Thursday, September 30, 2010

I love those two photos currently being sold on ebay of Walt receiving an award from Maurice Bessy. As the caption explains: [Maurice Bessy was a French journalist, novelist, historian of the cinema and anewspaper man. He was also the editor of the magazine Cinemonde.]

Do not miss today:

- Still More Walt Words by Jim Korkis

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This is a book I simply can not wait to put my hands on. It should be released on December 13th this year. Can't wait. (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the heads up)

Do not miss today:

- Buy Ward Kimball’s House by Amid Amidi
- Seaman Si - The Funniest "Gob" in the Navy by David Lesjak
- "Project Future" reveals the many sidetrips that Walt took on the road to Disney World by Jim Hill
- Cartoon Shorts by Thomas Haller Buchanan (thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- Mickey Mouse Magazine on Golden Age Comic Books Stories (thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Great news: The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis is now available on Amazon. I would advise all of you to get this book as soon as possible.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

While checking Amazon last week, I had the pleasure of stumbling unto a book whose title sounded very promising. Having interviewed its author, Bowdoin Van Riper, I now have the feeling that Learning from Mickey, Donald and Walt: Essays on Disney's Edutainment Films will be the first book not written by a "Disney historian" that I will actually thoroughly enjoy.

Didier Ghez: Could you tell us a bit more about this book?

Bowdoin Van Riper: The book is a broad, comprehensive look at film and television projects where Disney tried to educate and entertain audiences simultaneously. It has 16 substantive chapters by 14 different authors, each focusing on a different category of edutainment films. It purposely takes a very broad and inclusive view of "edutainment:" one that includes things like the "True-Life Adventures" and the "Man in Space" trilogy, but also WWII propaganda and training films, classroom films, IMAX and Circarama "event" films, and films designed to tell inspiring stories about real historical figures (from Francis Marion in The Swamp Fox through John Wesley Powell in Ten Who Dared to the 1980 US Olympic ice hockey team in Miracle). Collectively, the essays show that these projects served -- during Walt's lifetime -- as a vehicle not only for educating audiences, but for promoting his distinct view of American history, culture, and values.

Many of the articles in the book cover Disney projects that have never received scholarly attention before. Leaning from Mickey, Donald, and Walt includes, for example, the first serious study of the shorts that Disney made for the National Film Board of Canada on the eve of US involvement in WWII, the first careful look at the True-Life Fantasies (Perri, Flash the Teenage Otter, Yellowstone Cubs) as distinct from the True-Life Adventures, the first in-depth analysis of Disney's association with the Army Air Force in WWII, and the first look at Disney's USA in Circarama (made for the Brussels World's Fair and later shown at Disneyland).

The article that, I believe, may excite Disney fans more than any other is Cynthia Miller's study of the "People and Places" series of travel/geography shorts made in the 1950s as a parallel to the "True-Life Adventures" series. Most hardcore Disney fans know of these films, but no book on Disney Studios (that I'm aware of) does more than mention their existence. The article in Learning from Mickey, Donald, and Walt will take readers deep inside the series . . . discussing how Disney, at the height of the 1950s, introduced middle class Americans to "exotic cultures" from Scotland to Samoa and turned the world into a kind of virtual theme park.

I conceived this book, in late 2006, as a "Disney book" written by people who were experts in the relevant subject matter, but not (primarily) Disney specialists. The final line-up of contributors reflects that: Cynthia Miller ("People and Places") is an anthropologist; Ronald Tobias ("True-Life Fantasies") is a natural history filmmaker; Marianne Holdzkom ("Disney and American History") is a historian of the Revolutionary War and Early Republic eras; Bernice Nuhfer-Halten ("Disney's Latin America") is a scholar of Latin American literature and culture; Doug Cunningham ("WWII Training Films") is a US Air Force officer; as for me ("Science and Technology on Disneyland" and "Disney and the Automobile"), I'm a historian of science and technology. The remaining contributors are scholars of film and cultural studies -- a mixture of veterans (Eddy von Mueller, Martin Norden, Sarah Nilsen, and Richard Leskosky, ) and newcomers (Katharina Bonzel, Bella Hoeness Roe, Bob Cruz, Jr.).

