Monday, December 31, 2018

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

No Disney connection, of course, but this is a book I am eagerly awaiting.

Friday, December 21, 2018

I just spotted this upcoming book on Amazon.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Can't wait for the release of this book next year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

 I visited Amazon Italy recently and realized that there was quite a few books that I just had to order!

Monday, December 17, 2018

If someone had told me that one day I would be quoted in a sports magazine, I would have laughed out loud! Context, however, is everything, which explains why I could not resist contributing to this special issue of L'Equipe Magazine at the request of my friend and fellow Disney historian Sebastien Durand...

Friday, December 14, 2018

I just received a copy of the book Practically Poppins in Every Way by Jeff Kurtti. It is definitely a good book.

As with all of Jeff's books, it is easy to read, nicely researched and contains all that you would expect and a little more. It is also a very satisfying physical product.

The book is not, however, an in-depth history book. It is, first and foremost a marketing product, with all the advantages (slick, varied in its approach, etc...) and disadvantages (lack of depth, not a lot of never-seen-before illustrations if any, etc...) of such a product.

If you like Mary Poppins as much as I do and are as excited as I am about the soon-to-be released sequel, though, you will definitely pick it up.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

In no particular order, here is my selection of the best Disney history books of 2018:

Ghez, Didier: They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era published by Chronicle Books; 2018.

Gerstein, David; Kaufman, JB: Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: The Complete History published by Taschen; 2018.

Schroeder, Russell: Disney's Lost Chords 3 published by Voigt Publications; 2018.

Bossert, David: Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios published by The Old Mill Press; 2018.

Ghez, Didier: Walt's People - Volume 21 published by Theme Park Press; 2017.

Nichols, Chris: Walt Disney's Disneyland published by Taschen; 2018.

Kurtti, Jeff: From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card published by Disney Editions; 2018.

Muller, Jacques: 40 Years of Animated Cartoons published by Partridge Singapore; 2018.

Watkin, Larry: Larry Watkin: A Memoir of an American Man of Letters published by Pulp Hero Press; 2018.

Kurtti, Jeff: Travels with Walt Disney - A Photographic Voyage Around the World published by  Disney Editions; 2018.

Korkis, Jim: Secret Stories of Mickey Mouse: Untold Tales of Walt's Mouse published by Theme Park Press; 2018.

Dallas, Alastair: Inventing Disneyland: The Unauthorized Story of the Team That Made Walt Disney's Dream Come True published by Theme Park Press; 2018. [Note: I have just finished reviewing this. This is a very good book, but you are unlikely to learn much from it if you have already read all the other books released about Disneyland. Unlike the other books in this list, this is not necessarily a "must have".]

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

This just in from Mindy Johnson about her upcoming book Pencils, Pens & Brushes:

Based on Mindy's critically acclaimed Disney Editions title, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation, this nonfiction young-readers book is a fun and inspiring look at many of the amazing women who have worked at Disney Animation over the years. From Story Artists, to Animators, to Inkers and Painters, twenty remarkable women are explored from the earliest days of Disney animation - all with unique personalities and accomplishments, such as becoming a record-holding pilot, or designing Hollywood Monsters, or creating an international club for tall people!

This timeless treasure features the whimsical and inspiring illustrations of noted Disney artist Lorelay Bové, whose visual development and design artistry defined such animated classics as The Princess and the Frog, Prep & Landing, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

David Peake just noticed that the catalog of the upcoming Walt Disney Family Museum Mickey Mouse exhibition is now being offered for pre-order on Amazon at this link.

(The above item is a book released in the 1930s by publisher John Sands in Australia. I do not believe it will be part of the exhibition, but since the catalog cover does not exist yet, I am taking the opportunity to share a Mickey item I enjoy ;-)

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Disney Books Network has just been updated.
This just in from Theme Park Press about the newly released book Inventing Disneyland:

[A Definitive History

Walt Disney was a busy man. Between feature films, both live and animated, a weekly hour-long television show, and the day-to-day operations of his studio, he had no time and even less money to invent and then build that strange thing he called a theme park. But he did...

