Friday, March 23, 2012

I will be traveling to Brazil for business reasons until the end of the month. (Celbi, Fernando: no time to meet you this time around, unfortunately) The blog will be updated again on April 2.

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[ A cool Donald Duck (in-house) drawing by Fred Spencer. This was sold by Van Eaton Galleries recently.]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Among various Kamen-related papers uncovered recently was this fascinating letterhead from the English Mickey Mouse Ltd. (May 1937). What makes this document particularly interesting for me is that along with George Kamen (Kay's nephew) who is listed as Managing Director, we also learn the name of another officer, Thomas Swan, and confirm that William B. Levy was still an acting director of the company at the time. The address of the UK office is also confirmed on this document. Many elements which help connect some of the dots. More on this at a later date.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This just in from Are Myklebust:

[I did set up a list over some of the famous people Walt Disney met through his lifetime lately.
Thought it might have some interest for you.
Please be free to publish it on your "Disney History" blog.

Walt Disney met a lot of world famous people through his lifetime.
Here’s a list of some of the names (in alphabetical order):

Louis Armstrong (1900 – 1971), American jazz musician.
George Balanchine (1904 – 1983), Russian/ American choreographer.
Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945), American author and humorist.
Ingmar Bergman (1918 – 2007), Swedish film director.
Ray Bradbury (1920 - ), American science fiction author.
Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 1977), British actor and film director (active in U.S.).
Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), British RAF pilot and later author.
Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989), Spanish artist (surrealist painter).
Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969), U.S. president.
Sergei Eisenstein (1890 – 1948), Russian film director.
Kirsten Flagstad (1895 – 1962), Norwegian singer.
Henry Ford (1863 – 1947), American industrialist (founder Ford Motor Company).
Amadeo Pietro Giannini (1870 – 1949), American banker (founder Bank of America).
Billy Graham (1918 - ), American evangelist.
Edwin Hubble (1889 – 1953), American astronomer.
Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963), British author.
Julian Huxley (1887 – 1975), British biologist, author and humanist (and brother of Aldous).
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973), U.S. president.
Ray Kroc (1902 – 1984), American businessman (McDonalds).
Louis Lumiere (1864 – 1948), French film pioneer.
Thomas Mann (1875 – 1955). German author (Nobel Prize winner).
Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994), U.S. vice president and later U.S. president.
Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004), American actor, later U.S. President.
Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978), American painter and illustrator.
Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971), Russian composer (active in France and U.S.).
Leopold Stokowski (1882 – 1977), British-American conductor.
Deems Taylor (1885 – 1966), American music critic.
Shirley Temple (Black) (1928 - ), American child actor (and later diplomat).
Wernher von Braun (1912 – 1977), German aerospace engineer (in U.S.).
Sir Herbert Wilkins (1888 – 1958), Australian aviator and Arctic explorer.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959), American architect.

+ many famous entertainment personalities, Hollywood celebrities
and film makers in Britain and U.S.]

The above photo shows Walt with Robert Moses and Henry Ford Jr.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can you believe that I am still uncovering more obscure autobiographies of cinematographers from Disney's nature movies? Here is the latest one to date!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Are you all looking forward to the long awaited book by JB Kaufman about Snow White? Then I have not one but two good news. The book is ready and will be released in October. But there is not just one book, but two. The in-depth study of the making of Snow White and a catalog of a major exhibition which will take place at the Disney Family Museum. Both volumes are written by JB. They are now available for pre-order on Amazon (thanks to David Peake for the heads up):

- The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Art and Creation of Walt Disney's Classic Animated Movie
This just in from a reader of the blog:

[I am mainly writing about Charles Tranberg's book on the Disney Studio. While it is very interesting and informative (I am halfway through reading it) it is full of errors - factual and editorial.

For example, he calls Oswald, the lucky Rabbit - Osgood - using the name several times - this leaves me rather suspect.

He cites Walt as being the last of Flora and Elias's children, when in fact Ruth was the fifth and last child.

The book is poorly edited, quoting large passages that are not inset into the text, and repeating lines in the text several times.]

Very disturbing! Note that I (Didier Ghez) have not read the book yet.
Do not miss today:

- Renie Bardeau: The Man Who Shot Walt Disney by Jim Korkis
- Action Analysis - May 10, 1937 by Michael Sporn
- Interview of the Sherman Brothers by Bill DeMain
- DLP Twenty on Designing Disney

Friday, March 16, 2012

In my review of the book African Cats: The Story Behind the Film a few months ago, I wrote:

[As you probably noticed, I have become fascinated by the True-Life Adventures over the past few months and African Cats seems to be a worthy successor to that classic series (I have not yet seen the movie but I am now looking forward to it thanks to this beautiful book).

Which is probably why I started reading this book the moment I got it and loved every bit of it. The text is well-written. It is beautifully illustrated. It feels like a very long issue of National Geographic. My only reservation is the fact that it does not feature any image about the making of the movie. In other words no photos of men and women actually shooting it. And no words about pre-production work.]

All of this holds true for the beautiful Chimpanzee: The Making of the Film. But the editors had the good idea of solving the only mistake of the previous volume by including several images of the making of the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it is obviously not a "must have" for Disney historians.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I have just received a review copy of Dave Smith's upcoming new book, Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered.

I had always wanted to see all of Dave's columns from the Disney Channel Magazine, Disney Magazine and Disney Insider. Thanks to this book it is now the case, the best news being that the few typos typos and mistakes which had cropped up from time to time (rarely) in those columns have been corrected in the book. Despite its slightly haphazard nature, this is clearly an excellent reference book and a "must have".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I stumbled last week upon three "books" which are only available in Kindle form. Did anyone read them? What are they worth?