DG: Was any original research conducted to write the essays?

BVR: I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "original research," but all of the essays are written from a deep, intimate familiarity with the films being discussed. Cynthia Miller, for example, spent a two-day marathon in the viewing room at the Library of Congress, watching all the "People and Places" films. Doug Cunningham and Sarah Nilsen dug into archival records to trace Disney's involvement with the U. S. government during WWII and the Cold War, and Richard Leskosky's essay on the WWII propaganda shorts includes a tour-de-force analysis and taxonomy of the visual techniques they used. Even well-read Disney fans will, I think, find that Learning from Mickey, Donald, and Walt is a long way from the "same old, same old," and brings a wealth of new information, fresh insights, and forgotten films to the table.

I've attached the table of contents (the lineup remains unchanged, but the titles may have been edited slightly since I sent it to the publisher -- I haven't seen the proofs yet), but there's one last thing I wanted to make sure I said:

Right from the beginning, I knew I wanted this to be a book that would be rigorous and scholarly, but not feel scholarly . . . I wanted serious Disney fans (or film fans) to be able to read it for pleasure, too. I wanted it to have footnotes and bibliographies and serious ideas, but to be written in clear, jargon-free language (and I parted ways with one publisher over that before approaching McFarland). I'm happy to say, I think the book succeeded in that . . . and that anybody interested in Disney would feel welcome in its pages.

[Introduction by A. Bowdoin Van Riper

Section I: War and Propaganda

The Canadian Shorts: Establishing Disney’s Wartime Style by Bella Honess Roe
“Desiring the Disney Technique:” Chronicle of a Contracted Military Training Film by Douglas A. Cunningham
Cartoons Will Win the War: Disney World War II Propaganda Shorts by Richard J. Leskosky
Cartoon Combat: World War II, Alexander de Seversky, and Walt Disney’s Victory Through Air Power by J. D. Thomas

Section II: Science, Technology, Mathematics and Medicine

The Promise of Things to Come: Disneyland and the Wonders of Technology, 1954-58 by A. Bowdoin Van Riper
A Nation on Wheels: Disney’s Films About Cars and Driving, 1948-1970 by A. Bowdoin Van Riper
“A Journey Through the Wonderland of Mathematics: Disney’s Donald in Mathmagic Land by Martin F. Norden
Paging Doctor Disney: Disney’s Health Education Films, 1922-1973 by Bob Cruz, Jr.

Section III: Nature

“Nature is the Dramatist:” Documentary, Entertainment, and the World According to The True-Life Adventures by Eddy von Mueller
Sex, Love, and Death: Disney’s True-Life Fantasies by Ronald Tobias
It Is A Small World After All: Earth and the Disneyfication of Planet Earth by Eddy von Mueller

Section IV: Times, Places, and People

A Past to Make Us Proud: U. S. History According to Disney by Marianne Holdzkom
Reviving the American Dream: Disney’s World of Sports by Katharina Bonzel
Beyond the Ratoncito: Disney’s Idea of Latin America by Bernice Nuhfer-Halten
Locating the Magic Kingdom: Spectacle and Similarity in Disney’s People and Places by Cynthia J. Miller
America’s Salesman: Walt Disney’s USA in Circarama by Sarah Nilsen]
The Disney Books Network was updated this weekend.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I had a chance to conduct a follow-up interview with Joe Hale a few days ago and his wife sent me the following photos of Wilfred Jackson with the following explaination:

[Joe Hale: I worked on Wonderful World of Color for about ten years starting with Wilfred Jackson and Dick Huemer. The episode that I remember the most was the TV version of "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom."

This was my first experience with shooting Walt's lead-ins, and also my first experience in combining Animation with Live Action. Walt was working with Professor Owl. I made a cutout of Professor Owl and used it to show Walt the size of the Owl. It is very important for the actor to make eye contact with the cartoon character.]

As promised, here is an interview with Jim Korkis about his exciting new book: The Vault of Walt.

