here is another piece of interesting information in that connection.]

This just in from Brad Abbott. Please note that the book has not yet been released and that I have not read it. I just love the readers of this blog and when they ask for a plug...

[In the past you've published a few links to stories that my wife Kate Abbott has written for the Magically Speaking newsletter. Although not quite about Disney History, as the proprietor of the Disney Books Network I thought you and your readers still might enjoy the trailer that she has put together for her debut novel (which you can access here.).

In the middle-grade novel DISNEYLANDERS, Casey Allison, on the brink of starting high school, struggles to find a new identity on her family's annual summer vacation. As she explores Disneyland, and her first romantic relationship, she realizes that she can overcome her real-world insecurities only when she's in the Magic Kingdom.]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[An interesting link between Disney and the Paramount Pictures version of "Alice in Wonderland" (1933)!]

Do not miss today:

- MATTERHORN MANIA--Walt's Mountain by Paul F. Anderson
- Hunchback Art by Michael Sporn
- Le copertine dei prima Mikka Mis by Mac TheSailor

Friday, May 14, 2010

Courtesy of Jorge Sam Roman, comes this never-seen-before photo of Walt with the famous Spanish ventriloquist Señor Wences (Wences Moreno).

Do not miss today:

- PINOCCHIO PREMIERE--Exploitation and the Center Theater by Paul F. Anderson
- Why For does Howard Stark look like Walt Disney in “Iron Man 2” ? by Jim Hill

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[I read your interesting posting about Meek’s Mouse yesterday and have a little to add to it.

I have done some research on the early Mickey the last year and stumbled over the connection to Meek some months ago - including his mice drawings on Lambiek Comiclopedia.I also read about the interview with Walt Disney where he told a little about Meek’s mice, quote from Mary Braggiotti’s article in the New York Post, June 30, 1944:

“There was a man named Clifton Meek who used to draw cute little mice and I grew up with those drawings…. They were different from ours - but they had cute ears.”

We can understand that Meek, when reading this felt flattered - and that he later wrote:

“Needless to say I was surprised and delighted to learn that I had in some small way kindled a spark of inspiration in an unknown country boy who was loaded with genius.”

This according to Meek’s article: After writing to Disney and thanking him, he got his photo with a written acknowledgement and signature.

After what I have found out, I believe that the inspiration from Meek was something that Disney got - not Iwerks - and I can’t quite accept the latter’s version of the creation of Mickey Mouse.
I have found a couple of early Johnny Mouse cartoons by Meek - published in The Pittsburgh Press in 1914, when Disney was still a boy. See image above.

They sure are a bit different from Mickey Mouse, as Disney pointed out, but they do have a few things in common with the earliest Mickey.

A couple of years before Mickey Mouse was created, Disney sent a birthday card to his father.According to Mickey Mouse in Color (with the collection of Gottfredson’s comic strips) where a photo of this is found, this card with three drawings of mice, was drawn by Disney himself. This seems plausible, but we probably can’t quite rule out that a studio artist made the drawings for him. See image below.

Especially one of these mice has a bit more in common with Meek’s early Johnny Mouse than with Mickey. Disney’s drawing could seem to be “the missing link” between Meek’s mouse and early Mickey as we see in on the drawing belonging to The Walt Disney Family Museum and in Plane Crazy.

- Skinny arms and legs- Elbows with sharp angles.- Naked feet- For the most part: black and with round ears

In the interview with Iwerks that you quote from, he said:

”I tried some sketches of dogs and cats, but there were too many cats (like Krazy Kat). Then I went through a batch of magazines. In Life or Judge I ran into cartoons of animals by [Clifton] Meek and got an idea for a mouse.”

According to this he asserts that he got an idea for a mouse - with the inspiration from Meek - and Walt Disney is not mentioned. I don’t believe that this version is the correct one. The question that must be asked in connection with this is: When was the mice by Meek published in Life or Judge ?

According to Meeks article from 1967 he stopped drawings mice before starting to work for World. Here he started with a pantomine strip named Grindstone George. This ran from 1916 - 1919.I don’t find it very probable that magazines from 1916 or earlier were ready at hand for Iwerks to browse through in 1928.

