Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Disney Books Network has been updated.
Monday is a holiday in Spain. The blog will be updated again on Tuesday. Happy Halloween to you all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If Sebastien Roffat did his homework well, this upcoming book in French about animated propaganda could be very good.

Do not miss today:

- Happy 100th, Tyrus Wong! by Amid Amidi
- Woodland Cafe - 2 by Michael Sporn

Finally! University Press of Mississippi has just released official information on Amazon about the two books of 2011 I am most looking forward to getting:

- Working with Disney: Interviews with Animators, Producers, and Artists by Don Peri

- Walt before Mickey: Disney's Early Years, 1919-1928 by Tim Susanin

If you enjoyed Don Peri's first collection of interviews, Working with Walt, and if you like Walt's People, this book will definitely be a "must-have".

As to Tim Susanin's book, I read the manuscript a few months ago and am able to confirm that it is one of the best Disney history books of the last decade. Not to be missed in any way, shape or form!

I must admit that I am looking forward to Tron:Legacy. A bit of nostalgia on my part even though I never really loved the original movie. So I am excited by the upcoming issue of Twenty-Three (but then again I usually always am). I also look forward to the other elements it will contain, like the announced article which is the result of newly discovered footage that chronicles Walt's last time in front of the camera in Sound Stage 1.
Do not miss today:

- Design & History of the Disneyland Hotel California: 1955 - 1965 by Don Ballard
- The Approved Narrative by Michael Barrier

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[As Didier so often points out, books that may not seem directly related to Disney history sometime reveal an interesting piece of the Disney history puzzle. Darrell Van Citters has written an excellent book entitled "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: the Making of the First Animated Christmas Special". The first edition immediately sold out last year and just in time for the holidays is a smaller printing second edition.

Among the Disney revelations is that Walt himself encouraged Producer Lee Orgel's idea to do the animated special and then called him on the night of the premiere in 1962 to rave about the results. How did Walt know Orgel? Another revelation in the book is that when Walt needed silent movies to run in the Main Street Cinema at Disneyland when it opened, he contacted Orgel who was working at Sterling Television and selling cartoons and silent films to independent tv stations to provide them.

Of course, other Disney related personnel worked on the Magoo special from voice artists like Paul Frees (Ludwig von Drake, Ghost Host) and Royal Dano (the voice of Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland) to former Disney artists like Tony Rivera, Dick Ung, Gerry Geronimi (who doesn't receive credit in the film but apparently directed the song "Alone in the World"--another new fact I learned in the book) and more.]
Do not miss today:

- Whatever Happened to Little Sunflower? by Jim Korkis
- Goofy and Babbitt by Michael Sporn

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For those of you living in L.A., this just in through Julie Svendsen.
One of the books I discovered (thanks to Michael Barrier once again) while researching my essay about Perce Pearce is the autobiography of actor Richard Todd, which contains quite a few pages about his work for Disney. I thought you might be interested to know that it exists.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I stumbled this weekend upon a treasure trove: UCLA has started posting on their site the whole transcripts of the Oral Histories that they conducted several decades ago. Two interviews are directly linked to Disney: Jules Engel and Dick Huemer (although the sections of the Dick Huemer interview related to Disney were already released in Walt's People - Volume 3). Enjoy.
Do not miss today:

- Oskar Fischinger at Disney by Michael Sporn (and William Moritz)
- Woodland Cafe - 1 by Michael Sporn
- The Disney Halloween special you never got to see, Tim Burton's "Trick or Treat" by Jim Hill

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[I am just finishing an article for my Wednesday MousePlanet column that will cover some of the background of the poltiical animated commercial the Disney Studio made for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. The "I Like Ike" spot (officially titled "We'll Take Ike (to Washington") is pretty fascinating. It is the only political commercial the Disney Studio made and "Ike" was the first candidate to use television advertising.

As I was finishing up the article I came across the fact that the person who approached the Disney Studios to do the job was Jacqueline Cochran (a cosmetics executive and well known woman aviator who had severa aviationl awards). Even more amazing is that she corresponded with the Disney Studio. I found two letters (through various sources) including one from Producer Bill Anderson and another that was an excerpt from a letter by Roy O. Disney.

