Thursday, June 30, 2016

Collector Robert Sommers informed me recently that he is trying to sell a collection of drawings by artist Bernard Garbutt, who taught for a while at the Disney Studio.

You can find more information at this link.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I just received the cover drawings by John Musker for the next volume of Walt's People (Volume 18). The book will be released in July.

Monday, June 27, 2016

This just in from Bob McLain, owner of Theme Park Press about a few newly released books:


A Year in the Life of Disneyland

And what a year! In 1955, Walt Disney's dream of a theme park, the first of its kind in the world, came true. Disney historian Jim Korkis' entertaining tale of an American pop culture icon is power-packed with details, and the most thorough account of Disneyland's early days ever published.

As Walt Disney once said: "it takes people to make the dream a reality". Korkis never loses sight of the many people who built Disneyland, from famous Imagineers to obscure ticket takers. From their stories he crafts the epic adventure of how Walt conjured magic from an orange grove, with all the politics and the pixie dust, and the thrill of doing what no one had ever done before.

Just a few of the highlights from Disneyland 1955:

- The many little-known inspirations for Disneyland

- First-person narratives from Disneyland cast members who were there on opening day

- How politics and corporate wheeling and dealing were instrumental in getting Disneyland off the ground

- The story of the short-lived (and little missed) Mickey Mouse Club Circus

- Comprehensive almanacs of Main Street and the four "lands" in the park, as they existed in 1955


=== === === === ===


Disney History at Its Best

No one knows Disney history, or tells it better, than Jim Korkis, and he's back with a new set of 20 stories from his Vault of Walt. Whether it's Disney films, Disney theme parks, or Walt himself, Jim's stories will charm and delight Disney fans of all ages.

The best-selling Vault of Walt series has brought serious, but fun, Disney history to tens of thousands of readers. Now in its fifth volume, the series features former Disney cast member and master storyteller Jim Korkis' home-spun, entertaining tales, from the early years of Walt Disney to the present.

Step inside the vault with Jim to hear about:

- Walt's attempt to blacklist "Communists", including his full, uncensored Congressional testimony

- Disney's often-maligned "package films"

- How Barack Obama entered the Hall of Presidents

- The surprising early trade in Disney 8mm home movies

- Disney's original plans for Epcot's American Adventure, and why the Imagineers axed Will Rogers

Discover these and many other new tales of Disney history, as only Jim Korkis can tell them, in The Vault of Walt: Volume 5.

Then be sure to check out ALL the volumes in THE VAULT OF WALT!


Lions and Tigers and Cast Members

Armed with a freshly minted degree in anthropology, Arielle Tuan found her job prospects less than hoped for. Then she heard of the professional internships at Disney's Animal Kingdom for college graduates interested in conservation. Apply? Why not! And from there her adventure began...

Arielle soon found herself in possession of a "bug box" and told to educate guests about conservation and how they could help save the world — whether they wanted to hear it or not. After the bug boxes, she moved to Wilderness Explorer Stations (then known as Kids Clubs) and "animal positions", including one that featured the seldom cooperative Marley the Crocodile.

For shy, introverted Arielle, her months in the steaming "jungle" of the Animal Kingdom, surrounded by wild animals and sometimes even wilder guests and cast members, brought about a metamorphosis.

From the girl with the bug box that most guests ignored as they raced for the "thrill" rides every morning, Arielle found her groove as one of the park's Conservation Education Presenters. Her stories shed light on a whole other world at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

WALT'S PEOPLE: VOLUME 5 (re-release)

Disney History from the Source

The Walt's People series is an oral history of all things Disney, as told by the artists, animators, designers, engineers, and executives who made it happen, from the 1920s through the present.

