Sunday, December 04, 2022


I realize that Made of Pen & Ink: Fleischer Studios The New York Years is not a book about Disney, but I know that many of you will want to know about its recent release. I just ordered it and will find out soon how good it is.

Friday, December 02, 2022

I can't wait for Heritage Auctions' upcoming auction in a few days. 

Two of my favorite oddball items are these two Mickey Mouse drawings attributed to Tom Wood for the unreleased Red Book magazine spread Mickey Mouse on Inflation.


 

Friday, November 25, 2022


I am really looking forward to Pixar's Elemental and I will definitely want to pick up The Art of Elemental when it is released by Chronicle Books.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Saturday, November 19, 2022


Amazing Disney auction coming up soon, courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

When I received The Disney Animation Renaissance yesterday, I first read the short biography of the author. I learned that Mary E. Lescher worked as a cameraperson and scene planner for Walt Disney Feature Animation. I also discovered that she passed away back in 2019 and will not be able to see her book released, which I found to be very sad.

Especially because her history of Disney's Floridian studio, based on dozens of first-hand interviews, is a fascinating one and deserves to be kept among the best books about recent Disney history. I can't wait to read it from cover to cover.

This has been a really good year for Disney history.

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

I am not sure if I will like the movie Strange World, but what I can already tell you is that I love the book The Art of Strange World, which contains some stunning artwork by Paul Felix, Mike Gabriel, Craig Elliott and Don Hall, but also by Larry Wu, Tadahiro Uesugi and Scott Watanabe, whose style I adore. 
 

Sunday, November 13, 2022


This art book, released for the 30 years of Disneyland Paris is full of amazing concept art (complete with additional info and credits) and is definitely a "must have"!

Wednesday, November 09, 2022


A few years ago, my good friend Joe Campana and I had the pleasure of locating rare movie footage shot at Disney's Hyperion studio by animator Frenchy de Tr√©maudan. Along with that outstanding footage (including shots of Walt Disney and his artists studying live penguins while preparing to work on "Peculiar Penguins") we also unearthed biographical notes and a marvelous scrapbook full of caricatures and gag drawings by Frenchy and his many colleagues. 

It took close to 5 years and the efforts of Joe Campana, Steve and Virginia Reeser, Lucas Seastrom, Jenna Benton, Mike Vaughn, Jim Hollifield and J.B. Kaufman, to organize all of this material and present it in book form... a massive 300-pages, full-color book.

It is finally available on Amazon


If you have friends who love Disney history and own everything released on the subject, you could not find a better gift for them this holiday season.

Monday, November 07, 2022


I have been looking forward to the released of Robert Neuman's book From Hollywood to Disneyland for a long time and when I got my copy earlier today I was not disappointed.

From the little I have read until now and based on the quantity and the quality of the endnotes, I am already confirmed that this book is a "must have" and a "must read," especially if you are interested in the early days of Disneyland or in the influence of American movies on the Happiest Place on Earth.

Kuddos to Robert Neuman and his publisher McFarland! 

Friday, November 04, 2022

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Leslie Iwerks' new book The Imagineering Story is a masterpiece, which comes as no surprise.

What is astonishing is the fact that this 700+ book is not an art book. This is wonderful and (to me at least until D23 Expo) totally unexpected news. In other words, those 700+ pages are practically pure text. Hurrah!

In addition, Leslie does something that I love: she focuses on the men and women of Imagineering. He book is mostly based on interviews.

This means that, like Leslie's documentary on Disney+, from a historical standpoint, the book becomes stronger and more detailed as it progresses closer to our time period.

I suspect that to understand in detail the full story of Walt Disney Imagineering one will need to read both Leslie Iwerks' massive volume, as well as Tom Morris' upcoming series of 4 monographs about the early days of Imagineering (to be released by the Hyperion Historical Alliance Press).

Between the two of them they are in the process of revolutionizing our understanding of Imagineering history.