As we all know: According to Walt Disney’s version of the creation of Mickey Mouse, he got the idea for Mickey and made some sketches and even made an outline for a story on the famous train trip from New York to Los Angeles in March 1928.

This story is often refered to as a legend or myth, but I have the impression that several leading Disney historians believe that it is basically true. It may have been somewhat embellished by Disney in interviews through the years. I agree with those that believe that it is true.

Walt Disney would certainly not have sat idle during a three days train trip - and just worrying because of what had happened. This would have been against his nature and inclination. He knew that he would have to come up with a good idea for a new ”leading star” - and there is every reason to believe that he did that on the train.

According to an article by John Culhane in Saturday Review, Nov. 11, 1978, Otto Messmer - the creator of Felix - told him:”Walt designed a mouse, but it wasn’t very good. He was long and skinny. Ub Iwerks redesigned the character.”

Thanks to Jim Korkis for pointing towards this article.

If this was true, we probably have here the inspiration that Walt got from Meek: resulting in a long and skinny mouse.]
My answer: It is important to note that this interview was not fully transcribed and came as notes that often do not include the subject in the sentences. We have reproduced it re-instating the missing words and the active voice. The notes read “in Life or Judge ran into cartoons of animals by Meeker – got an idea for a mouse.” The context of the previous sentences suggests that the subject is Ub, but in reality the sentence could also be “In Life or Judge Walt ran into cartoons of animals…” We know that “Meeker” is in reality “Clifton Meek”, who drew in Life and Judge before 1916.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We are in May and I already know two of the books that will make it on my 5 Best Disney History Books of 2010 list. Interestingly enough both of them this time around are about park history. One is Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World by Chad Emerson, the other, Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real by Melody Malmberg will be released next week and is definitely a "must-have".

I received my review copy last week and spent the whole weekend truly enjoying it. If you bought Walt Disney Imagineering almost 15 years ago, you know what to expect. A huge, lavish book full of never-seen-before photographs and renderings that feature the best of Imagineering, being through breathtaking artwork or by putting a face on the artists that create the parks.

And the text itself is once again tremendously enjoyable, Malmberg being both Imagineer Joe Rhode's wife and an excellent writer.

One caveat (aside from my unease at the tacky cover): If your focus is purely pre-1966 Disney history then this book is not for you as it covers mostly the new projects that the Imagineers worked on since 1984. I find those to be of tremendous interest, so I have to wholeheartledly recommend this new volume.
Great drawing by Nancy Beiman about Frank and Ollie being sold at the moment on Howard Lowery.

Do not miss today:

- Disney Historian Jim Korkis talks about the history of the relationship between Disney and the Muppets including the extensive plans for the Muppets that Disney had in 1990 at this link.
- PK&A Studio Gags by Michael Sporn
- “The Men Who Would Be King” recalls the bad old days when Disney, DreamWorks & Pixar used to brawl by Jim Hill
- Imagineer Rock Hall Remembers by Wade Sampson
- SPEAKING OF CHARACTERS-Cliff Edwards by Paul F. Anderson

Friday, May 07, 2010

I will be in London on Monday and Tuesday. The blog will be updated again next Wednesday.
This just in from Christopher Merritt:

[May I humbly suggest you add my book Knott's Preserved to your list of Disney books? There are several sections talking about the influence Walter Knott & Knott's Berry Farm had on Disneyland. There are reviews all over the place - but the latest Mousetalgia podcast explains some of these influences pretty well...]
On a recent post on his blog Floyd Norman informs us that he is working on a new book, this one dealing with lesser known Disney artists that he worked with. Can't wait to read it.

Do not miss today:

- Giotto and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by John Canemaker

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The latest issue of the magazine Twenty-Three has just been released.
I love this drawing from Broken Toy that is currently being sold by Van Eaton Galleries.
Meek's Mouse?

