Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brian Sibley has just launched a new blog entirely dedicated to Disney. There are a few treasures in there (like this sensational drawing by Kimball) and more to come.
Do not miss today:

- The Disney Alice in Wonderlands That Never Were by Wade Sampsoon

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Contacting Steve Mannheim

Would any reader of this blog know how to get in touch with Steve Mannheim, author of the book Walt Disney and the Quest for Community?

November 30. Mark that date. All the documetaries that we were waiting to see released on DVD will finally be available.

- The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story
- Walt & El Grupo
- Waking Sleeping Beauty

Looks like a great big beautiful tomorrow to me.
Do not miss today:

- Rowland Wilson at Disney -4 by Michael Sporn
- One Time Alice by Mark Sonntag
- Toy Story 3: Animator Victor Navone talks about his “Favorite Toys” by Jérémie Noyer

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's a massive sea change that will hit the Disney Archives by the end of this year. I mentioned last Friday the upcoming retirement of Robert Tieman. That same day, Dave Smith sent the following email:

[As you may have read in the media, after 40 years with Disney I have announced my retirement to coincide with my 70th birthday in October 2010. Of course, Disney has been a major part of my life for the past four decades, so it will be difficult tearing myself away. I am very proud of the Walt Disney Archives, which I have lovingly built up, at first by myself alone and then with the help of an ever-growing and knowledgeable staff. From a glimmer of an idea, the Archives has turned into a department which continually proves itself invaluable to The Walt Disney Company. I have been privileged to work with some of the most wonderful people in the world—my fellow employees and cast members throughout the entire Disney organization. While it will be hard saying good-bye, I am sure that I will continue to work with the Archives and D23 in my retirement. So, please do not hesitate to call upon me if I can ever be of help. I will continue coming to the office over the next four months, so it will be business as usual during that period.]

Reading this email I realized that I have known Dave for more than 20 years. The first time I met him I was 16 years old, in 1989, and after having corresponded with him for a few months was invited to visit the Archives along with my parents during a trip they had planned to California. Needless to say this was one of the highlights of my life at the time.

A few years later, on April 12, 1992, I spent a big part of the day with Dave discussing Disney history while attending the inauguration of Disneyland Paris. The day before Dave had come to our place in Paris, along with French Disney experts Michel Mandry and Sebastien Durand, and had shown us various Disney treasures from the Archives that he would present to the press the following day, including Steamboat Willie's original script!

For years, Dave and Robert have helped me with all my Disney-history related projects and have especially provided tremendous support since the start of publication of the Walt's People book series.

I have a feeling that, thankfully, neither of them will completely exit the Disney history community and that I might still be able to rely on Dave's help with re-reading and correcting Walt's People in the future. I also hope that I will have the chance to meet again Dave and Robert face to face during my next trips to the US.

In the meantime, I would like to wish Dave officially a happy retirement and good luck to Becky Cline who is taking over.

Dave, what you have built during those 40 years and what you preserved is bound to live on for many generations and to influence millions, including the most creative human beings around.

We are all in your debt.

Regarding the man between George Sherman and Walt on the photo I posted a few days ago, Dave Smith says:

[That’s Gunnar Mansson, Disney’s Scandinavian merchandising manager.]

Gunnar is a Disney Legend, so you can find more info about him at this link.

Do not miss today:

- Pack rat in the Mouse House by Geoff Boucher
- Dave Smith Retires by Michael Barrier
- Dumbo Déjà Vu, All Over Again by Michael Barrier
- 'Mickey Mouse and the Medicine Man' by Erowid (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- Gli Albi del Trio dell'astuzia by MacTheSailor

Friday, June 25, 2010

Robert Tieman, Dave Smith's right arm at the Disney Archives for 22 years, announced today officially that he would retire by July 30th of this year.

Robert has been a tremendous help and a great friend for many years and I would like to officially wish him a very relaxing retirement.

This being said, Robert plans to remain a very active part of the Disney history community and I have the feeling that we might expect a few more books from him in the future, which I am certain will delight readers of this blog (as well as yours truly).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In a comment to my post from yesterday about George Sherman, Paul mentions that she believes that the gentleman on the right is Jimmy Johnson and not O.B. Johnston (there was a typo in the name that I wrote yesterday, by the way). I promise not to make this a habit, but I have to disagree. Here is a photo of Jimmy Johnson from Disney's Music Company.
Greg Ehrbar, Jim Marks, Grey Johnson and your truly are still working on getting Jimmy's autobiography published. It might still take one or two years, though.
Do not miss today:

- THE DHI FESS-TIVAL--Charlie Brown Honors Davy by Paul F. Anderson

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Michael Barrier put me in touch a few weeks ago with George Sherman's daughter, Cathy, after having posted about George Sherman himself.

Cathy was kind enough to share this photo of her father (left) with Walt and O.B. Johnson (right).