 


The second volume of my good friend Christian Renaut's book series The Best of Disney's Animated Features has just been released. Congratulations!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Disney Editions outdid themselves this year. Their Holidays line-up is absolutely spectacular. I just received three new books from them which are all winners in their respective categories. I will review all three here over the next few days.

Let's start with the one that surprised me the most: Poster Art of the Disney Parks -- Second Edition is not just a slightly updated version of the 2012 book. With an additional 100 pages (!!) this is really a brand-new book. More text, more illustrations, more information and way, way more posters, including development artwork for those posters. This is the kind of book I was hoping for in 2012. Better late than never.

In other words: I was blown away by this volume. Definitely a "must-have" and a great gift for the Holidays.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

And, in exclusivity, here are a few interior pages from Pierre Lambert's upcoming book about Peter Pan!



 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Notably Disney just released an interview with me about the making of The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 08, 2022

And we have lift-off!!! 

The new monograph is now available via Stuart Ng Books at this link.

Please, please support of efforts by getting your copy. I have a feeling you will not regret it!

(No date yet for the distribution in Europe, but I will keep you updated).

 

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Two great books that have just been released in Denmark (in Danish). Beyond the comics, there is enough bonus content in each (history, interviews, essays, sketches and photos) to make both of them a great read for Danish speakers.

 

Monday, October 03, 2022

I can't wait to receive my copy of Alberto Beccatini's new book (in Italian) about artist Tony Strobl (famous in the Disney world for his work on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics).
 

Sunday, October 02, 2022


LOOKING FOR OTTO ENGLANDER'S PAPERS

I just learned that, before she passed away in 2008, Erna Englander, widow of Disney's story artist Otto Englander, sold his Disney papers to a collector. Sadly the name of that collector is unknown.

If you are that collector or if you know who the collector is, could you please email me at didier.ghez@gmail.com? Many thanks in advance!

Thursday, September 22, 2022


And we have a cover drawing for Walt's People - Volume 27, courtesy of John Musker.

I expect the book to be released in about 6 weeks. More soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Keith Scott's long awaited book Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, 1930-70 have just been released. Those are critically important reference books for animation historians. I just ordered my own copies. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

This is slightly off-topic, but this new book by my friend Adam Abraham (author of When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA) is a great read. Since it contains quite a bit of material about Howard Ashman, Alan Menken and The Muppet Show, I do not think it is inappropriate to mention it here. Some of you will really enjoy it.
 


J.B. Kaufman and I had a lot of fun this weekend at D23 Expo. All advanced copies of "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" sold out. So did the 40 copies we had of "The Making of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free." 

There are just a few copies left of the first printing of "The Making of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free" available via Stuart Ng Books. If you want to get it, I would advise you to get it today. We do not know if or when there will be a second printing.

We will receive the bulk of the copies of "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" in early October. I will let you know when that happens. Thanks to all of you for your support!

Wednesday, August 31, 2022


This just in from Jim Korkis about his new book:

[Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘till Morning!

 

Soar through the skies of London and Never Land with Peter Pan and his friends! Read in Walt Disney’s own words his feelings and ideas about Never Land.  Discover why it took nearly twenty years to make the animated feature even though Walt wanted it released in 1940.  Learn how to make an official Tinker Bell cocktail that delighted Disney Legend Marc Davis. 

 

For everyone who never wants to grow up even as they grow older, this book shares seventy years of stories of Disney’s version of the Peter Pan story from Walt Disney’s first encounter as a child in 1909 with a memorable theatrical stage production to the upcoming live action movie.

 

This book thanks to years of intensive original research and interviews with people involved documents information that has never before been in print.  Every page features something new that will be unfamiliar to even the most dedicated fan.

 

Who was brought into the Disney Studio to create a bell “vocabulary” for Tinker Bell?  Why is Captain Hook’s deadly hook on the wrong hand?  On what other projects did Bobby Driscoll supply the voice of Peter Pan in the 1950s?  What is the complete list of Tinker Bell peanut butter commercials and who animated them?