- Little Shop on Main Street by Dave Mason
- The Merchants of Main Street by Dave Mason
- In the Shadow of the Matterhorn by David Smith

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The manuscript of Walt's People - Volume 12 is now complete and has been sent to the contributors for a final review. I am hoping to get it released at some point in June this year.

Here is the table of contents:

Foreword: Paul F. Anderson
Dave Smith: Alice Disney Allen
Dave Smith: Jack Kloepper
Jim Korkis: Betsy Goodspeed about her father Gordon "Felix" Mills' work on the radio show Mickey Mouse Theater Of The Air
John Culhane: Les Clark
John Culhane: Al Eugster
Didier Ghez: Piercing the Perce Pearce Mystery
Alan Coats: Evelyn Coats
Alan Coats: Marge Hudson and Evelyn Coats
Paul F. Anderson: Mel Shaw
EMC West: Mel Shaw
Didier Ghez: Theo Halladay
David Tietyen: Sammy Fain
Edle Bakke: My Family Disney Dynasty
Didier Ghez: Olive Bosché
Dave Smith: Bill Bosché
Steve Hulett: Charlie Downs
Amid Amidi: John Dunn
Alberto Becattini: Del Connell
Wayne DeWald: Paul Murry
Donald Ault: Paul Murry
George Sherman: Paul Murry
Walt Disney: The Lurking Camera
James Algar: Film Music and Its Use in Beaver Valley
Tom McHugh: Animals Are Like Other People
Didier Ghez: Warren Garst
Didier Ghez: Jack Couffer
Didier Ghez and Jim Korkis: Lloyd Beebe
Brian Shoemaker: Lloyd Beebe
Didier Ghez: Milt Albright
Michael Mallory: Milt Albright
Lou Mongello: Ralph Kent
John Culhane: Larry Clemmons
Michael Barrier: Milt Kahl
Charles Solomon: John Pomeroy
NFFC: Leota Toombs Thomas
Didier Ghez: Kim Irvine
Didier Ghez: Burny Mattinson

Monday, March 12, 2012

I will contact Doreen Tracey this week. She apparently wrote her autobiography in the '90s, called Confessions of a Mouseketeer (an excerpt of which was released in the book I Though My Father Was God. I would love to find out what happened to the complete memoir! More soon, hopefully.
Joseph Cowles' long-awaited book about Barks has just been released.

Do not miss today:

- Hal Horne's Gag File And the Birth of the Disney Comic Book By Michael Barrier
- TPE: Let's Go To The Circus! on Daveland
- Zorro Days at Disneyland (video) by Todd James Pierce
- Don Markstein (1947-2012) by Jerry Beck
- “Walt” by Pascal Witaszek by Jerry Beck
- Everybody Wanted to Sue Disney in 1940 by Amid Amidi
- More Secrets of Rocketeer by Jim Korkis
- Moebius Art an Inspiration for “TRON”
- Jerome Courtland, 85, was “Pete’s Dragon” producer

Friday, March 09, 2012

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[If you are not aware of it already: An item for sale at Heritage now, that might interest you: A Roy Disney Signed Contract Regarding Merchandising, 1932 with Kay Kamen, three of totally 12 pages are found in the description.]

This is an incredibly important piece of Disneyana / Disney history: The first contract signed between Disney and Kamen. This also means that the date of the signature of the contract mentioned in my article in the magazine Twenty-Three (July 1, 1932) is off by two days, since the contract is actually dated June 29, 1932.

D23 Presents Armchair Archivist: Weird Disney

D23 Presents: Armchair Archivist - A Look at Walt's Planes!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I just heard that Ron Schneider, who was Walt Disney World’s original stroll-around Dreamfinder and Figment character, as well as the voice of Dreamfinder for parts of the Journey Into Imagination attraction, just completed his memoir. I have the feeling that it will be released either this year or next.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I just picked up this 2008 book in Italian which I had never heard about and loved it. I thought some of you might to know that it exists. It is a collection of drawings paying homage to Italian Disney comics script writer Carlo Chendi.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I have acquired this postcard on ebay recently. In the English newspaper The Western Times from May 28, 1948 we find the following story.

This very sad news just in from Samantha Henriksen:

[According to his son, Robert Sherman has just died at him home in London. Walt truly knew what he was doing when he signed Richard and Robert and their songs will continue to delight generations to come. Let's all go feed the birds.]

Do any one of you know when his autobiography, Moose, will be released?

Monday, March 05, 2012

As promised here is a small selection of photos from our trip to Burma (Myanmar). My wife took close to 3000 photos, so this is just a sampling to give you a taste of what we saw.

The above picture was taken within the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon.

The two photos below are from a night market in the same city of Yangon.

Below: The Mahamuni pagoda in Mandalay. Men stick gold leaves on the Buddha.
And I forget to notice a few colorful visitors.
But fortunately manage to pay attention when a procession enters the pagoda a few minutes later.

Carving Buddhas in Mandalay.
Below: The Shwe Nandaw monastery, made entirely of carved wood.

Use of the thanakha to protect from the sun and preserve the skin.
Kuthodaw pagoda, close to Mandalay.

Lunch of the monks in a monastery close to Mandalay.
Apparently one can eat those flowers, when cooked in a soup.

The U Bein bridge in Amarapura, close to Mandalay.

View from the U Bein bridge.
In our hotel in Mandalay.

In a monastery close to Bagan.
One of the most special places in the world: Bagan and its 3300 temples!

Leaves of betel which locals are used to chewing.

More photos of Bagan.

On Ngapali beach small crabs are also astounding natural artists.