Friday, July 31, 2015

John Culhane (1934 - 2015)

I am sad beyond words. Author, journalist, Disney historian and friend John Culhane passed away yesterday afternoon surrounded by his loved ones.

John's love of life and bubbling enthusiasm were infectious. He had met the most famous artists, scientists and politicians. He had traveled everywhere and had millions of stories to tell. And he had a heart if gold.

He was Mr. Snoops in The Rescuers and Flying John in Fantasia 2000.

He was the author of the books Walt Disney's Fantasia, Disney's Aladdin, the Making of an Animated Film, Fantasia 2000 - A Vision of Hope, and a few others.

But for my wife Rita and I, he was most of all a friend, whom we met for the first time in Madrid a few years ago, then again in Dobbs Ferry, New York some years later. Rita was luckier than I was since she also had the opportunity to spend some time with John and his wife Hind in Rio de Janeiro, a city that John had always dreamed of visiting ever since his earlier encounter with Jose Carioca.

Our thoughts are with John's wife Hind and with their sons Michael and TH.

John: we are all eagerly awaiting your interview with Walt. If St. Peter allows it: please do not forget to record it this time around.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Progress

Since 50 Years in the Mouse House and Walt's People - Volume 16 are now released and since the official release date of They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age is just a few weeks away, I thought I should find a few minutes to give you a quick update on the other projects I am currently working on.

1. They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's "Musical Years"

I am working with Chronicle Books on the final edits and will soon start writing the captions. Scheduled release: September 2016.

2. Walt's People - Volume 17

I will send the manuscript this week to the contributors to get their comments and corrections. Expected release date: December 2015.

3. Walt's People - Volume 18

I have started editing some chapters for this exciting volume.

4. "Correspondence with Jaxon" (working title)

I am helping Ross Care edit his extensive correspondence with director Wilfred Jackson which will be released in book form next year, complete with Wilfred Jackson's newly discovered diary and some of the letters Wilfred wrote to his wife in 1945 while on the set of Song of the South in Texas.

5. Walt Disney's Jack-of-all-trades - Conversations with Ken Anderson (working title)

I am also helping historian Paul F. Anderson and Bob McLain from Theme Park Press transcribe and edit all of Paul F. Anderson's oral history with Disney Legend Ken Anderson for a release in book form later this year.

6.  Animator on Horseback by Mel Shaw

Finally, I am helping Mel Shaw's family edit and release Mel's autobiography

This is fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bob McLain attracted my attention on two books he just released:

The Imagineers' Secrets of Disneyland by Mike Fox: more than the usual collection of stories, this book incorporates some original research and rare photos (such as an account of George Lloyd)

Everything I Know I Learned from Disney Animated Feature Films by Jim Korkis: a succinct little volume - possibly the first in a series - with summaries of 54 Disney animated films, "fun facts" about said films, and some inspirational quotes from the animated characters (hence the subtitle, "Advice for Living Happily Ever After")

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jim Korkis writes:  [One of the few things not covered in Pinto Colvig's amazing book are samples from Colvig's comic panel for United Features Syndicate that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1922, Life on the Radio Wave. It ran for three to four times per week from March 26 to August 26.   While we think of radio as a form of entertainment, in these early days, people were building homemade radios to be used as a cheap telephone substitute as well.   Maybe Todd's book will increase interest in Colvig and some clever person will gather all those now public domain comic panels for a book. They should also look for the cartooning Pinto did earlier for the San Francisco Bulletin.]

Monday, July 27, 2015

I have no idea what this book is worth but I figured that some of you would want to know that it exists. (Thanks to Michael Golberg and to Jim Korkis for the heads up.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Help Needed

Theme Park Press is currently working on a collection of never-released-before interviews with artists who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We need volunteers to help Theme Park Press' owner, Bob McLain, transcribe as quickly and reliably as possible the hundreds of hours of interviews. Could some of you help? If so, could you please email me at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The unstoppable Bob McLain, owner of Theme Park Press, is working on a re-release of Jack Kinney's fascinating autobiography. More soon. That publisher deserves a medal!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This just in from Norman Tveit:

[A vintage Donald Duck poster I don't think you've seen before. Less than five in existence.  It was created by Al Taliaferro in 1941 and produced by the U.S. Government in 1944.]

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Horvath drawing being sold on ebay at the moment. Way too expensive for me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Just released on Amazon.

