Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yesterday, for obvious reasons, Google paid homage to American civil rights activist Fred Korematsu.

I have been working recently on the diaries of Ward Kimball and here is a short intoduction I wrote about another great American of Japanese descent, Chris Ishii:

On November 29, Ward got a new assistant, Chris Ishii. Ishii, along with Tom Okamoto, Masao Kawagushi, and James Tanaka, was part of a handful of Nisei who worked for the Disney Studio at the time.
Born on August 11, 1919 in Fresno California, after high school Ishii decided to attend Chouinard because a family friend, Mr. Oka, knew Gyo Fujikawa, who taught at the school. He joined Chouinard in September 1936 and graduated four years later. Following graduation, thanks to the recommendation of Chouinard’s business manager, Vern Caldwell, Ishii was hired by Disney and worked on the tail end of Fantasia, The Reluctant Dragon, Dumbo, and some Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse shorts. He left Disney after the strike, and after Pearl Harbor was interned at the Santa Anita Assembly Center where he created a cartoon featuring a young Nisei boy, Li’l Neebo for the camp newspaper, the Pacemaker. When it became possible, Ishii joined the Army and worked for the Military Intelligence Service for three years in China, Burma, and India. After the war, Ishii returned to the Disney Studio for a year, then started his own studio, before finally turning to freelance work and moving to New York. He passed away on November 6, 2001 in Dobbs Ferry, NY.

Monday, January 30, 2017

This just in from Bob McLain (owner of Theme Park Press) about the newly released book Remembering the Magic by Suzanne and RJ Ogren.

[A Monkey Paw in the Magic Kingdom

When R.J. and Suzanne Ogren "remember the magic" of Walt Disney World, they're not remembering their trips to the most magical place on earth, they're remembering their jobs: Suzanne as a character performer, R.J. as an artist. Their backstage stories are like none you've ever read before.

How do the ghosts, pirates, bears, presidents, jungle animals, and all the other audio-animatronic figures in the Magic Kingdom look as flawless today as they did when the park first opened, in 1971? Disney employs an on-site team of artists to inspect and repair every figure equipped with motion and sound, in every attraction, as well as all of the sets, murals, and props.

R.J. Ogren joined the Magic Kingdom's mischievous, prank-playing team of artists in the 1970s. He survived nearly drowning in the Jungle Cruise; an oil-spewing, country-singing bear in Country Bear Jamboree; runaway ghosts in Haunted Mansion; and many other close encounters of the magical kind, armed only with his paint brushes, scrapers, and black-light paint.

Along with his wife, Suzannne, who worked as a character performer and later in the Entertainment Department of the Magic Kingdom, R.J. counts his time spent as a Walt Disney World cast member as some of the best years of his life.

His and Suzanne's stories are sure to make you laugh, such as the time R.J. discovered Lincoln's monkey paw in the Hall of Presidents, and maybe even shed a tear. With a foreword by legendary Diamond Horseshoe Revue performer Bev Bergeron!]

Friday, January 27, 2017

I just love these unauthorized covers from the Mexican magazine from the 1930s, Paquito.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I have just received two great books which are only tenuously related to Disney but that I am convinced many of you will enjoy:

Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand and The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer: American Animation Pioneer by Ray Pointer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We all know this famous photo (Ted Sears on the left and Webb Smith on the right). What I just noticed last week, however, is that most of the sketched on this board were drawn by Fini Rudiger (later Fini Littlejohn). I love it when drawings by be attributed with almost total certainty and this is one of those cases. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I just realized that I forgot to post the table of contents of Walt's People - Volume 19. Here it is:

Foreword: Mark Sonntag
Dave Smith: Dick Grills
Michael Barrier: Jack Kinney
Autobiography of Don Graham
The Janet Martin letters from South America
Janet Martin: Librarian to Walt Disney
Janet Martin: Disney Character
Janet Martin: Bringing Bambi to the Screen
Alan Coats: Remembering the Milottes
MICA Productions: Lloyd Beebe
Michael Broggie: Roy E. Disney
Jim Korkis: Susan Hoose
Jim Korkis: Terry Jo Steinberger
Jim Korkis: Carol Farris
Bob Thomas: Art Stevens
Bob Thomas: Frank Thomas
Didier Ghez & Jim Korkis: Alan Coats

Monday, January 23, 2017

Three Disney history books have just been announced officially on the Hachette Book Group website (thanks to David Peake for the heads up):

Yesterday's Tomorrow Disney's Magical Mid-Century Style and Design by Don Hahn (Disney Editions, October 2017).