 

Not only is the classic Disney animated feature covered in extensive detail but there are chapters about Peter Pan merchandise, the Peter Pan presence in the Disney theme parks including Disneyland’s first flying Tinker Bells and attractions, Peter Pan in ice skating shows, Disney comics and more.

 

Chapters are devoted to other projects that were inspired by the original film including Return to Never Land, Pixie Hollow & Tinker Bell Films and Jake and the Never Land Pirates among others.  Chapters also showcase James M. Barrie’s original work and the 1921 Paramount silent film version of Barrie’s play that Walt Disney purchased for ideas.   

 

Each chapter is self-contained so there is no necessity to read this book from beginning to end but readers can skip to those chapters that hold the most interest for them.  

 

With a little faith, trust and pixie dust, this book will transport you to a magical land where dreams are born and countless adventures await the young-in-heart.]

Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction by Margaret Kerry

Sir James Barrie & Peter Pan

Maude Adams

Silent Movie Version (1924)

Walt’s Thoughts on Peter Pan

Making of Disney’s Peter Pan

Disney’s Peter Pan (1953)

Live Action Reference

Character Profile:  Peter Pan

Character Profile:  Captain Hook

Character Profile: Tinker Bell

Margaret Kerry Interview

Character Profile: The Darling Family & the Lost Boys

Character Profile:  Never Land Tribe & Mermaids

Selling Peter Pan

Peter Pan in Comics

Tinker Bell Peanut Butter Commercials (1954)

Peter Pan in the Parks

Back to Never Land (1989)

Peter Pan on Ice

Return to Never Land  (2002)

Pixie Hollow & Tinker Bell Films  (2008)

Jake and the Never Land Pirates (2011)

The Rest of the Story

Afterword by June Foray

About the Author

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


It is with immense sadness that I learned yesterday that Ralph Eggleston had passed. Ralph was a wonderful individual, an incredibly talented artist and the director of my favorite Pixar short of all time, For The Birds.

This excellent article on CartoonBrew will tell you more about a person we will all miss dearly.

Friday, August 26, 2022

 I have just updated the Disney Books Network.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


VOLUNTEER NEEDED AT USC

Are you a student or a member of faculty at USC? If so, could you please contact me at didier.ghez@gmail.com?

I am trying to conduct research about Mickey Mouse in the 1930s in the archives of the Japan Times, and one of the few universities that seem to grant access to their online archives is USC. 

Many thanks in advance.

Friday, August 19, 2022



My upcoming monograph, "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" is a 166-pages-long, hard-cover publication, in color and fully illustrated with more than 100 photos and drawings, most of which have never-been-seen before in book form.


Before its official release at D23 Expo this year, I thought you would enjoy a preview. Here is how the first chapter starts: 


Let’s start with legend. This is how, in February 1955, "Reader’s Digest" explained the birth of the True-Life Adventures, through the voice of cinematographer Al Milotte:


"When I had a store in Alaska, Walt Disney walked in and said, 'How would you like to make some pictures for me up there?' I said, 'What kind of pictures?' He said vaguely, 'I don’t know—just pictures. Movies. You know—mining, fishing, building roads, the development of Alaska. I guess it will be a documentary or something—you know.'

I didn’t, but we went out and shot everything that moved and sent it to him. After a while he wired, 'Too many mines. Too many roads. More animals. More Eskimos.'

I wired, 'How about fur seals?'… Walt wired, 'Shoot fur seals,' and off we went."


This is a great story, and a wonderful tall tale. More compelling than this legend is the real account of the origins of Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures, a series, which, in the late 1940s, revolutionized the art of nature cinematography as Ken Burns would reinvent the art of historical documentaries half a century later. To understand how and why the first of the True-Life Adventures, "Seal Island," was shot, produced, and released, we have to travel not only to Alaska but also to Arizona and to Maine. We have to unearth some of the abandoned True-Life Adventures, from "The Story of the Nile" to "Wild Horse Story." And we have to go back in time, to the year 1943, when Walt was starting to plan for the creative rebirth of The Walt Disney Studios after WWII.