Meet the cadre of six men who imagined and described the specifics of Walt Disney’s vision for a new kind of family entertainment park;the men of WED Enterprises, who began the process of inventing Disneyland.

Enter the bustling “Disneyland Plans Room” at Walt Disney’s custom-designed studio. Disney drew upon the talents of tinkerers and hobbyists, artists, writers, engineers, architects, builders, and especially Hollywood art directors to realize his dream.

See the site transformed from moonscape to wonderland and struggle along with the park’s management as they rush headlong toward an opening day that seems impossible to achieve.

Based on years of original research and interviews, this is the true but unauthorized story complete with vintage photos ;of just what it took to invent the happiest place on earth and make Walt Disney's dream come true.]

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

My good friend David Peake just emailed me to attract my attention on three books that have just been announced on the Hachette Books site and that will be released by Disney Editions next year:

1. It looks as if Becky Cline's wonderful book The Walt Disney Studio - A Lot to Remember will finally be "re-released".

2. A book titled Animator Letters Project by Willie Downs sounds intriguing. The blurb mentions:

[The Animator Letters Project is a book for aspiring animators that dream of working at a major studio but don't know how to get there. The nearly one hundred handwritten letters by some of the most creative animators and directors in the animation industry tell their own unique story, along with words of wisdom for the next generation of artists. In an age of technology, where texts, tweets, blogs, chats and emails are the norm, this book's handwritten element offers a personal connection to those in the industry. Get ready to be inspired by the likes of Pete Docter, Don Hahn, Byron Howard, Gary Trousdale, Roger Allers, Gary Goldman, Brenda Chapman, John Musker, Ron Clements, and Rob Minkoff, among many others. ]

3. But the most exciting new upcoming book on the list is Marc Davis in His Own Words - Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks by Pete Docter, Chris Merritt. This massive 384-page volume should be THE must have of 2019. The blurb reads:

[On February 16, 1962, senior animator Marc Davis officially transitioned from Walt Disney Feature Animation to a new division of the company: WED Enterprises, the group assembled to design Walt's new theme park. The move would be a significant one. After thirty-plus years animating classic Disney features, Marc would become one of the most renowned of Walt Disney's new breed of employee-Imagineers.
During Marc's time with WED (later Walt Disney Imagineering), he would become a driving force behind the designs of many of the most iconic attractions at the Disney theme parks. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, it's a small world, Jungle Cruise, Country Bear Jamboree, and many others feature environments and storylines that were heavily influenced by his conceptual artwork.
Featuring work from the sixties through the eighties, this two-volume set includes more than 1,500 pieces from the Imagineering archives, the vast majority of which have never been published. In addition, for the first time Marc's design theories as well as many of his stories of working with Walt are featured in his own words as recorded during hours upon hours of interviews by author Chris Merritt.
Marc Davis-In His Own Words is a treasure trove for artists, students, and Disney collectors around the world.]

Monday, December 03, 2018

Last week I had the pleasure of receiving the two books Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland: What You See at Disneyland, but Never Really See and More Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland by Russell D. Flores.

While I knew that these books are not history books and that I would not consider them as "must haves" I was still very curious about them. I liked what I saw: those two books focus on small details of the park that casual visitors might not be aware of. They are very visual, well researched (complete with a detailed bibliography) and well organized. Definitely nice to have in order to enhance the quality of your visit to the park.

Way to go Russell!

Friday, November 30, 2018

I have just received my friend and fellow Disney historian Dave Bossert's new book, Kem Weber: Mid-Century Furniture Designs for the Disney Studios and I was blown away.  If you are interested in this subject matter, you have to get this book. The research is meticulous, the production quality of the book is stunning, and the number of illustrations is unbelievable.

The highlight from my standpoint are all the never-seen-before photos of the Burbank studio in 1940 (from UC Santa Barbara), including a fabulous one of Joe Grant, James Bodrero, Dun Roman and Dick Huemer in Joe Grant's new office.

