Monday, December 29, 2014

This just in from Garry Apgar:

[That 1952 "Mohawk Tommy" commercial, animated by Bill Justice and Blaine Gibson (who designed the statue of Mickey and Walt sited in the Disney parks' central Hub), has multiple links to Disney.

The head of Hurrell Productions, photographer George Hurrell (seen here in a self-portrait), attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, as Walt once did.

From 1943-1954, Hurrell was married to Phyllis Bounds (Detiege), Lillian Disney's niece, and one-time head of Ink & Paint at the studio. Phyllis later worked at Disney as a TV commercial coordinator, so she may have helped produce the Mohawk Tommy ad.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: from the late 1930s into the 1950s George Hurrell shot scores of portraits of Walt Disney (also Mary Blair, seen here posed in a wicker chair). Hurrell's photos of Walt were used for promotional purposes, and many of them are familiar to Disney aficionados.

An exhibition of more than 50 specimens of Hurrell's portrait photography drawn from the Pancho Barnes Trust Estate Archive will open on February 3, 2015 at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. The show will run through July 13th. Alas, precious few pics of Walt and none of Mary Blair will (apparently) be on display in the show.

Pancho Barnes, incidentally, was a pioneering aviatrix and quite a character. She was played by Kim Stanley in The Right Stuff, the 1983 motion picture based on the Tom Wolfe book. If you saw the film you'll recall that Barnes ran the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a dude ranch and restaurant in the Mojave Desert frequented by rowdy military test pilots like Chuck Yeager.]

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