In his letter, Roy also included a list of the Disney employees who contributed their time and efforts to the cartoon. That list and other related correspondence is in the Jacqueline Cochran Papers, Eisenhower Campaign Series, Box 2, in the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas patiently awaiting some other researcher to journey there and reveal its contents.]

I hope someone can help. There are quite a few treasures that can still be uncovered in archives, when one knows where to look. For example, I would love to know that one of you will soon be visiting at some point in the future the library of Bigham Young University in Provo, Utah since its seems to contain important papers by and about Disney artist "Wetzel O. Whitaker" (Judge Witaker). It looks as if Judge Whitaker wrote two books:

Looking Back: An Autobiography (which I suspect is an Oral History more than an autobiography as such) and Pioneering with Film.

I have the feeling that copies of those books only exist in manuscript form at BYU (

I would interested in at least getting answers to two questions:

1. Does the manuscript of Looking Back really exist and does it contain anything about Whitaker's career at Disney (if so how I would love to get copies)

2. Does the manuscript of Pioneering with Film contain any reference to a possible involvment on the Disney Studio in the '60s on the making of the movie Man's Search for Happiness for the New York World's Fair (this was discussed on the blog a while back)?

The Otto Englander mysteryAs mentioned, I am working at the moment on an essay about Disney artist Perce Pearce. This is proving to be a fascinating process as it allowed me to stumble upon sources that I had no idea existed (which I mentioned on the blog as soon as I discovered them). I had a similar experience while working on an essay about Joe Fowler and Carl Bongirno for an upcoming book edited by Chad Emerson.

There are many other key Disney artists and executives that would deserve to be much better known than they are.

Since once has to start somewhere, I have decided to try and explore the life of storyman Otto Englander. The issue (and opportunity) is that one finds quite a bit of information about Otto's career during the Golden Age: his role on Snow White, Pinocchio and Dumbo is relatively well know. But he then seems to fade out and reappears in the oddest places: an abandoned animated-feature about Sherlock Holmes in the '40s, a TV special in the '60s, The Aristocats later on.

Could anyone help me piece together this mystery? Where should I start?

I am not a gamer, but I admit that I am excited by the Epic Mickey project. I therefore liked to learn that an Art of Epic Mickey book is currently in the works for release in the Summer of 2011.
Interesting drawing of Destino by Dali currently being sold by Sotheby's. (Thanks to Emmanuel Bourmalo for the link)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis: [Just because I wrote about Walt Disney's love of miniatures in The Vault of Walt doesn't mean I stopped researching that topic (or any of the other topics I included in the book). Here is something I just ran across. It is an article from the February 1953 issue of Popular Science magazine and yes, that is Kathryn "Alice in Wonderland" Beaumont sticking her head into the Granny Kincaid Cabin that Walt personally built for his Disneylandia project. The cabin was exhibited at the Festival of California Living at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles from November 28 to December 7, 1952. A press release announced that it represented the beginning of Walt’s new miniature Americana exhibit, entitled “Disneylandia.” I suspect since this article appeared roughly two months later that these photos are publicity shots from that exhibition.]

Do not miss today:

- The Frito Kid Rides Again by Jim Korkis
- Ads That Sold Cartoons --- Part One by John McElwee (Thanks to CartoonBrew for the link)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am still in the process of interviewing True-Life Adventures director Jack Couffer and am stumbling day after day on little gold nuggets of information. Here is Jack Couffer's answer about Lloyd Beebe, that led yesterday to my discovery of a Disney-related book that I did not know existed.

[I valued Lloyd as my friend and right hand and arm on three pictures. “Nikki”, “Lobo”, and “Incredible Journey”, and he helped me with his tame grizzly bear on a non-Disney flick. Lloyd not only shot beside me, he also did a great job (before we had real trainers) at figuring out ways to get our animals to do some of the things that people are frequently asking about. “How do you get them to do those things?” is perhaps the most common question I hear. Lloyd often had the answer.