In fact, our story begins even earlier, in the woods of Maine, in the Summer of 1938. Ten years before the completion of "Seal Island," our tale already features a team of naturalists armed with a camera.

Monday, August 15, 2022


Another exceptional book to be released (in France) in a few months. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to it.

Friday, August 12, 2022


D23 EXPO ANNOUNCEMENT

A reminder to all of you that my new monograph, "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" will be released at D23 Expo this year. We will be selling it at the Hyperion Historical Alliance-Ryman Arts booth. Due to supply chain issues, only 75 copies will be available during the Expo (and I will probably buy the first one for myself). If you want to get your copy before November / December this will be the only place to do so.
We will also be selling the remaining 40 copies of the "Making of Walt Disney's Fun and Fancy Free" monograph by JB Kaufman and also all three issues of the Hyperion Historical Alliance Annuals.
Both JB and I will be at the booth the whole time to autograph our monographs and the Annual.
I am very, very proud of the new monograph and consider its content to be quite revolutionary. It is the very first time this story is being told; most of the sources I used had never been accessed before (that includes the papers of artist Holling C. Holling, the lost autobiography of Al and Elma Milotte and much more); and most of the illustrations are seen in book form for the very first time.
The first chapter deals with the genesis of the True-Life Adventures: the research trip to Maine in 1938 during the making of "Bambi." (It includes never-seen-before photographs of the trip and a first-person account of it!)
The second chapter focuses on Disney's educational projects during WWII (in a lot more detail that what we knew until now).
The third chapter covers Al and Elma Milotte's one-year-long trip to Alaska and quotes from their correspondence and recently rediscovered autobiography.
The fourth chapter gives information about the roads not taken: the early shelved True-Life Adventures.
Finally, the fifth chapter tells the story of the making of the first of the True-Life Adventures: Seal Island.
We can't wait to see you at the Expo!

Sunday, July 17, 2022


This just in from Jim Korkis about his latest book:

[In the five previous volumes of this Secret Stories series of books, hundreds of tales have been shared about the storytelling elements at the Walt Disney World theme parks, the WDW resort hotels, the water parks, the shopping areas and much more. 

 

This book is designed to help Disney guests understand what they are seeing and why it is there.  This volume concludes the first fifty years of the Florida vacation destination with a hundred more similar stories to enhance the understanding and appreciation of WDW.    

 

As WDW enters its next fifty years, extreme changes are happening so quickly that it is more than challenging to try to document them.  In the blink of an eye, the Confectionery on Main Street tossed out twenty years of theming and expanded into The Chapeau hat shop next door removing all of its theming as well.

 

Epcot has begun its massive transformation into four “neighborhoods”:  World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.  Not only has the Magic Band been upgraded and made no longer complimentary for resort guests, Fast Pass has been eliminated and replaced by Genie+ and Lightning Lane

 

So it seemed an appropriate time to conclude the Secret Stories series of books with this volume and let others document the next fifty years. As with previous volumes, this book shares the rarely told stories of WDW including:

 

Ariel the Little Mermaid at the Magic Kingdom, the music of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the stories of the Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Norway pavilion trolls at Epcot and more are documented.

 

The detailing in the Art of Animation resort includes subtle references to the Disney-Pixar animated feature Cars, how pin trading began at WDW, the back stories of some of the locations at Disney Springs, Grand Floridian fun facts and much more fill the following pages.

 

Things that were advertised but never built like Dick Tracy’s Chicago Land, the Buena Vista Street PeopleMover, the Epcot International Airport and the things that disappeared like the Mickey Mouse Revue, Walk Around the World Bricks, Cranium Command, Fort Wilderness Resort Railroad are in these pages.

 

The exciting thing about Walt Disney World is that it is a living entity and constantly growing so there is always something new to discover and this book will help remember many of the things before they are changed yet again.]

