Friday, May 31, 2019

This just in from Michael Goldberg:

[Didier- Don’t know if you were ever a fan of Motion Picture Special effects, but this short video with Albert Whitlock, who had worked at Disney in the '50s and early '60s, has a nice piece about Whitlock’s work on “Ten Who Dared” an early '60s Disney Film about John Wesley Powell - Explorer of the Colorado River.

Anyway, he talks about one matte painting in the film and how Walt did not like it and his solution.

I have heard the story referenced before, but this is from the Horse’s mouth, as the saying goes!

This link takes you to a wonderful website about Matte Painting by a fellow in New Zealand. This entry is all about Disney Films and contains images that Whitlock refers to in his video.]

Thursday, May 30, 2019

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

[In over eighty individual chapters, each filled with facts, quotes, and anecdotes, Disney historian Jim Korkis chronicles the very best of a Disneyland that no longer exists, taking us back in time to "Walt's park" and revealing how it has changed between then and now.

Live mermaids swimming in the Submarine Lagoon. ... Pack mules nipping at the shoes of children. ... Flying saucers hovering inches in the air over a circular floor. For many people this was the Disneyland of their youth, but over the years dozens of shows, attractions, and experiences have disappeared forever from the Happiest Place on Earth.

In this latest volume of his best-selling Secret Stories series, Korkis shares behind-the-scenes information—much of it never before in print—about what used to delight guests at Disneyland.

From Main Street's Intimate Apparel Shop and Frontierland's Mineral Hall, to Fantasyland's Pirate Ship restaurant and Adventureland's Barker Bird, Korkis excavates, unearths, and discovers a Disneyland past that will be sweetly nostalgic to some, and a unique glimpse into a forgotten past for others.

Who knows what we'll find!]

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

I have just received my own copy of Ross Anderson's long-awaited book about the making of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

If you look at the back cover, you will see that I wrote about it: "Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat makes a significant contribution to the fields of animation history, Disney history, and film history. The research that Anderson conducts is in-depth, original, and all-encompassing. His whole book covers ground that has mostly never been covered before."

I strongly believe this. The amount of original research that Ross conducted to write this book is staggering. However, be warned: this is not a book that is easy to read. The amount of information it contains is much too rich for it to be the case. It is a fantastic reference book and you will learn a lot by reading it. However, Ross tried to include so much in it that it also makes it a difficult read. That is the main drawback.

I had seen an early manuscript and what I discovered with great pleasure in the finished book is a large amount of photos that I had never seen before and which enrich it even more.

This is a must-have and not just if you enjoy Roger Rabbit. There is so much about the "Disney Studio transition" period of the 1970s and early 1980s that you are bound to find the content of this book fascinating in one way or another.

Way to go Ross.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This just in from Theme Park Press. I can't wait to read this new book!

[As a motion-picture writer, director, producer, and cinematographer, Jack Couffer shot wildlife films for Walt Disney, journeying to some of the most remote and exotic places on earth. Here, in his final book, he shares powerful, poignant stories about his favorite subject: animals.

Couffer made Disney feature and television films for 30 years. The Living Desert, Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, Never Cry Wolf, and a dozen other titles bear his identity. His stories filmed in far-away places like Africa, the Galápagos Islands, Antarctica, and the wilds of the American West give us a glimpse into the pains and joys of working with friends and adversaries inside the Disney studio.

Replete with photos, My Boss, Walt is Jack Couffer's swan-song chronicle of his long life of exploration, adventure, and joy.]

Friday, May 24, 2019

This new book by author Andrew Kiste is a very welcome surprise. It is very well written and well researched. Andrew got access to documents from the GE Archives, for example, which I had no idea existed. This is a great reference about Disney and the 1964/65 World's Fair, which is well worth picking up.

I have only two minor issues with what I read until now:
- I wish that the author had added footnotes. I am a pain in the neck about this, but I really like to know exactly where the information mentioned in the text comes from.
- Based on the bibliography, it seems like the author may not be aware of the special issue of the magazine Persistence of Vision about Disney and the World's Fair, which I found a little unsettling if correct.

Those are two small points however. I really enjoyed this book. 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

The new animation art auction from Heritage coming up on June 15 and 16 is spectacular. You should really have a look at its stunning catalog.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

As we await the release of They Drew as They Pleased - Volume 5 in just a few weeks (now only $35 on Amazon!) I wanted to mention that Volume 6 (the final volume in the series) got the official go-ahead from Chronicle Books a few days ago. It will be released next year and will focus on the lives, careers and art of Joe Grant, Hans Bacher, Mike Gabriel and Michael Giaimo.

Monday, May 20, 2019

I just received this new book. I really enjoy all of Jim Korkis' books, but I believe this is the best one to date. It is very easy to read, more than 300-page long, and full of stories that I had not seen anywhere else before. Way to go Jim!

Friday, May 17, 2019

I just received a copy of this new book and thoroughly enjoy it. There are apparently so many new incidental characters in this upcoming movie that the concept artists had a ball while designing them... and it shows. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I just spotted this book on Amazon but have not yet picked it up.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

This weekend I received the very first physical copy of They Drew as They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Early Renaissance (The 1970s and 1980s), which focuses on the art and careers of Ken Anderson and Mel Shaw.  This is the book I had been hoping to write my whole life. It will be released this August. I am offering you a small sample below.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Like many of you I am currently watching the final episodes of Game of Thrones. As you know the series is based on books by author George R.R. Martin. Is there a link between Martin and Disney? It turns out there is, via Edgar Rice Burroughs!

In the 1990s, the Walt Disney Studios was trying to adapt A Princess of Mars to the screen and asked Melinda M. Snodgrass and George R.R. Martin to write a treatment. Copies of the work they did on the project can be found at the Cushing Library.

Friday, May 10, 2019

My friend David Peake has just spotted three interesting upcoming books on Amazon:

- The Art of Frozen II by Jessica Julius

- A Tale of Transformation: Twenty-Five Years of Beauty and the Beast On Stage by Jeff Kurtti

- Disney's Land by Richard Snow

Thursday, May 09, 2019

I am really looking forward to picking up the second volume of Julie Andrews' autobiography, which focuses on her years in Hollywood, including the making of Mary Poppins.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

I am supporting this new book project by David Koenig. I hope many of you will too.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

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

[How the Magic Was Born

Once upon a time, the swampy flatlands of central Florida were home to oranges, cattle, and alligators. Then a man came and said, "lo, there shall be a theme park." A few years later, swampland turned to fantasyland, as Walt Disney World arose. This is the story of how it happened.

Jim Korkis, the world's premiere Disney historian, weaves a compelling, organized tale from the thousands of details, reports, and eyewitness accounts—some of them never before in print— about the early days of the most magical place on earth. As with his companion book,
The Unofficial Disneyland 1955 Companion, Korkis delivers a top-down history, from the perspective of high-level Disney executives to that of front-line Disney cast members.

Korkis begins with the initial surveys of the Disney World site in 1958 and takes the story through 1972, telling the complete and definitive story of how the park was designed and built, and how it was run during its first year.

As Walt Disney stood on a swampy marsh in central Florida not long before his death in 1966, he did not see a wilderness, he saw a bright city of tomorrow, a towering castle, innovative hotels, and above all, families having fun in themed lands of wonder.

We know how the story turned out, but now you can stand alongside Walt and experience it all over again, from the very beginning.]