We shot much of “Incredible Journey” on his property in Sequim, Washington. It’s a varied landscape including a stream, pond, wooded hill, and green fields. It was an altogether wonderful time and place with a great team—one of the best production experiences of my career.

He wrote a book: “Wilderness Trails and a Dream”.]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The new S/R Labs auction catalog is now online. Frankly it is one of the best of Ron Stark's auctions from a concept art point of view, with a tremendous selection of sketches from never released version of the Mickey and the Beanstalk story, art by Ken Anderson for The Aristocats,...
For those of you who live in Florida, Jim Korkis will be the guest speaker at the Disneyana/NFFC meeting in Orlando speaking about his new book and some stories left out from the book because of space. He will also be signing books.

Saturday, October 23 at the Thai Thani Restaurant in Celebration, Florida at 7:00 pm EST. It is open to anyone, although non Disneyana/NFFC members will have to pay $6.00 for admission.

LOCATION: Thai Thani restaurant in Celebration
600 Market Street, Suite 110
Celebration, FL, 34757

Doors open at 5:00 PM
Registration starts at 6:00PM
Meeting starts PROMPTLY at 6:45 PM
Do not miss today:

- Original Swiss Family Robinson Tree FOUND!!! by Kevin Kidney (Thanks to Mark Mayerson for the link)
- You Did Not Expect To See This Today. by Michael Crawford
- Early Homes and Studios of Walt Disney by Robby Cress (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)
- "Being part of something bigger" : what we can learn from Walt Disney (Interview with Jim Korkis)
- Walt Disney, Wernher von Braun, and the Space Program by Alain Littaye

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lost Laugh-O-Grams found!
One of the greatest Disney-history discovery of the last 10 years (made by David Gerstein and Cole Johnson) is finally official. You can read about it here and here.
The second book that Michael Barrier recommended a few weeks ago when I was researching the career of Perce Pearce was Byron Haskin by Joe Adamson.

If you are interested in the making of Treasure Island or in the history of the Golden Age of Hollywood this is a book well worth reading, although it contains only about 20 pages focusing on Disney.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I just discovered this book from 1976 on ebay, but have not received it yet. I am not sure what it is worth. It is the autobiography of the circus showman, Jimmy Chipperfield, who worked on training wildlife for several Disney live-action movies, including The Moon Spinners, In Search of the Castaways, and The Three Lives of Thomasina, so we might discover a few good stories related to Disney.
Do not miss today:

- Beauty And The Beast: Glen Keane on discovering the beauty in The Beast by Jeremie Noyer
- More Orange Thoughts of an Orange Bird by Jim Korkis
- Disney’s ‘Epic Mickey’ Panel (Thanks to Jim Korkis for the link)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Could this photo have been taken the same day as the double photo that you posted on 24th of feb. 2009 – and possibly the famous photo of Walt standing with the shadow of Mickey ? Could the photographer have been Clarence Sinclair Bull ?]

My feeling is that it was and the photograph is indeed Clarence Sinclair Bull.

This just in from Leonard Maltin (through Jerry Beck and Jim Korkis) about the photos of Francis Gifford that I posted a few days ago:

[The guy at left in front of the storyboard is an artist who later became an actor and changed his name to John Forkum to Dehner—one of my favorite radio & tv character actors of the '50s and '60s.]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tomorrow is a holiday in Spain. The blog will be updated again on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I had the pleasure to interview Jack Lindquist by email about his upcoming book In Service to the Mouse.

Didier Ghez: When and how did you decide to write your memoirs?

Jack Lindquist: I had been urged by many people since my retirement in 1993. I started taping some thoughts in 2000 then had a stroke in 2001 and the project was put on hold. In 2005 the Dean of Creative Arts at Chapman University told me I should write a book about the experiences I was telling him about. I told Dr. Jim Doti, President of Chapman University about the meeting and he agreed that there was a book there. I went back to the same guy, and asked him if he knew anybody that could help me write the book. He said yes, and referred merto a young Chapman alum and creative writer who was also a teacher at the Orange County High School of the Performing Arts as well as at Chapman. Her name was Melinda (Mini) J.
Combs. We met, had lunch, talked about my wanting to write a book about my 38 years at Disneyland. I told her I had a title in mind, "In Service To The Mouse". She agreed to take on the project; and a mere 5 years later, the rest, as they say, is literary history.