Monday, July 11, 2022


Awesome news: The 2021/2022 Hyperion Historical Alliance Annual has now been officially released. You can order it at this link

As an added bonus, to thank you all for the long wait, we have decided to offer a 76% discount for a limited time only. The HHA Annual is priced at $3.58 instead of $14.99 right now.

I have a feeling you will really love the essays it contains. The one I wrote about Walt Kelly at Disney includes an interesting surprise about the Disney roots of the comic strip Pogo!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2022

My copy of The Disney Revolt, the new book by my friend and fellow Disney historian Jake Friedman should be arriving today. I can't wait.

I read the book in manuscript form and here is what I thought at the time:

"The Disney Revolt--the first in-depth day-by-day history of the seminal 1941 Disney strike--is a meticulously researched book, and a page-turner. Jake Friedman provides enlightening context, offers a balanced account of the traumatic events, and brings all the actors of this colorful drama to life. It feels like taking a time machine and actually being there in person."

Run to get your copy!

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

So, now that "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures" is at the printer, some of you may wonder what other Disney history-related projects I am working on at the moment aside from future volumes of "Walt's People."

The list is a long one. 

1. I am preparing three essays for future volumes of the Hyperion Historical Annual: One about Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen, the second about Disney and Edgar Bergen (including two shelved projects) and the third about Disney's French projects from the mid-1940s.

2. J.B. Kaufman, Ted Thomas and I have just finished writing a new monograph titled "Walt Disney and El Grupo in Latin America," the first day-by-day account of the famous 1941 trip, complete with close to 240 photographs. The monograph is in layout phase.

3. Libby Spatz and I are currently researching and writing a two-part monograph about "Mickey Mouse on Stage and on Radio in the 1930s." This groundbreaking project will cover the origins of the Mickey Mouse clubs in the US and around the world, the Mickey Mouse stage shows (in the US and abroad), the Mickey Mouse marionette shows, the Mickey Mouse parades costumes and floats (in the US and abroad), Mickey Mouse Christmas window displays, and Mickey Mouse on radio in the US and abroad. As always, 90% of the material we unearthed has never been seen before. 

4. Jim Hollifield and I are working on a monograph about "The Making of Darby O'Gill and the Little People." I have written the first half, which focuses on the research trip and the various versions of the story, and will now start help Jim gather material for him to write the second half, which deals with the actual making of the movie.

5. And next week I will have the opportunity to start conducting research for the sequel to the monograph about "The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures." That new monograph, "Walt Disney's Adventures in Music, History and Nature," will deal with some overlooked projects from the 1940s and 1950s.

In other words, there is lots on my plate, which is a good thing. 

 

Friday, June 17, 2022


One of the most exciting projects I have been working on over the past three years is the new, hard-cover, fully-illustrated monograph The Origins of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures.

This second instalment in the Hyperion Historical Alliance's monograph series will be released in September this year, at the time of the D23 Expo.

I am very, very proud of this new publication and consider its content to be quite revolutionary. It is the very first time this story is being told; most of the sources I used had never been accessed before (that includes the papers of artist Holling C. Holling, the lost autobiography of Al and Elma Milotte and much more); and most of the illustrations are seen in book form for the very first time.

The first chapter deals with the genesis of the True-Life Adventures: the research trip to Maine in 1938 during the making of "Bambi." (It includes never-seen-before photographs of the trip and a first-person account of it!)

The second chapter focuses on Disney's educational projects during WWII (in a lot more detail that what we knew until now).

The third chapter covers Al and Elma Milotte's one-year-long trip to Alaska and quotes from their correspondence and recently rediscovered autobiography.

The fourth chapter gives information about the roads not taken: the early shelved True-Life Adventures.

Finally, the fifth chapter tells the story of the making of the first of the True-Life Adventures: Seal Island.

