Monday, July 31, 2017

They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 3 will be released in October this year, so I spent the full weekend "finalizing"... Volume 4! That's the volume that will cover the 1950s and 1960s and specifically: Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Tom Oreb (pictured here), John Dunn and Walt Peregoy.

The text is written and has already gone through a first round of edits at the publisher and I have just delivered the massive caption file (which is what I was working on this whole weekend).

If all goes according to plan, the cover will be ready by next week and we will be able to move to layout in September. Still a lot of work ahead, but this is getting very fun.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sad week for Disney history: Marty Sklar dies at 83.

I find this to be a catastrophe both from the human and Disney history perspective, since so many tales will remain untold.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press about Jim Korkis' new book:

[Wish Upon a Secret

You've heard Jim Korkis' secret stories of Walt Disney World. Then you heard more of Jim Korkis' secret stories of Walt Disney World. Now, with the neighbors gone home and the kids asleep, Jim has a special treat: other secret stories of Walt Disney World. Gather round.

You know what's more fun than finding Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World? Reading secret stories about Walt Disney World. And no one knows more Disney secrets than Jim Korkis. Just when it seems like the secrets well is dry, the often imitated, never duplicated Korkis hits a gusher:

- The Stromboli Room in Fantasyland, the evil dentist on Main Street, and the elusive Lone Ranger in Frontierland

-  Debunking dinosaurs, counting flags, and the many secrets of Epcot's World Showcase

- Hidden treasures of the Disney World resorts, including nanny chairs, kukui nuts, and vanishing magicians

- Fighting dragons, outrunning villains, racing through a dinosaur dig, and other attractions that never were

Each story is short enough to read whenever you have a spare moment that needs Disney in it. That's, like, every spare moment, so pace yourself...]

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

David Peake just noticed that the Hachette Book Group web site is announcing the release of a book about the 50th Anniversary of Club 33, written by my good friend Tim O'Day. The planned launch date is December 12 of this year. More about this soon, hopefully...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Once again, here is an author who did his homework. The biography of Roy O. Disney that Scott M. Madden wrote is the best biography of Roy that anyone without direct access to the Disney Archives could have written. Madden used all the available sources really well and the tale he told is what one would have expected to read in the disappointing biography by the great Bob Thomas.

In no way is this the last word about Roy. One still awaits the book about him that a historian with full access to the Disney Archives will be able to pen, but this is an extremely satisfying read for now.

My only quibble: once again I dislike a book cover. But that is obviously a very minor issue. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This newly released history of Disney's True-Life Adventures is a great read. The author did his homework. This does not mean that the book explores the whole history of Disney's documentaries in-depth, but Christian Moran does a good job when it comes to summarizing the testimonies of all the artists and cinematographers who worked on them. The book is well-written and full of great quotes. It is definitely worth picking up.

For those of us who are awaiting the definite in-depth history of the True-Life Adventures (which might be way too much for many readers) we might still have to wait a few more years though...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This is a CD I will definitely order in a few weeks...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I picked up this new book at the D23 Expo. Definitely a winner.

Monday, July 17, 2017

My good friend Sebastien Durand just sent me this fabulous photo of Walt Disney with French actress Arletty from 1953 which I had never seen before.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Let me give you a glimpse into my research process when starting work on a volume in They Drew As They Pleased series. I am currently focused on volume 5, which deals with artists Ken Anderson and Mel Shaw. Here is a small mystery that I am trying to crack at the moment.

By September 1938, we know that Walt and Stokowski had selected Cydalise et le Chèvre-Pied by Gabriel Pierné as one of the pieces that they would use in Fantasia and we know that later on this was replaced by the Pastoral Symphony. This is well documented and not an issue.

However, there is something that now intrigues me. Mel Shaw joined the Studio in 1937 and mentions in his several interviews and in his autobiography that the first project he was asked to tackle was a piece set to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimski-Korsakow. That piece was considered for the "sequel" to Fantasia in 1940/41, but it is clearly a different and earlier take that Mel has in mind.

Which led me to wonder what the story behind that project is. By digging into my documentation I found a few clues:

a) Story number 1034 is listed as Cydalise Suite (no mystery there) but detailed as Dance of the Little Fauns; Afternoon of the Fauns; Flight of the Bumble Bee.

b) In the Daily Report of Bill Garity, dated July 5, 1938, we read: "Checked with Mel Schwartzman the Leica sync loop on The Afternoon of the Faun. It seemed to work very nicely."

c) In the Future Fantasias report by Bob Carr from 1940, we learn that Disney paid a certain amount on April 12, 1938  to secure a license for the use of Flight of the Bumblebee.

d) In another report from the same year from Bob Carr, we learn that the Studio has been trying to secure a license for the use of Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun since January 26, 1938. (On January 26, 1938 it is for the use of the music in a short on the model of Sorcerer's Apprentice, then on February 28, 1938 for a sequence in a feature with Sorcerer's and four other compositions).