Didier Ghez: Can you tell us about the genesis of the project?

Jim Korkis: People including you have constantly been asking me to compile some of my articles into a book for a variety of reasons. Whenever I did a presentation or whenever someone read something I had written that they especially liked, the question kept coming up, "When are you going to write a book about Disney?" Since I have an extensive library of Disney books (but not quite as large as yours, Didier), I wanted to make sure that I didn't do "just another Disney book" but produce something that was different from the many wonderful Disney books already out there. It is sort of a Disney history companion.

I was having lunch with Chad Emerson who had recently released his book, Project Future, and he mentioned he was interested in publishing other authors and wondered if I had any ideas for a book. I had a lot of ideas and we settled very quickly on an idea that would cover the primary areas of interest of Disney fans: stories about Walt, stories about the Disney films, stories about the Disney theme parks and then stories that were intriguing but didn't fit comfortably into any of those other three sections. Chad and I worked very closely on all aspects of the book over the last few months from the contents to the design to the marketing.

I will be honest that I thought it would be "found money" since I assumed I would just take some of my previously published articles, do a little light rewriting and then send them off. After all, when I first wrote those columns I spent long hours, often months or years, tracking down and confirming information and finding material that had never been published before anywhere. Since they were historical, how many changes could there possibly be? Well, it turned out that I extensively rewrote every single chapter. In the time since their first publication, I had run across additional information, had access to other interviews, had gotten feedback from readers with corrections and in some cases been contacted directly by people who had some involvement in the topic. If I had just done cut and paste, the book would have been fine and could have come out months ago. However, I felt that if I were committing these untold stories to print, I wanted it to be as complete and accurate as possible. No one else has told these stories before and probably won't again. This was the one chance to get it right for future researchers.

To be honest, it was exciting for me to "re-look" at some of these topics and enlarge on what I had originally written. The sad thing, of course, is that after the final galleys were approved, I ran across a few more gems that could have been sprinkled into the stories. Nothing vital but just interesting that no matter how intensively I did research, something new would pop up to taunt me for not finding it earlier. It is one of the writer's many curses.

DG: What were the most surpising or interesting sources of inforamtion you used to write this book?

JK: I think the most important source, especially in the stories relating directly to Walt himself, was the generosity and support of Diane Disney Miller, Walt's eldest daughter. Diane is an amazing woman. She is sharp minded, strongly opinionated and passionate that Walt's true story gets told. I would say her enthusiasm for my articles and her openly sharing some of her private memories was an amazing blessing. She is very classy and her actions and achievements truly honor the memory of her father and mother. She read the columns, made suggestions, shared some thoughts and gave me a greater perspective of Walt as a son, husband, father and friend. I am still flattered and stunned that she feels I have done a good job trying to capture her dad's personality. Again, I am still flustered with awe when I hear from her and am always grateful that she takes the time to do so.

I have always depended upon rarely seen, out of the ordinary documents (newspaper articles, personal letters, memos, etc.) especially from the time period I am writing about to get as close as I could to the true story. Tracking down these obscure items was like opening an ancient tomb and finding lost treasures whether it was the story treatment for Alice in Wonderland by Aldous Huxley or a news article of why Walt was being sued for the story of the cartoon Mickey"s Polo Team or a forgotten 1933 interview with Walt where he talks about how even he never thought that the Three Little Pigs was going to be anything more than a typical Silly Symphony. There are a lot of misleading if not outright incorrect information out there that keeps getting repeated in other books and articles. It is important to try to go to the primary sources as much as possible. In addition, for over thirty years I have been interviewing Imagineers, animators, people who worked with Walt and more and fortunately, I asked questions that no one else ever asked them. I uncovered some things about Walt Disney that even Diane never knew.

When I do podcasts for Disney expert Lou Mongello (, he always tells his audience that "these are the stories only Jim Korkis knows". That is both flattering and frightening. I don't want to take these stories to the grave with me. I want others to enjoy them. Disney history is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Lots of people have different pieces. I feel if I share my pieces then people get a better idea of the whole picture and maybe it helps make their puzzle piece make greater sense.