Much more to come about this new monograph, very soon. I can't tell you how glad I am to know that it has finally been sent to the printer! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022


A few years back, while researching the fifth volume of the They Drew as They Pleased -- The Hidden Art of Disney book series, I stumbled upon the lost autobiography of Disney artist and musician Danny Alguire.


Over the past three years, jazz historian Hal Smith, myself and Lucas Seastrom (who is a Disney historian, a specialist of the Firehouse Five Plus Two and a jazz historian) have been working on getting the book into print. Lucas served as the principal editor on this project and, thanks to BearManor Media, we are getting very, very close to publication.


More about this very soon.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022


The first two years of the pandemic slowed things down... a lot. But they did not stop Disney research in its tracks. In fact, in 2020 and 2021 I had the opportunity of focusing on many projects that I would not have thought of tackling in normal times (more about these revolutionary projects in a few days).


With companies and other institutions finally reopening, several projects that had been on hold are finally seeing the light of day. I will be sharing a lot of good news over the next few days...


Starting with the fact that the new Hyperion Historical Alliance Annual has just been approved for release and should be available on Amazon by early July.


I have to admit that I am very, very proud of its content. We are covering a lot of new ground in this issue and the level of scholarly research is astounding. All the essays are also very fun to read, of course.


I have a feeling you will really enjoy this new issue of the HHA Annual.

Monday, June 13, 2022


This just in from Jim Korkis about his new book Disneyland Historical Highlights 1954 - 1972:


[The Disneyland Stories You Were Never Told


Take an anecdotal time-travel trip back to the memorable years when Walt Disney and his brother Roy were operating Disneyland.  Those magical years were a time when Walt’s park was not an overpriced reservation vacation but truly the Happiest Place on Earth.


Each chapter in this book is devoted to a specific year in that early history of Disneyland from 1954 to 1972 and are filled with stories that have been forgotten or never told. 


Besides information each year on such things as ticket prices, attendance, the Candlelight Processional narrator, employment numbers, each chapter has several short essays about the events, attraction openings and much more that occurred during that particular year.


While most histories of Disneyland will focus on the fact that 1959 saw the introduction of the first three “E Ticket” attractions (Submarine Voyage, Monorail and Matterhorn bobsleds), this book also details the “Western Weekend” when television cowboy stars appeared for a three day weekend,  the infamous Car Club Day that inspired Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to create his Rat Fink character, Nikita Khruschev’s failed attempt to visit Disneyland, the complete schedule of events for the June 14 dedication ceremonies and more.  


So much was going on at Disneyland every year that all the information was never properly documented and interesting little historical tidbits have slipped through the cracks but are finally recounted in this book.


Every page contains something that might surprise even the most avid Disneyland afficionado drawn from decades of research, personal experience as well as exclusive interviews with the Imagineers and executives who were there during those years.    


Everything from a Yippie Invasion that shut down the park to when Annette dressed as an Indian princess signing autographs in the Indian Village to why the Enchanted Tiki Room did not become a restaurant as originally planned are revealed in this book. 


For those who were there, the book will bring back fond memories and for those who weren’t, it will give some insight into how those early years were so magical and so memorable for so many Disneyland guests.]

Sunday, June 05, 2022

A few interesting books coming up next year!

Thanks to David Peake for the heads up.




 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


This just in from Michael Crawford:

[I hope you are well. I just wanted to let you know that I've started digitizing my collection of documents and ephemera and uploading them to a centralized location at the Internet Archive. My hope is to provide an accessible archive of these things for everyone, especially as they have become harder to find and much more expensive to acquire through eBay and other places.

Everything has been scanned at high resolution and converted to OCR PDFs, so people can search for keywords. Hopefully it'll prove useful or at least interesting to some folks.

It all can be found here]



Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Don't miss this new website! Some marvelous material in there. And, of course, I can't wait for the book to be released.

Thursday, May 12, 2022


 Will I enjoy the movie? Who knows? 

The book The Art of Lightyear for its part is excellent, like everything that Chronicle Books releases. (Needless to say I am biased ;-)