Friday, July 28, 2023

Right before he passed away, Jim Korkis wrote the following:

[James (“Jim”) Patrick Korkis was born August 15, 1950, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He passed away at the age of 72 of stage four colon on July 28, 2023. He is survived by his two brothers Michael and Chris. Jim was divorced and had no children.

When he was five years old his family moved to Glendale, California where Jim grew up attending Edison Elementary School (where one of the teachers was Mrs. Disney, the wife of Walt’s older brother Herbert), Roosevelt Junior High, Hoover High, Glendale Junior College and Occidental College where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s Degree with a major in English and a minor in Theater Arts. After graduation he spent two decades teaching English and Drama at Huntington Middle School in San Marino, California. Jim helped pay his way through college by working at the Los Angeles Zoo as a driver and tour guide.

Jim was known as a comics historian writing a column of comics trivia for Amazing Heroes as well as articles for Comic Book Marketplace, Comics Artist and more. He was a vendor at the San Diego ComicCon for several years with the company he co-owned, Korkis and Cawley's Cartoon and Comic Company. He wrote introductions of over three dozen Malibu Graphics collections of vintage comic strips and comic books.

Jim was known as an animation historian who wrote long-running columns for Animation Magazine, Animato!, Animania, Comic Journal, and more. For the last ten years he wrote a weekly column for With writing partner John Cawley he co-wrote four books about animation like Cartoon Confidential.

In California, Jim also pursued a career in theater. He appeared in over 100 theatrical productions, starting with Glendale Center Theater. He directed over 100 stage performances. He did some occasional voice over work.

With his brothers, Jim appeared at The Gong Show, The Dating Game and Family Feud. By himself he appeared on Camouflage (where he won a Cadillac) and the pilot Origins. He appeared on Entertainment Tonight as a Disney historian.

With his brother Mike, Jim developed a comedy magic act as part of a show he wrote and directed at Six Flags Magic Mountain Lucky Louies Roaring ‘20s Revue. They performed at the Variety Arts Theater, Johnathan Clubs, J.C. Penny and more. Jim was a performer in Pelican’s Corner at Magic Mountain and helped design the Halloween Haunted Mountain promotion.

In 1995 he moved to Orlando, Florida to take care of his ailing mom and dad. Jim became identified as a Disney historian and worked as a performer (Merlin in the Sword in the Stone ceremony and Prospector Pat in Frontierland), an animation instructor at The Disney Institute, Guest Relations at Epcot, tour instructor with Disney Adult Discoveries, and coordinator with The Disney Learning Center. He was brought as a special consultant for Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Imagineering and Animation (where he taught different classes for interns) among other departments.

Disney laid off Jim in 2009 along with thousands of others. Jim started writing books about all things Disney and ended up producing over three dozen books. He was a popular guest on podcasts.

Jim's last words: “There are so many books I wanted to read or re-read, so many movies and television shows I wanted to see or re-see and more many food treats I wanted to enjoy again like See’s chocolates. I know God loves me and this is part of his plan. Be happy and kind to each other. When you think of me, I hope you smile. I loved you all and appreciated your generosity, support and hope.”]

Unfortunately I have very sad news to report.

My friend and fellow Disney historian, Jim Korkis, passed away peacefully earlier today.

I will post more about this over the next few days.

My thoughts are with his family and close friends. RIP Jim.


Wednesday, July 26, 2023


Yesterday, I stumbled upon this paragraph in a report from a Mr. Alan Cranston to a Mr. Elmer Davis. At the time Cranston was chief,foreign language division, Office of War Information. He later became a senator.

I wonder what happened of this project and if Cranston interacted even more with the Disney Studios. I suspect he did.

To find out, one would have to dig into Cartons 3 and 4 (Subseries 1.3 -- Office of War Information 1942-1944) in the Alan Cranston Papers, 1914-1993 (BANC MSS 88/214 c) which are preserved at The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

Would one of you be willing to volunteer to do so? If so, could you please email me at

John Musker's caricatures for the cover of Walt's People--Volume 28 just came in. Hurrah! Only a few weeks left until publication.

Monday, July 24, 2023

This just in from Timothy Callaway:

[I just wanted to let you know that Michael Barrier's "The Animated Man" is now available as an audiobook on Audible. I'm spreading the word because it's narrated by my friend and colleague Jack De Golia, a very talented voice actor. ]

Saturday, July 22, 2023

A few days ago I had the wonderful surprise of receiving my own copy of Aaron H. Goldberg new book Presenting Disneyland--Forgotten Photos from Opening Day.

This book is pure joy as it present 100 never-seen-color photos of Disneyland on Opening Day, complete with a selection of articles written around the time of the Opening.

This is a must-have for all of us fans of early Disneyland history.

I cannot thank Aaron enough for putting this marvelous volume together. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

This just in:

[I am a historian currently researching the life and work of filmmaker and teacher Alexander Mackendrick. After a twenty-year career as a director, Mackendrick became founding dean of the film school at the newly founded California Institute of the Arts, as created by Walt Disney and constructed after his death (the campus in Valencia opened to students in 1971). Given its importance as an art school, it is surprising that until now, there has never been any serious historical research done on the early years of CalArts. Two manuscripts are near completion: one is about Mackendrick's teaching career, another is a history of the early years of CalArts, which digs into the formation of the place, when Walt was still alive and very involved. Over the past decade I have rummaged through many archives and interviewed hundreds of people who were students or who taught at the Institute ca.1970 - 1980. Much new material has emerged about Walt's school. I wonder if during their own research anyone has come across any mention of CalArts or encountered material and documentation that I might not have seen. If so, I would be in your debt if you were to get in touch. Please email me at or call me in New York (646) 757 0793. My website, which details my work of the past two decades, is here: Specific mention of my Mackendrick project, including a book I published in 2004, is here:]