The Genius of Ub Iwerks - Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor by Don Iwerks (Disney Editions, October 2017).

The Archive Series Walt Disney's Masters Of Animation: The Flipbooks (Nine More Old Men: The Flipbooks) by Pete Docter (Disney Editions, October 2017).

Friday, January 20, 2017

One last drawing from The American Legion magazine, this one from February 1943. Read what you want into the timing of this post.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I have good news! Walt's People - Volume 19 was finally released this week.

This is really an exceptional addition to the series. Some of the best pieces in the volume include: a short autobiography of Don Graham, the letters that Disney publicist Janet Martin sent from Latin America while traveling with "El Grupo" in 1941, a long and fascinating interview with "True-Life Adventures" cinematographer Lloyd Beebe, and an in-depth interview with Alan Coats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

They Drew as They Pleased Vol. 3: The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age (The 1940s - Part Two) is now available for pre-order on Amazon! It is 40 pages longer than the two previous volumes and focuses on Disney's Character Model Department.

The artists whose careers are discussed and whose art is displayed in this instalment are: Eduardo Sola Franco. Johnny Walbridge, Jack Miller, Campbell Grant, James Bodrero and Martin Provensen. If you were to buy only one volume in the series (why would you do this?) this would be the one to get.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I can't wait to read this new book!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Michael Barrier has just released his interview with Tyrus Wong. Pure delight, as always!

Friday, January 13, 2017

I just stumbled upon this magazine. On page 60, you will find a good article by Willy Ley about the making on Man in Space.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

From the September 1938 issue of The American Legion magazine.

Monday, January 09, 2017

One of the most awaited Disney history books of 2017, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation by Mindy Johnson, is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

Friday, January 06, 2017

I just received my own copy of Disney Legend Wilfred Jackson - A Life in Animation by Ross Care. This was a very complex project and I love the end result.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

I also recently received the catalog of this French exhibition. It's a huge catalog, but unfortunately the artwork it contains has been seen often already.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

I had the great surprise of receiving recenty this beautiful Italian book about the story of Pinocchio, complete with a long essay by Gianni Bono about Disney and Italy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

If you are reading this blog, you all know that this is a photo of Walt Disney during his visit to the London Zoo in 1935. If you read Disney's Grand Tour, you also know that in the background we can see publicist Francis Meynell with his son, Ben (left). Believe it or not, Michael Barrier and I a few days ago received an email from the little girl who holds Francis' other hand, Felicia Osiakovski-Richardson.

Felicia has authorized me to share her memories here:

[My parents were Dr. Stanislas and Joan Osiakovski and they ran The Bloomsbury Gallery in 34 Bloomsbury Street, London, which specialised in then unknown, artists whose works they exhibited. Within their wide circle of friends were Francis and Vera Meynell and their son, Ben, who was a little younger than I was, so that Ben and I grew up together both in London and in their beautiful Tudor house in Essex. When Walt Disney came to open the new Penguin Pond, it was plainly a good idea to have children about the place  which is where Ben and I came in. I remember parts of the day very well. We were told that we had to walk around the pond holding the Penguin’s flippers and I recall not being too keen on doing that and the surprise when I touched the Penguin as it did not feel as I had expected it would! I remember that Walt Disney was very kind and friendly towards us and that we were rather awed by the whole occasion as you might imagine. We were taken to the cinema the next day, I recall, to see ourselves on Pathe News in glorious black and white and we were thrilled to bits!]

Monday, January 02, 2017

Well, we made it to 2017. Happy New Year to you all!

To celebrate, here is the September 1937 cover of El Rodeo from Glendale Junior College which I picked up on ebay recently. This is Volume 1, Number 1. I don't think I had ever seen this drawing before. I wonder who created it.