DG: What were some of the most astonishing discoveries you made while writing the book?

JK: There are astonishing discoveries on every page. Every page. From the fact that actor Dick Van Dyke would bring a cigarette and a cup of coffee to the chimp he was working with on Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. every morning to Walt's passion for a pulp magazine hero called "The Gray Seal" and that he would physically act out the adventures in his office to the fact that Walt wanted to include "smells" into the Hall of Presidents (one of the examples was the smell of gunpowder during a Civil War battle scene) to what Walt's housekeeper would really do inside his house when he was on vacation with his wife to what Frank Sinatra said to Sammy Davis Jr. after he saw Circarama on Disneyland's Opening Day. One of the few times that Sinatra was absolutely wrong, by the way, but I can understand why he felt that way.

With all the books out there, people think they know all the stories about Walt, about the films, about the attractions but I worked very hard to make sure that while the book is accessible to the casual Disney fan that there is at least one new, unknown fact on every single page for those Disney fans like me who read all the books and subscribe to all the magazines and visit all the unofficial Disney websites. I wanted to know exactly how many miniatures Walt had in his personal collection, why Walt had only one teacher who was his favorite and kept in touch with until her death, what was the full story behind Destino and Song of the South and Captain EO, why Walt selected a seventy year old grandmother to be the first Tinker Bell to fly over Disneyland. It made me smile that such important Disney writers like Leonard Maltin and Michael Barrier were so willing to write a few words of praise about my exploring the nooks and crannies of Disney history.

I tried to balance on that fine line between academic scholarship and general public enjoyment. No scandals, rumors, urban myths or psychological assumptions. Just the truth which is fascinating enough. Believe it or not.

DG: Any plans already to write a sequel?

JK: Without even breathing hard, I have enough stories for two or three more books that could be done in the same format with some stories even better than the great ones that appear in this book. Whether those ever appear will depend upon how well this book is received. In addition, I have material for other Disney related books, especially since there were several chapters cut from the book before publication. If people want a sequel then it is time for them to vote with their wallets and buy the book. Buy another copy as a Christmas gift for a friend. Buy another copy to line the bottom of your birdcage. Spread the word and let others know the book is out there. It is available now at but starting October 3rd it will be available on and for Kindle.
6. Are you working on any other Disney-history-related projects at the moment?

I will continue doing a weekly Disney history Wednesday column for Upcoming columns will include the complete story behind the little Black Centaurette Sunflower in Fantasia including what scenes were cut, who animated her and whether she had a twin sister. I interviewed the person responsible for the animated short featuring the Florida Orange Bird featuring some interesting revelations about the character and another on the lost biographies and lost Marc Davis drawings for the Country Bear Jamboree. Those will be appearing in the next three weeks and are a good example of the type of things I try to document. So maybe there will be enough material for a fourth book by the time more Vaults of Walt appear.

I write several articles every month for the weekly Japanese magazine Disney Dream Files. It is a big color, glossy weekly magazine. It features articles and topics that have never appeared in American Disney magazines. I write columns for Disney magazines like Disney Files (DVC) and Celebrations (Lou Mongello). As I am typing these answers, I am putting together a presentation on the history of the Adventurers Club for Congaloosh ( in October. How many people know that Imagineer Joe Rohde put a shrunken head Mickey Mouse behind the main bar as a "Hidden Mickey" but it was found and removed before the club opened? I do alot of freelance writing and presentations and am currently consulting on several Disney related projects by other people that unfortunately, I am not at liberty to reveal.

Of course, I also do a little work for probably the most outstanding Disney book series ever published, Walt's People. I would like to publicly thank you for your passion and persistence in publishing these important books. You've been an inspiration and a good friend, Didier. You are one of the reasons I decided to finally write a book. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I just received some exciting news coming from my good friend Jim Korkis. His "Wade Sampson" columns (see previous post) have been expanded and collected in book format as The Vault of Walt. The book contains quite a lot of never-released-before material. It is available for sale right now on CreateSpace and will be available on October 3rd on Amazon. I would strongly recommend buying it on CreateSpace as Jim will then receive twice the money he gets through Amazon.