Friday, July 17, 2015

FINALLY! Pinto Colvig's autobiography is now available on Amazon.

My good friend and the editor of the book, Todd James Pierce explained yersterday:

[A few years ago, while doing some archival work, I came across a full memoir written by Pinto Colvig, an early animator, film actor, and voice actor whose work goes back to the 1920s: he worked with Mack Sennett, Walt Disney, MGM, etc. More specifically, he worked on the Keystone Cops; he animated early black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons; he was the voice of two of the seven dwarfs; he was one musical voice for the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz; and he was the original voice of Goofy. The book is, very likely, the earliest full-length memoir written by an animator or voice actor: Colvig wrote it in the early 1940s, yet it was never published. For the past year or so, I’ve worked with the SOHS to bring it into print. I penned a lengthy introduction about Colvig’s early life, drawing on his personal letters and other materials, as the book, itself, only covers his experience in Hollywood.]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Coming very, very soon. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Did anyone read this new ebook? Is it worth picking up?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This wonderful photo of Eric Larson just in thanks to animator David Block. I have a feeling that Eric was working on 50 Years in the Mouse House.

Monday, July 13, 2015

This just in:

[The auction, Vintage Disney & Virgil Ross Animation will be on July 14, 2015, 6:00 PM EST and will feature a selection of 125 noteworthy auction lots.]


Some notes by Mark Mayerson:

[While those drawings might be by Virgil Ross, they are all after-the-fact recreations. Many of them are from cartoons that Ross didn't work on.

Even some of the Disney drawings are mislabeled. Drawings from Mickey's Elephant are listed as baby Dumbo.]

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lorraine Santoli's book has just been released by Theme Park Press. I am very much looking forward to reading it next week.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fun article posted by Michael Barrier on his blog a few days ago.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Joe Campana just emailed me this morning to let me know that They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age is available on Amazon since yesterday at a 48% discount, ie: only $20.95. Apologies is this sounds like commercial self-promotion, but this is so cheap that I thought I needed to let you know.
Just a quick reminder from Ron Diamond: [You can still support the Animation Show of Shows.]

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Pinto Colvig's autobiography will be released within the next 10 days by Theme Park Press. This is a book I simply can not wait to finally read. From my standpoint, one of the key Disney history events of the year. More soon...

Monday, July 06, 2015

Walt's People - Volume 16 has just been released. I am very proud of this new volume. Here is the table of contents.

Foreword: Joe Campana
Dave Smith: Lou Pesmen
Robin Allan: Grim Natwick
“Abstraction” Not Key to Toccata-Fugue by Miles Pike
[Sequence] RX-1 Has Long History; Rich in Anecdotes by James Algar
Rite of Spring – A Jaunt 6,000,000 Years Back by John Hubley
“Dance of the Hours” Is Art That Conceals Art, Layout Head Explains by Ken O’Connor
Try Beef-Trusters For Dance of Hours by Larry Lansburgh
Ave Maria by Ed Gershman
“Fantasia” Cutting Most Complex Job; Footage Exceeds 5,000,000 Feet by Bob Cook
Women Contribute to “Fantasia”; Help In Layout, B.G., Animation by Roberta Lanouette
Unknown Interviewer: Gyo Fujikawa
John Canemaker: Gyo Fujikawa
Mark Langer: Hicks Lokey
Jack Bradbury: Autobiography
Jack Kinney
Nick Nichols
Marc Davis, Milt Kahl and Bill Tytla at Chouinard
EMC West: Ken Annakin
Richard Holliss: Irwin Kostal
Michael Broggie: Lucille Martin
Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston: Woolie Reitherman & Mel Shaw
Jay Horan: Claude Coats
Jim Korkis: Sully Sullivan
Didier Ghez: George McGinnis
Bill Watkins: How Computers Influenced Roller Coaster Design
George McGinnis: Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain
George McGinnis and Bill Watkins: Disneyland’s Space Mountain
George McGinnis: Horizons
George McGinnis: On Track
Bob Thomas: Jack Buckley
Didier Ghez: Ted Kierscey

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Sadly, Disney Legend Blaine Gibson just passed away.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Almost too many good things at the same time! This is another recently-released autobiography from Theme Park Press that I simply can not wait to read.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Here is a newly released harcover which I am planning to order this week.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Kindle version of 50 Years in the Mouse House is now available on Amazon.