DG: How did you work with co-author Melinda Combs on this project (Did you detail your life and career through a long series of taped interviews? Did you send Melinda written material about your life and career...?)

JL: The first year was 1 to 3 hours a week taping. The second year was still primarily taping, but we both started putting things on paper. The third year Mindi began organizing the material in book form. Chapters, etc. The fourth year we basically wrapped up the book. Mindi would ask me to expand or clarify certain things. The fifth year has been getting the book published. Agents,publishers, rejections, etc. Then fortunately, through Chapman, we met Mary Platt who put us in touch with Kris Elftmann of Noelle Marketing Group. This association led to Chapman University Press and Neverland Media, LLC publishing "In Service To The Mouse".

DG: What are some of the most suprising stories that readers will discover in the book?

JL: The meetings and events involving some very famous people such as Bobby Kennedy, the Shah & Shahbeneau of Iran, Imelda Marcos of the Phillipines, and Gene Autry. The formation of the Magic Kingdom Club, Grad Nights, and DateNites, among others. Advance Ticketing Concepts, GiftGiver Extrordinaire, Cornfield Mickey, Disney Dollars. Working 38 years with the top management at Disney including Walt, Roy Disney Sr., Card Walker, Donn Tatum,
Ron Miller, Ray Watson, Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, Roy Disney, Jr.

DG: Do you cover your whole career at Disney in this book or do you only focus on some specific parts of that career? (For example do you discuss your role on Disney projects that were not Disneyland, like EPCOT?)

JL: My whole Disney career. From pre-Opening of Disneyland, to Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center (World Showcase & Future World), Tokyo Disneyland, Paris Disneyland.

DG: Is the book illustrated or is it pure text?

JL: Pure text.

DG: Do you know any of your former colleagues that would also be working on writting their memoirs at the moment?

JL: I understand that Marty Sklar, retired Vice-Chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, is planning a book on his 45 year involement with the Walt Disney Co. Melinda Combs and I are beginning work on our second publication, "Before the Mouse".

Do not miss today:

- Lost Disneylandia by Michael Crawford

Friday, October 08, 2010

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[A seller on eBay has a great many publicity photos of actress Frances Gifford visiting the Disney Studios in 1941 when she appeared in the live action portion of the THE RELUCTANT DRAGON. I thought this photo (the 5th one in this post) was interesting for profiles of some early Disney employees (isn't that T. Hee in the middle?) but when I enlarged it for a better look, I saw that Gifford was pointing at a storyboard for PETER PAN....obviously a very early version. THE RELUCTANT DRAGON does include a Captain Hook maquette shown as well.]

Do not miss today:

- Inside the Walt Disney Family Museum by John Canemaker
- Deep Disney by Seth Kubersky
- Jim Korkis talks to Lou Mongello

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I am frankly not sure what this book is worth but I thought most of you would like to know that it exists (thanks to Jim Korkis for the heads up).

Do not miss today:

- Toon Thursday: How Disney's "Mickey and the Beanstalk" went from being a full length film to an animated featurette by Jim Hill
- The Lost Biographies of the Country Bears by Jim Korkis
- The Book Nook by Michael Barrier
- PHOTOS OF WALT by Paul F. Anderson

Friday, October 01, 2010

I will be in Cannes from Monday to Wednesday next week. The blog will be updated again next Thursday.
I am currently working on an essay about Disney sequence director, storyman and producer Perce Pearce and thanks to Michael Barrier just realized that I had forgotten to tap into a key source, director Ken Annakin's autobiography, So You Wanna Be a Director?

In fact, I also realized that I did not own this book yet and had not mentioned it anywhere. Since Annakin directed at least 4 of the early Disney live action movies (and I am probably forgetting some of them), I have just rectified both mistakes today by mentioning the book here and by ordering it.