I will release an interview with Jim about the book tomorrow. In the meantime, here is the press release:


The unofficial, unauthorized and uncensored Disney history stories that have never been told will finally be revealed with the release of the new Ayefour book, The Vault of Walt by internationally renowned Disney Historian Jim Korkis.

This unique Disney history companion features a lengthy foreword by Diane Disney Miller, the eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, who praises the writing as “honest, and well written…so authentic, so true to my dad's spirit, so unprejudiced and non-judgmental that as I read it I could see the twinkle in dad's eye, hear his laugh.”

The book is divided into four sections: stories about Walt Disney’s life, stories about the Disney Films, stories of the Disney Theme Parks and finally stories about out of the ordinary Disney History from the Mickey Mouse radio show of the Thirties to why the FBI was upset with Walt and everything else in between. Each section is composed of chapters that are self contained stories featuring anecdotes, quotes and facts that have never before appeared in print.

Jim Korkis is a well known and respected Disney historian who has been researching and writing about Disney history for over thirty years. He interviewed and created long lasting friendships with Disney Imagineers, animators, entertainers and other Disney cast members, always checking the information with obscure documents he located through painstaking time, effort and expense.

“I became deeply concerned that this unique history was disappearing with the deaths of those people who actually knew Walt and who first shared many of these wonderful stories with me,” stated Korkis. “There is something for everyone in the book from the most knowledgeable Disney fan to the casually curious reader.”

Rough drafts of these essays have appeared on websites during the last few years so that Korkis could solicit corrections and additional information before finally committing the stories to print. The result was that every chapter in the book was extensively rewritten to make it as complete and accurate as possible using a multitude of original sources.

“The book is called The Vault of Walt because these are the ‘lost’ stories that have been locked away for decades and forgotten. Now is the time to open that vault and share them with a wider audience because they provide a fascinating perspective on Disney achievements and events,” said Korkis. “In addition, they are an awful lot of fun.”

Over thirty-six chapters covering over four hundred pages offer new insights and new information about the many worlds of Disney. Walt Disney originally wrote the idea for the live action movie, Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. on the back of an air sickness bag. A voice actor named Joe Twerp performed the voice of Mickey Mouse for the episodes of the Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air radio series because Walt was too busy completing Snow White. Singer Frank Sinatra told entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. that Walt had developed a new system of making films that would make all other movies obsolete. Try to find those stories in other books about Disney history.

Although not currently a Disney cast member, Korkis has worked for the Disney Company as a performer (Merlin in the Magic Kingdom), animation instructor (including teaching animation history to interns at Disney Feature Animation Florida), writer (for various Disney magazines and special projects), facilitator (for backstage tours, convention groups and corporate clients) and in many other capacities.

“No one knows more hidden nooks and crannies in the vast history of Disney animation than Jim Korkis. I'm delighted that he's gathered his fact-filled columns in this book,” states Disney Authority Leonard Maltin, author of The Disney Films and host and consultant of Disney Treasures DVDs.

The Vault of Walt is both a valuable supplement to any Disney fan’s personal library and also an entertaining introduction to the many worlds of Walt for anybody who loves great storytelling and behind-the-scenes stories about how some legendary milestones were created.


Who is Jim Korkis?

Jim Korkis is a well respected Disney Historian who has written hundreds of articles and done hundreds of presentations about all things Disney for over three decades. His personal research has received international acclaim for documenting the previously unexplored areas of Disney history. His extensive expertise and knowledge has been used many times by the Disney Company itself for special projects. Jim is not currently a Disney cast member. For a period of time, he also wrote Disney history articles under the pseudonym “Wade Sampson”.

Are these really unofficial, unauthorized and uncensored stories?

Yes, but don’t expect to find scandals, rumors, urban legends and fanciful psychological assumptions in these pages. The history of Disney is so rich that despite all the books that have been written about the subject, many great stories have never been told. Sometimes these stories are missing simply because there was no more space in a book to explore these interesting little tangents. Often, they were missing because the author had no clue that these stories even existed or had no access to the necessary research or people involved to tell the story.