I was working this weekend on an interview with Ub Iwerks conducted by Bob Thomas in the mid-'50s (and which will appear in Walt's People - Volume 10) in which Ub recalls the creation of Mickey Mouse as follows:

"Walt came back discouraged to Hollywood [from his meeting with Mintz in New York] and set-up a meeting with Roy and I to discuss possibilities for a new character. I tried some sketches of dogs and cats, but there were too many cats (like Krazy Kat). Then I went through a batch of magazines. In Life or Judge I ran into cartoons of animals by [Clifton] Meek and got an idea for a mouse. We weren’t artists. There were almost none in the field. We worked out the character: Lilly gave it a name, then we cooked up a story sitting around."

Clifton Meek is pictured above and you can see some of his mice below. Meek also wrote an article about Walt in 1967 titled A Tribute to the Late Walt Disney, which you can read here.

None of this is really new but linked together it just made mee see things a bit more clearly that I had until now and I thought you might enjoy that same "aha"-moment.

Do not miss today:

- Oh, yeah... Peter! by Ed Gombert (and Vance Gerry)
- Jim Henson's The Little Mermaid Island by Wade Sampson
- Cleaning House by Michael Barrier
- Barks in Panels by Michael Sporn
- War comes to the Disney Studio by David Lesjak
- Volume 9 of the “Walt’s People” series features some great behind-the-scenes stories by Jim Hill

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Walt's People - Volume 9 released!

I am happy to announce that Walt's People - Volume 9 has now been officially released on Xlibris. It will also become available in a few weeks on

This is an absolutely huge volume, which contains some of my favorite interviews. I am posting the table of contents below.

Of course this also means that I am now hard at work on Volume 10, which I hope will be released later that year. More about this within the next few weeks.

Please spread the word about Volume 9 if you have web sites and blogs.

Foreword: John Culhane
Dave Smith: Thurston Harper
Ray Pointer: Berny Wolf
John Canemaker: Fanny Rabin about Art Babbitt
John Culhane: Art Babbitt
Tom Sito: Bill Melendez
Mark Langer: Ken O’Connor
John Canemaker: Thor Putman
John Culhane: Art Scott
Dave Smith: Ken Anderson
Christopher Finch and Linda Rosenkrantz: Ken Anderson
Christopher Finch and Linda Rosenkrantz: Les Clark
Christopher Finch and Linda Rosenkrantz: Jack Cutting
Robin Allan: Jack Cutting
Robin Allan: Bob Jones
Robin Allan: Joe and Jennie Grant
Floyd Norman: Three Disney Story Guys (Pete Young, Fred Lucky and Vance Gerry)
Jim Korkis: Margaret Kerry
Paul F. Anderson: Jack Ferges
Paul F. Anderson: Fred Joerger
Jim Korkis: The Secret Walt Disney Commercials
Michael Mallory: Paul Carlson
Didier Ghez: Paul Carlson
Floyd Norman: Just Finish that Darned Thing!
Didier Ghez: Victor Haboush
Julie Svendsen: Walt Peregoy
Floyd Norman: Disney’s “B” Movie
Alberto Becattini: Frank McSavage
Klaus Strzyz: Jack Bradbury + Mary Jim Carp
Klaus Strzyz: Bob Foster
Alberto Becattini: Bob Foster
Didier Ghez: Julie Svendsen
Göran Broling: Correspondence with Ollie Johnston
Clay Kaytis: Burny Mattinson
Didier Ghez: Tom Sito

Alain Littaye has just launched a fascinating web site about Tom Sherman, which is definitely worth several in-depth visits.
The Disney Books Network was updated yesterday.

Do not miss today:
- More on the Dumbo Roll-A-Book by Michael Barrier
- After dark, the dirty work at Disneyland begins (thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- HIDDEN TREASURES-Quiet On The Set...Action! by Paul F. Anderson
- THE DHI FESS-TIVAL--Life After Davy & Disney by Paul F. Anderson
- SUNDAY FUNNIES-Grimmy Goes For A Walk by Paul F. Anderson
- SUNDAY FUNNIES-What Was Walt Reading? by Paul F. Anderson

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Here are a few drawings from the collection of Leslie Brooks (

Any help identifying the subjects and the artists?

Issue 15 of the magazine Tales from the Laughing Place has just been released.