This all suggests that for a few months, from January 1938 to about July / August 1938, the Studio was approaching that sequence from Fantasia as Pierné, Debussy, and Rimski-Korsakow, not just Pierné.

The question becomes: are any of you aware of any documentation earlier than all the story meetings from September 1938 which would give us any insight on the plans for The Concert Feature in the earlier part of 1938?

I am not certain that I will be able to crack this specific mystery, but I will definitely try since it made me aware of a historical gap when it comes to the early days of the "Concert Feature" project. I hope we will soon understand more...] 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press. Again, I will review the book in a few weeks when I get a copy.

[The Overlooked Disney

Walt Disney made the magic, but it was his brother Roy who did the rest—from finding money for Walt's latest wild dream, to balancing the books, it was Roy who kept the Disney ship afloat. His story is seldom told, but without it, there would be no Disney story to tell.

In this extensively researched biography of Roy O. Disney, the first since Bob Thomas' acclaimed Building a Company, Scott Madden traces the influence of Walt's big brother on the company they founded together.

From Roy's early years spent "looking out" for Walt, to his decision to build Walt Disney World after his brother's death, the life of the "forgotten" Disney is presented in rich detail.

You don't know the story of Disney until you know the story of Roy O. Disney.]

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This just in from Theme Park Press. I will review the book when I get a copy.

[The Natural World of Disney

Walt Disney used to say "it all started with a mouse", but really, it all started with a farm, the one in Marceline, Missouri, where Walt grew up and where his love of the land, and all things upon it, first took root.

Many years later, Walt's commitment to nature and to conservation took cinematic form in the Academy Award-winning True Life Adventures series. These educational but entertaining films showcased the natural world that Walt loved so dearly, and that he knew must be preserved for future generations.

In this follow-up to his best-selling Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
, about Walt Disney and technology, documentary filmmaker and historian Christian Moran turns his attention to Walt Disney and nature, exploring Walt's commitment to the environment and analyzing each of the True-Life Adventures films, from Seal Island to Jungle Cat.

Moran also looks at the Disney company's continuing commitment to the environment, after Walt's death, through such projects as the Animal Kingdom, the planned Africa Pavilion at Epcot, and the Disneynature series of feature films.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


As most of you know, there are still a few early Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Alice Comedies which are considered as lost.

Over the past few years Dave Bossert and David Gerstein initiated a search to locate as many of them as possible, They were extremely successful, but there are still a few of these historically critical shorts that have not yet been located and / or preserved.

Dave Bossert is close to locating a few of those missing treasures, but getting access to them and then restoring them takes a budget. Which is why he is a launching a Patreon initiative (very similar in spirit to the better-known Kickstarter).

I will definitely become one of the patrons of this tremendously important initiative. I really, really hope that as many of you as possible will do so too.

For just $1 a month you can help preserve a truly critical part of Disney history. This is worth it!

Follow this link for more details.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quick reminder: I will be presenting  about the fascinating stories behind the making of the first three volumes of the They Drew As They Pleased book series at the D23 Expo on Saturday, July 15, from 11.30AM to 12.30PM on the Disney Archives Stage. You will even get an exclusive look at the content of Volume 3 which will be officially released in October this year.

After the talk I will be available from 1PM to 3PM at the Saturday Toys booth (Booth 301E) in the Expo Emporium in Exhibit Hall A.

Due to technical issues beyond my control none of the volumes of They Drew As They Pleased will be on sale at the Expo.

However, if you bring your own books I will be happy to autograph them that day on the booth of Saturday Toys and...

I will have postcards featuring the cover of Volume 3 which will allow you to purchase that volume online later on at a significant discount!

See you all soon.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Jody Dreyer worked for Michael Eisner for quite a long time, while he was CEO of Disney. If this book is honest, it should be a fascinating read. I just hope it is not too whitewashed. I am definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Has anyone of you been to Shanghai Disneyland? If so, have you seen this recently released book titled Shanghai Disneyland - A Celebration of Dreams? I am really interested in getting a copy...

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

This book about artist Dan Jippes was recently released by the Dutch Strip Museum in Groningen. It is written in Dutch, of course, but it is full of Disney content since Dan Jippes worked for Disney for many years both in the comics and animation (concept design) fields.