Can you give a few examples?

What did Walt Disney really think about religion and prayer? Why did the FBI keep an extensive file of memorandum about the original Mickey Mouse Club? Was Uncle Remus really banned from attending the movie premiere of Song of the South? Were there dozens of feral cats living in Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? All of these questions and many, many more are answered in the comprehensive research Jim did for this book.

How is this book different from other Disney books?

Each chapter in the book is a self contained story of some different aspect of Disney history so readers can select what they want to enjoy. The book is divided into four sections: Stories about Walt Disney and his life, Behind the scenes stories about the making of Disney animated and live action films, Stories about Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions and events, and finally a collection of Disney stories that are difficult to categorize like Khrushchev being denied a visit Disneyland, tales of the first real Tinker Bells who flew over the Disneyland castle and how Walt’s housekeeper and studio nurse influenced him.

The biggest difference is that many Disney history experts refer to “the Disney stories only Jim Korkis knows” and over three dozen of the best ones are included in this book, the first he has written since 1992.

by Diane Disney Miller, eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney

Some years ago our son Walt brought to my attention an article on the Mouse Planet website. It was that rare thing; an honest, well written piece that was so authentic, so true to my dad's spirit, so unprejudiced and non-judgmental that as I read it I could see the twinkle in dad's eye, hear his laugh.

I immediately wrote the author Wade Sampson a letter of appreciation. Some weeks later I received a reply and learned that Wade Sampson was actually the pseudonym of Jim Korkis, who worked for the Walt Disney World Company as a Coordinator at the Learning Center and was well known and respected as a Disney Historian. Since that time I looked forward eagerly to "Wade’s” ongoing output, learning some things I didn't know, but always delighted with what he chose to write about and his obvious understanding and even affection for his subject.

Jim does not put my father on a pedestal, but he does like him, and I do not think that disqualifies him from having objectivity in his opinion of him. I find myself in the same position. I am so pleased that many of his articles are now bound together in this book. Dad's personality, character and values are displayed in the selections Jim has offered here.

I have not hesitated to correspond with Jim whenever I think of something that might interest him, or to add some insights into something he has written about. Dad did not hide anything about his life. He loved to talk about it. But he never really talked about religion, and his feelings about prayer, and I learned from Jim's article how deeply these feelings went.

I look forward to his continued exploration of dad's life and times. Something interesting and illuminating always seems to turn up, some little event and angle that adds to the story of his very good life.

Diane Disney Miller
July 2010
Diane is the eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney and a noted philanthropist. Among many other achievements, she was instrumental in the creation of The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco that opened in 2009.


“Jim’s vast knowledge of Disney has constantly amazed me and he understands how the Disney Studio, Theme Parks, and Disneyana all tie together. Jim is an excellent Disney Heritage writer and speaker, and it’s about time he put together this collection of stories he has gathered over the years.”--Disney Legend (2005) Tom Nabbe who was Disneyland’s original “Tom Sawyer”

“Jim’s story telling has always mesmerized me. Now, some of his Disney tidbits are in a book! Let me put it this way. Chatting with Jim is a delicious nine course meal. Hours with his book will be a mouthwatering feast.”—Author and actress Margaret Kerry, original reference model for “Tinker Bell” in Disney’s Peter Pan

“No one knows more hidden nooks and crannies in the vast history of Disney animation than Jim Korkis. I'm delighted that he's gathered his fact-filled columns in this book.” --Disney Authority Leonard Maltin, author of The Disney Films and host and consultant of Disney Treasures DVDs.

“Disney history is full of unexplored byways, and no one has done a better job of mapping many of them than Jim Korkis. Even the most knowledgeable Disney buffs will be surprised and delighted by what they find in his book.” –Disney history expert Michael Barrier, author of The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney

“Disney stories are insightful as well as fun, and no one tells them better than Jim Korkis. Jim truly loves his material, and so will you. I heartily recommend his new book and I guarantee you’ll love every page.”--Artist and writer Floyd Norman, whose career at Disney spanned from Walt’s era through Eisner’s reign.