Walt's People: Volume 5 features appearances by Hugh Harman, Nadine Missakian, Ward Kimball, Erwin Verity, James Algar, Winston Hibler, Bill Anderson, Bill Walsh, George Bruns, Buddy Baker, Fess Parker, Walt Stanchfield, Marc Davis, Alice Davis, T. Hee, Maurice Noble, Al Dempster, Walt Peregoy, Floyd Norman, Bill Evans, Jack Bradbury, Lynn Karp, Dave Michener, Vance Gerry, John Musker, and Ron Clements.

Among the hundreds of stories in this volume:

- BILL WALSH takes stock of his long career with Disney, starting as a writer for the Mickey Mouse comic strip in 1943 and concluding as a producer for some of Disney's biggest films in the 1960s and early 1970s.

- FESS PARKER draws a bead on his complex relationship with Walt Disney, who was responsible for Parker's fame as Davy Crockett, but also for clipping Parker's career by not letting him take plum roles in non-Disney films.

- ALICE DAVIS recounts her romance with much older Disney artist Marc Davis, her fearless attitude toward Walt, and her work for Disney as a costume designer.

- JOHN MUSKER & RON CLEMENTS engage in a lively dialogue about their start at the Disney studio during a dark time, and how their success with films like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin ushered in a new golden age of Disney animation.

The entertaining, informative stories in every volume of Walt's People will please both Disney scholars and eager fans alike.

Friday, June 24, 2016

More great sheet music being released by Voigt Publications!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I just received yesterday the catalog of the Disney - Art of Storytelling exhibition which is currenty being displayed at The Nordic Watercolor Museum in Skärhamn, Sweden from March 20 to September 4, 2016.

This huge catalog, written by Tracey Miller-Zarneke and released in a bilingual version (Swedish / English) is a pure beauty and contains quite a lot of artwork that I had never seen before, with my favorite pieces being the concept drawings created for The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Pecos Bill and Robin Hood. Sheer delight, but unfortunately extremely difficult to get a hold of except if you know someone in Skärhamn, Sweden.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I just received a copy of The Art of Disney's Dragons and loved that book. While it contains practically no text, there is enough artwork in it that I had never seen before for me to consider it a "must have". It is a small book and about half of it is animation-related and the other half park-related. This is not a history book, but it remains nonetheless a very, very enjoyable "un-pretentious" product.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

While researching the career of Retta Scott for They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Musical Years, I stumbled upon a little unknown jewel, the story of "B-1st", a never-released book that Retta had created on her own time with the help of Woolie Reitherman. I knew the book had to be published and this is now the case thanks to Theme Parke Press, complete with a foreword by the director of Planes, Klay Hall!

Monday, June 20, 2016

It took 11 years of efforts: Animator on Horseback, Mel Shaw's long-awaited autobiography, has finally been released, complete with all the illustrations that Mel created for the book. If you are reading this, this book is without the shadow of a doubt a "must-have."

[UPDATE: Since my old Amazon foe, "A Gass" decided to once more post a one-star review without even reading the book (his standard MO), could I please ask all of you to post honest reviews of the book after reading it? Thanks in advance.]

Friday, June 17, 2016

This just in from Sebastien Durand for those of you who live in France.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quick reminder about the spectacular auction from Van Eaton Galleries coming up this weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This just in from Garry Apgar:

[Here is arguably the best review, all in one piece, of my two Mickey books. With a timely tie-in by Laurence Jarvik to the recent horrific news in Orlando. The fanatical Islamist killer had, apparently, cased Walt Disney World, which might have been his preferred target rather than the far more vulnerable Pulse Club. WDW security measures almost certainly saved the park and its visitors. I've even seen a photo of the terrorist's son wearing a Mickey tee-shirt. All of this, of course, further bloody-awful, and bloody-ironic, proof of how emblematic Mickey is of America and all that we stand for.]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I was stuck in Buenos Aires over the weekend due to some air controllers' strike in Argentina, but I am now back in Miami.

The upside was that I was able to work on They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 3 and on Walt's People - Volume 18.