From my personal standpoint, this book is a must-have.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I was checking the Getty Images website a few days ago and had the pleasure of discovering those three photos of Walt in Paris. As you will know, if you have read Disney's Grand Tour, they were taken on June 27, 1935 at the Gaumont-Palace cinema in Paris. The woman on Walt's left in the above photo is Mlle. Vacaresco, President of C.I.D.A.L.C. and the man with the mustache below is Pierre Humble, director of the Theatre du Petit-Monde (see Disney's Grand Tour for more details).

I wish I had had access to those specific photos at the time I wrote the book!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

This just in:

[The Walt Disney Co. continues to fete the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse through a partnership with Chaos Magazine.

The deal saw Chaos Magazine release a special-edition “True Originals” issue that pairs Mickey Mouse with some of fashion’s top models including Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Karen Elson, Cara Taylor, Vittoria Ceretti and Shenelle Williams. The magazine will be on newsstands Dec. 3.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I had the pleasure of officially launching They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Mid-Century Era yesterday at Books and Books in Coral Gables.

If you have not bought your copy yet, now might be a great time to do so: It is available at a 37% discount on Amazon, and Chronicle Books will base its decision on whether or not to release Volume 6 based on sales of this volume until the end of the year. I have also pitched them another series of books and sales of the Mid-Century Era volume are bound to inform their decision.

If you already have the book, could you please, please post a review on Amazon?

Thanks as always for all your support!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Interesting video about the upcoming Heritage Auctions animation art auction...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

David Peake just noticed that on the Hachette books website, the release date of the Windows on Main Street book has now officially been postponed to August 13, 2019 and that Dave Bossert's next book, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Visual Companion has been officially slated for release on the same date.

Monday, November 19, 2018

This just in from David Peake:

[I have a copy of Mickey Mouse Museum. It probably isn't a "must have", but it is "nice to have".

I was pleasantly surprised by the latest grocery store checkout magazine.  It does have useful information including brief interviews with some of the Italian Mickey comic book artists and the newest voice of Mickey Mouse.  There are a couple of photos I had not seen, and some artwork from an unproduced short: "Morgan's Ghost".  There is a Glen Keane drawing of a worried Mickey looking at Ratigan,  a reproduction of a newspaper cartoon about Walt's death, and some pre-production art from a couple of released shorts.]

Friday, November 16, 2018

Stunning auction coming up at Heritage Auctions. Here are a few of the highlights. Madame Upanova by Campbell Grant (above)...
 A beautiful David Hall for Peter Pan...
This Photostat caught my attention because of story artist Eric Gurney's initials under the drawing at the bottom right which confirms that he created this specific model sheet.
 Great Big Bad Wolf drawings by Ferdinand Horvath.
And some original art for the model sheet of Mickey's Service Station!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

This just in from Theme Park Press about the 7th volume of The Vault of Walt:

[Deck the Halls with Disney!

Those stockings hung by the chimney with care aren't stuffed with toys this year, but with a Yuletide collection of seasonal Disney lore. Put some extra Christmas (and Disney!) magic under your tree with Jim Korkis' jolly compendium of merry mouse tales.

The best-selling Vault of Walt series has brought serious, but fun, Disney history to tens of thousands of readers. Now in its seventh volume, the series features Disney historian and master storyteller Jim Korkis' meticulously researched, entertaining tales about Disney's films, theme parks, and Walt himself; and this time they're brimming with holiday cheer:

- The making of Disney classic holiday films like Mickey's Christmas Carol and Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas

- The truth behind Walt Disney's ambivalent attitude toward Christmas

- The story of how Disney creates its holiday parades, decorations, and
processionals in the theme parks

- The rundown of Disney's many Christmas comic books and giveaways, including Walt's early involvement with Toys for Tots

- The history of such "extinct" Disney theme park holiday celebrations as Lights of Winter and Port Orleans Christmas

And best of all: you don't have to wait until Christmas morning!]

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

 Two very interesting books have just been released in Italian. Can't wait to get them...