Part One: The Walt Stories

The Miniature Worlds of Walt (Walt’s fascination with making miniatures)
Santa Walt (Walt’s feelings about Christmas and a special family gift)
Horsing Around: Walt and Polo
Walt’s School Daze (Walt’s public school education)
Gospel According to Walt (Walt’s feelings about religion)
Walt and DeMolay
Extra! Extra! Read All About It! (Walt’s adventures as a newspaper boy)
Walt’s Return to Marceline 1956
Walt’s 30th Wedding Anniversary (The very first Disneyland party)

Part Two: The Disney Film Stories

Disney’s Ham Actors: The Three Little Pigs (Including the Rarely Seen Spanish cartoon)
Snow White Christmas Premiere (Description of the event at the Carthay Circle in 1937)
Destino (The true story behind Salvador Dali’s collaboration with Walt Disney)
Song of the South Premiere (Description of the event in Atlanta in 1946)
The Alice in Wonderland That Never Was (The Aldous Huxley script never filmed)
Secret Origin of The Aristocats
So Dear To My Heart (The neglected film that inspired many Disney firsts)
Toby Tyler (How Walt recreated the circus of his youth with authentic props)
Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. (Only film with a story credit for Walt Disney)
Blackbeard’s Ghost (Last live action film made while Walt was alive)

Part Three: The Disney Park Stories

Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel (The complete history of a genuine antique)
Circarama 1955 (The very first 360 degree theater show at Disneyland)
Story of Storybook Land
Liberty Street 1959 (Walt’s planned addition to Disneyland that never was)
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk Through
Zorro at Disneyland (How Guy Williams and friends entertained in Frontierland)
Tom Sawyer Island
Epcot Fountain (The true meaning behind the popular landmark)
Captain EO (The only complete story in print about Michael Jackson’s 3-D film)
Mickey Mouse Revue (How and why the beloved attraction was created)

Part Four: The Other Worlds of Disney Stories

Khrushchev and Disneyland (Russian leader denied entrance to Disneyland)
A/K/A The Gray Seal (Walt’s favorite pulp mystery hero)
Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air (The unknown radio show from the Thirties)
Golden Oak Ranch (Location where Disney classic live action films were made)
Disney Goes To Macy’s
Tinker Bell Tales (The first Disneyland Tinker Bells and much more)
Mickey Mouse Club: FBI’s Most Wanted (Why Walt got in trouble with J. Edgar Hoover)
Chuck Jones: Four Months at Disney (Pepe Le Pew’s father’s troubles at Disney)
Walt’s Women: Two Forgotten Influences (Walt’s Housekeeper and Studio nurse)]
Do not miss today:

- Wade Sampson's Last Column by Wade Sampson
Both Gunnar Andreassen and Mark Mayerson recognized the first caricature below as being Homer Brightman. Thanks to both.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This just in from Howard Lowery:

[I'm writing to inquire if you might recognize the fellows caricatured of two drawings by Bruce Bushman. The drawings are on Management Bond animation sheets with the peg holes trimmed away. It seems to me they were likely drawn at Disney in the 1940s. ]

Any idea? (I have a feeling that I should recognize the man, but can't remember from where).

Howard will be auctionning those drawings in the near future.

Do not miss today:

- MoMA Presents John Canemaker's Two Guys Named Joe 10/1-2
- Roger Rabbit CG test by Jerry Beck

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This just in from Jennie Hendrickson who is currently transcribing an interview of Roger Broggie conducted by Dave Smith for a futrure volume of Walt's People:

[I checked the spelling of the McDermott Collection (spelled differently) in Los Gatos, CA, that Broggie mentioned. This was a collection of trains owned by Casey Jones that Walt Disney went to see with Broggie and considered buying. When I looked this up on the internet, this book and these photos showed up, (from the Jones Collection).]