Would any of you know who is the man between George Sherman and Walt (i.e. the second man from the left)?
Here is a new Facebook group that might interest you. It is

[A group devoted to Richard M. Sherman's latest and most personal musical project, "Forgotten Dreams"... a collection of original piano solos composed and performed by Mr. "Magical" Sherman.]
This just in from Jeff Kurtti thanks to Tom Chivers:

[Look for the "Before and After" book, "Disneyland: From Once Upon a Time to Happily Ever After" coming this Summer as a Disneyland exclusive, softcover, $7.95.]
Do not miss today:

- Confessions of a Walt Disney World Merlin by Wade Sampson

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Here is a link to the Astuter Computer Revue show at Epcot that isn't there any more. However, the BIG thing is an mp3 file of a Sherman Brothers song long out of print and forgotten by most people written for the attraction.]

Do not miss today:

- Forty years of cataloguing, preserving and protecting the Magic by Jim Hill
- Rowland Wilson at Disney - 3 by Michael Sporn

Monday, June 21, 2010

I forgot to mention last week that I had updated the Disney Books Network. In the meantime I learned about an exciting new book about Walt Disney World to be released by Chad D. Emerson next year. A collection of in-depth essays about WDW's history by Disney historians the like of Jim Korkis, the book will pay homage to the park's 40th anniversary. Here is a short list of some of the essays that it will contain (this list is subject to changes and none of the titles are final):

1. A History of Discovery Island
2. The Connections Between Epcot and the 1939 New York Worlds Fair
3. A History of Pleasure Island
4. A History of Direct Flights in Disney's STOLport
5. The Disney World Resorts That Never Were
6. A History of the Disney World Village
7. What We Missed With the Disney Decade
8. The Sunset Blvd. That Almost Was and Is
9. The Evolution of the 3:00 parade
10. A History of Toontown Fair/Birthdayland
11. Cast Member Tributes in the Parks
12. Real World Examples of How Disney World Trips Have Helped Underprivileged Children Experience the Magic
13. Remnants: Pieces of WDW history That Remain in the Parks
14. A History of Beastly Kingdom
15. A History of Epcot's Horizons
16. The Emotional Story Behind the Carrousel of Progress
17. A History of Disney World Cast Member Folklore and Superstitions
18. Conceptual development of EPCOT from 1972-1982
19. "Vacation Kingdom" aspect of WDW in the 1970s
20. Mickey's 60th Anniversary
21. A History of the Hoop Dee Doo Revue
22. First Impressions: Arriving at the Parks
23. A History of the WDW Monorail
24. A History of Spaceship Earth
25. A History of WDW Fireworks and Nighttime Shows
26. The Evolution of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
27. Shining A Light on the Main Street Electrical Parade
28. The Birth of The Contemporary Resort Hotel & The Polynesian Resort
29. A History of Thunder Mesa
30. A History of If You Had Wings
Do not miss today:

- How to Train an Animator by Walt Disney (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)

Friday, June 18, 2010

I travelling today. The blog will be updated on Monday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I love this caricature of Ollie and his wife by Glen Keane being sold at the moment on
Do not miss today:

- The Story of Disney's Toby Tyler by Wade Sampson

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

While in Philadelphia two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of finally meeting face to face Bob Kolakowski who has been helping me for quite a while with some transcriptions for Walt's People. When we met, Bob showed me the above photo and shared the story behind it.

According to Wkipedia:

[The Poor Richard Club was a private club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, whose members were mostly members of the advertising industry. The club was founded in 1906 with 75 members, just a year after a similar club opened in New York. The advertising industry was on a quest for more respectability, and the clubs were created as a way to promote and enforce ethical guidelines. Nevertheless, they functioned largely as places to nurture business, social, and political relationships. ]

On January 17, 1934, during its 29th annual dinner, the club presented Walt Disney with a special award. Walt could not attend and the award was therefore received in his name by Eddie Cantor. The above autographed photo is Walt's thank-you note.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Disney fans were surprised when they went to see the latest blockbuster IRON MAN 2 and discovered there was a delightful “tribute” to Walt Disney. Howard Stark (portrayed by actor John Slattery from AMC’s television series MAD MEN) is Tony Stark’s imaginative father. (Tony Stark, of course, is the superhero Iron Man and is portrayed by actor Robert Downey Jr.) There is a film clip of Howard Stark promoting Stark Expo 1974 that looks remarkably like Walt Disney promoting the 1964 New York World’s Fair or an early prototype for Epcot.

However, if movie fans skipped the closing credits, they missed the lively theme song for Stark Expo 1974 which is “Make Way For Tomorrow Today”. It was written by Disney songsmith Richard Sherman who wrote the famous “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the New York World’s Fair. Richard Sherman has announced that the song will also appear in the upcoming Marvel CAPTAIN AMERICA film.

Here is a link to the song with its charming lyrics.