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The new Disney Twenty Three magazine is about to be released. A few good articles in there, including one about the making of Mickey’s Christmas Carol.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A few days ago, French animation artist Jacques Muller passed away, which is extremely sad news.

Days after his death, I learned that he had self-published a massive autobiography, which I plan to order very soon. I just realized that some of you might want to know about it, hence this post.

Friday, November 09, 2018

I am very much looking forward to the release of Ralph Breaks the Internet. I loved the first movie and I have a feeling (based on the trailer) that this second installment will be excellent.

The "art of" book which I just got from Chronicle Books only heightened my eagerness to see the film. It is full of fun concept art and new characters who look very promising.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Michael Barrier has just released his 1986 interview with Les Novros, Bill Hurtz, and Paul Julian. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

I realize it is expensive but the new Mickey Mouse Taschen book by David Gerstein and JB Kaufman is a "must have". The amount of new material it contains is absolutely stunning. The chapter about the unproduced Mickey shorts is truly revolutionary.

You can see a preview here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

In a cafe in Lucca, my good friend Matteo Moriconi discovered this music sheet from 1933 owned by collector Piero Caniparoli. The music of "Topolino va soldato" was composed in 1933 by Carlo Alberto Pizzini.

According to a site about the composer, Walt Disney heard the music played in Rome on Saturday, July 20, 1935 during the special gala evening in his honor that he attended at the Roman Barberini film theater.

You can listen to a recording of the music at this link.

Friday, November 02, 2018

I love those two early British posters which I discovered recently on the web site of the auction house Bonhams.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A huge Mickey Mouse exhibition will take place at the Castello di Desenzano near Verona in Italy starting on November 10 this year. A catalog in Italian and English is being prepared and will be released towards the end of November. I am currently writing an essay which will be included in that catalog.

Friday, October 26, 2018

In the new Hake's auction there is a also an item that I had never seen before: a pre-WWII pig from Spain by the company Ernesto Cahn. By looking for more online, I found the three pigs in their original box. I will now have to try and find more info about Ernesto Cahn...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The new auction from Hake's contains a few marvelous items. My favorite is this specific piece of artwork. The caption (which I checked for accuracy before it was published) reads:

[15x17.75" frame contains mixed media concept original art for an unproduced Disney project adapting Rudolf Erich Raspe's Baron Munchausen character, specifically Jack Pearl's radio characterization. Art is by Bill Herwig, who joined the Disney studio in Jan. 1934. While all production documentation for this project appears to be lost, a 1935 memo from Disney's Story Research Department mentions a Baron Munchausen idea w/a list of projects in progress including a "Baron Mickey" listed w/story number "M 502." A few years earlier, Disney had begun looking into a way to splice animated sequences into other studios live action films, in a way to add to their exposure while at the same time minimizing the cost of producing a full length feature film on their own. MGM was approached about "The Adventures Of Munchausen" project, w/MGM's David O. Selznick noting that Disney's animation would be the perfect vehicle for conveying the Baron's tendency for telling tall tales. Sadly this project w/Disney's involvement never came to be. The film was eventually released as "Meet The Baron," a solely live action film starring Jack Pearl and Jimmy Durante. Offered here is a glimpse into what might have been. The wonderfully watercolored scene shows a magical kingdom, complete w/a multi-tiered castle (w/some roofs and walls made of Swiss cheese) set against a starry bkg. featuring many stars and a few ringed planets. Herwig has signed in pencil at lower right and art has been attractively matted to 8.25x11". Displays Exc. Superbly detailed original art from a lost Disney project. Rare.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

And I also received my personal copy of Jim Korkis's Secret Stories of Mickey Mouse and love seeing all those facts about Mickey gathered in a single volume.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I just received copies of two of Jim Korkis's latest books: More Secret Stories of Disneyland and Other Secret Stories of Walt Disney World. As always, it is a true pleasure to get Jim's new books and to see even more little-know stories collection in physical volumes.

Way to go to both Jim and Theme Park Press!