The first one of those books will be released in September 2017, the second much earlier: by the end of July 2016.

Closer still on the horizon are two books from Theme Park Press that I helped edit, which will be released by the end of this month:

Animator on Horseback, the autobiography of Mel Shaw (after 11 years of efforts to make this happen) and B-1st, a beautiful children's book written and designed by Woolie Reitherman and Retta Scott at the start of World War I, which will be published for the first time 75 years later!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I just received The Art of Finding Dory. I always enjoy those volumes from Chronicle Books, but this particular book did not strike a chord for your reason. My guess is that I find those art books particularly interesting when they focus on character designs more than on layouts or backgrounds. And the sequel to Finding Nemo does not seem to include many new characters, which probably explains my disappointment.

I have a feeling that I will enjoy The Art of Moana a lot more when it is released.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

This just in from Garry Apgar:

[My new book, Mickey Mouse: Emblem of theAmerican Spirit, published by the Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, was reviewed in the June 3rd issue of the Times Literary Supplement. The TLS is England’s, and America’s, oldest publication of its kind, and perhaps the classiest!

In the opening paragraphs, the reviewer had this to say:

   “If optimism is the defining American virtue — and it had better be, you sometimes can’t help feeling — then this book’s central proposition, that the essence of the nation is more fully embodied in one animated rodent than all the flag-hoisters and touch-downers of nearly 250 swaggering years, makes perfect sense. It is hard to avoid a certain feeling of manifest destiny when you are reminded of just how popular Mickey Mouse along with his on-off consort Minnie and all their kith and kin were during the years flanking the Second World War.
   “This engaging and tirelessly informative book is really two volumes in one handy slip-case … The first half narrates the professional life of Walt Disney, from the genesis of his cartooning career in Kansas City to a promising brief first stint in Hollywood, to the happy accident that made sense of it all: the evolution of Mickey from the pooled DNA of various ‘cute’ animals devised by Disney and others to star in the pioneering animated shorts …”

Further along into the review, the critic said: “You wouldn’t expect a book published by the Walt Disney Family Foundation to be overly critical of the maestro … But it is thorough and fine-grained, and fair on the events of Disney’s career.” I’ll take that as a compliment, both for me and the WDFF Press!

On another note: For those of you who live in Connecticut, the cable program “Focus on Connecticut” is scheduled to broadcast an interview with me over the weekend. The interview, which will air several times on Saturday and Sunday, will focus on my article in the April issue of Connecticut Magazine about Walt’s connections with the Nutmeg State. Todd James Pierce is quoted in the article about rumored plans for a Disney park in Connecticut. The interview will run several times over the weekend on News 12, which is part of the Cablevision network. Alas, the TLS review is not available online.]

Friday, June 03, 2016

Not a Disney book, of course, but an upcoming book I can't wait to pick up!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Sadly, this just in: Willis Pyle 1914-2016
From Todd James Pierce:

[For those interested, New England Review just published my narrative essay on Ward Kimball and the making of Snow White. It's written in the same research-oriented narrative style as Three Years in Wonderland. But fair warning, it is the only Disney-related essay in the journal. You can find it at "most" Barnes and Nobles in the periodical section for $12. You can also order one directly for $8 (including shipping). The online form will automatically load with "subscription," but use the pull down menu to select "current issue - $8." It's issue 37:1. The essay runs 14 pages.

Link to discounted rate:

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Three interesting new books released by Theme Park Press in May:

- FROM HORIZONS TO SPACE MOUNTAIN is the autobiography of Imagineer George McGinnis (Bob Gurr wrote the foreword).

- THE DISNEY APPRENTICE is the (partial) autobiography of another Imagineer, though more of an Imagineering executive, Chuck Shields (Bob Gurr wrote the foreword, X. Atencio provided the cover art).

- MAGICIAN OF THE MOVIES is the re-release of his biography of Walt Disney, from 1966 (and meant for children).