Do not miss today:

- The Black Cauldron: Producer Joe Hale talks munchings and crunchings… by Jeremie Noyer
- The Pirates of the Caribbean by Paul F. Anderson
- Bonus Sunday on Vintage Disneyland Tickets
- Who was Herbert Iwerks? by Amid Amidi
- The Disneylandia Story Part Two by Wade Sampson
- "Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed" pays tribute to Disney Legend Frank Wells by Jim Hill
- Horvath - 2 by Michael Sporn
- Horvath - 1 by Michael Sporn

Monday, September 13, 2010

I will be in Rome for the rest of the week for work. The blog will be updated again next Monday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Someone on ebay is currently selling an astounding series of 70 original drawings by Jack Kinney, some of which were originally created for his book Walt Disney and other assorted characters. (Thanks to Vincent Potuto for reminding me of this)

Do not miss today:

- Cauldron of Chaos, PART 3 by Michael Peraza
- Tons of Disney Legends in One Photo by Amid Amidi
- WALT DISNEY THOUGHT FOR THE DAY--Compassionate Walt by Paul F. Anderson (and Jim Macdonald)
- WALT'S WORDS: FANTASIA Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 by Paul F. Anderson

Friday, September 10, 2010

And Hake's new auction is now open.
Photostats of the complete storyboard of the never-released short Morgan's Ghost are being sold on ebay at the moment. The starting price is slightly outrageous, though.
- Early Walt by Mark Sonntag

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I was interviewing with Wing Chao yesterday and during the course of our conversation he mentioned this upcoming book. He had just received an advanced copy and loved it. I will probably pick it up.

By the way, things are hectic at the moment and I have not been able to focus on organizing some Disney history related material that I would like to post on the blog. I will try and focus on it this weekend.

Do not miss today:

- Cauldron of Chaos, PART 2 by Michael Peraza

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Here is a review of two new books that have just been on the Ft. Wilderness Railroad at the Ft. Wilderness resort at Walt Disney World and another one that is a photo gallery of the railroad. Upcoming volumes will focus on other WDW railroads.]
Do not miss today:

- The Disneylandia Story Part One by Wade Samspon

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When Albert Camus worked for Disney We all know that Dali and Aldous Huxley each worked for Disney, but did you realize that quite a few of the most famous French writers of the '50s also worked for the Company, including Albert Camus himself?

This strange event took place in 1954, thanks to the head of the Disney Company for Europe at the time, Armand Bigle. Bigle had been part of the French Resistance and his network of contacts included the top politicians, artists and writers. When he decided to launch a series of prestigious books about the True-Life Adventures, he knew that he had to start with a bang. He therefore asked all of the top French writers from the '50s to contribute to the first volume in the series, Désert Vivant (Living Desert).

The book (not to be confused with a smaller volume released in France a year later) contains texts by Albert Camus, Marcel Aymé, François Mauriac, André Maurois, and Henri de Montherlant! The equivalent in a US context would be a Disney book containing texts especially written for the occasion by Steinbeck, Dos Passos, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

Bigle later on also got the author of The Planet of the Apes and The Bridge of the River Kwai, Pierre Boulle, to write a book about Le Siam (Thailand) for the People and Places series.
Do not miss today:

- Cauldron of Chaos, PART 1 by Michael Peraza

Monday, September 06, 2010

If you own Another Rainbow's 1988 book Mickey Mouse in Color, you already know about the famous party organized that year by Another Rainbow at Malcolm Willits' home in Pasadena, which was attended by Carl Barks, Floyd Gottfredson and their wives.

Malcolm was kind enough to send me a few never-seen-before photos from the event that I thought you would enjoy.

Malcolm says that the car is his 1938 V-16 Cadillac limousine.

S/R Labs' new auction catalog is now available for order.

Do not miss today:

- Happy Birthday Marge Champion and Willis Pyle by John Canemaker
- Marge Champion in Life Magazine by Amid Amidi
- Pixar’s Newt on Facebook by Jerry Beck
- Lou Mongello's podcast where Jim Korkis talks about being Merlin at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
- Disney Legend Bob Gurr: Filling in the Gaps by Wade Sampson
- Topolino Elah e altre rarità (in Italian) by MacTheSailor