Here is a link to an instrumental version of the song and a promo for Stark Expo 1974.]
I am still working on an article about Rosenthal figurines for an upcoming article in Tomart's Disneyana and have received plenty of help from Carsten Laqua.

Carsten is offering for sale at the moment on Galerie Laqua an outstanding selection of Rosenthal items, most of them extremely rare, like this very small Mickey.
Do not miss today:

- Rowland Wilson at Disney - 2 by Michael Sporn

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here are three more caricatures from the astounding collection of Leslie Brooks. Do you know who those Disney people are and who drew them?

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Let's suppose you were writting a book about the geniuses of the Golden Age of Disney animation: Fred Moore, Norm Ferguson, Bill Tytla, Ham Luske and Art Babbitt, what would you call it? The name needs to be both catchy and understandable by a wide audience (not just Disney historians), the way "The Nine Old Men" was.

Two clarifications:

- This book is not being written at the moment. This is purely a theoretical exercise.
- If this book were to be written, though, the names that would be suggested could definitely be used as title for the final product.

You ideas?

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[From CLOSEUP #3 magazine 1977 Puppeter Bob Baker talking about Cristadoro and Disney: "I first worked with Cristadoro in George Pal's studio where we were filming the Puppetoons series. Chris was the third most famous ivory carver in the world. He'd done a lot of things for Disney sculpting figures of Pinocchio, etc. that the animators would work from. Some of the things he did actually inspired Disney to do the audio-animatronics thing. He made this little tap-dancing figure--it moved its mouth and winked its eyes, and it was all done with cams and gears, and Disney kept saying, 'Make it move! Make it move! Make it do this and make it do that!' and Chris said, 'Damnit! You can only make these things do so much!' Chris was a brilliant artist."]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This just in:


Bob Iger, Leonard Maltin and Special Guests to HonorArchives Founder Dave Smith in a One-of-a-Kind EventOpen to Members of D23, Disney’s Official Fan Club

BURBANK, Calif. – June 4, 2010 – For four decades, The Walt Disney Archives has been home to the most treasured items from Disney’s fabled history, and on Friday, June 25, the Archives will mark its 40th anniversary with a special celebration at the Walt Disney Studios.

During the event, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, noted film historian Leonard Maltin and other surprise guests will honor Dave Smith, the founder of The Walt Disney Archives and Disney’s chief archivist, for his achievements in preserving the Disney legacy.

The special celebration is open exclusively to members of D23, Disney’s official fan club, and tickets to the once-in-a-lifetime Walt Disney Archives 40th Anniversary Celebration go on sale at 10 a.m. Pacific time today exclusively at

“The Walt Disney Archives is an incredible collection, and that’s due to the dedication and passion Dave has brought to the development of the Archives since Roy O. Disney hired him 40 years ago,” said Steven Clark, head of D23, who also oversees The Walt Disney Archives. “We’re excited to honor Dave and the Archives, and to give our members a close-up look at some rarely seen ‘jewels in the crown’ of Disney history.”

As part of the Archives’ 40th Anniversary celebration, a number of new pieces from recent Disney projects will be officially added to the Archives’ collection; their identities will be revealed during the event.

The Walt Disney Archives 40th Anniversary Celebration will also feature a champagne-and-dessert reception on the Walt Disney Studios lot, and the premiere of Archiving the Archives: Forty Years of Preserving the Disney Magic, an all-new film created for this special anniversary, which will be screened in the Studio Theatre. Additionally, D23 Members who attend will receive a special gift created for the occasion.

Only a limited number of tickets, at $50 per person, will be available to this once-in-a-lifetime event, which pays tribute to the past, present and future of The Walt Disney Archives.]
Do not miss today:

- Whatever Happened to Destino? by Wade Sampson
- From the Archives: The CalArts Story (thanks to CartoonBrew for the link)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Walt's People - Volume 9 now available on Amazon

I am glad to say that Walt's People - Volume 9 is now available on Amazon. Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

This just in thanks to Leslie Brooks (who owns the drawing) and Germund von Wowern.

Wade Sampson wrote about the Near Sighted Robin (see my previous post) while I was away but there was no illustration. Here is one!

I am just back from the 2-week vacation and am still catching up on a lot of very urgent things that accumulated while I was away so the blog will be slow until the beggining of next week. For now, let's just catch up on a few good articles that were released during the last two weeks:

- Børge Ring on Jack Kinney by Michael Barrier
- "Mickey Mouse" and D-Day by Michael Barrier
- Waking Sleeping Beauty by Michael Barrier
- Rowland Wilson at Disney - 1 by Michael Sporn
- The Tale of Cinderella's Golden Carrousel by Wade Sampson
- World War II Disney by Wade Sampson
- The Willies by Floyd Norman
- The Art of Toy Story 3: animation historian Charles Solomon tells about his “Favorite Toys” by Jérémie Noyer
- The Princess And The Frog’s Directors John Musker and Ron Clements take us to “the other side” of animation! by Jérémie Noyer