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


HELP PRESERVE THE "LOST" OSWALDS AND ALICES

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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

And finally one last post from my historian friend who is selling part of his collection this week on Heritage Auctions:

[MOST IMPORTANT DISNEYLAND HAUNTED MANSION AUCTIONS OF ALL TIME

Two additional items to highlight:

LOT #95012: As far as I know (my info came from the source of both the posters and also in talking to Marc Davis), there are only two Mansion Original Attraction Posters extant that are signed by Marc Davis. This is one of the two.


LOT #95315 This is actually a rarely scene brownline architectural rendering.]


Thursday, June 29, 2017

A good friend who has to sell some exceptional items in the upcoming Heritage auction just sent me the following which will interest many of you:

[PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DISNEYLAND HAUNTED MANSION AUCTIONS OF ALL TIME

THE HAUNTED MANSION GENESIS: This auction contains the HOLY GRAIL Haunted Mansion piece ever offered (LOT #95314); in fact Heritage Auctions wrote about the item, "Here is one of the single most important lots we have ever offered in relation to Disneyland." Strong words.  We all know the history of Walt's Haunted Mansion and how he approached Ken Anderson in 1957 to work up a story and an attraction for Disneyland's Haunted House.  After working on it for the first portion of 1957, Ken had an idea, but Walt sent him back to the drawing board. Ken returned with this piece, "The Haunted House, 2nd Revision, Sept. 17, 1957 by: Ken Anderson." It included a story and a flow through of the attraction, a fold-out architectural rendering of the walk-through attraction, a fold-out brownline of the front of the Mansion (with the Jungle Cruise boat peaking in at the very far left), and history was begun. Also included are two-pages of Ken's hand-written notes taken at the Winchester Mystery House, where Ken tried to track the habits of people walking through the famous Northern California haunted house.  This "report" was placed in Walt's hands and the rest was history.  (Ken also included for Walt's pleasure, a drawing of a ghost done in ink at the end of the report.  There are less than a half dozen of these reports (all different revisions) in existence, but they are all owned by the Walt Disney Archives ... except for this one, Ken's personal copy was given back to him and this piece of rare Haunted Mansion history is now being offered in Heritage Auctions July 2, 2017 sale.  An amazing, one-of-a-kind Disneyland historical like nothing else ever offered.

The above image is a little ink sketch that Ken drew for Walt Disney in the book.

The below  is the far left of the fold out photostat in the binder. You can see fare left and down a bit there is a Jungle Cruise boat, which gives people a bit of the proximity of where the Mansion might be.]

I just got the following note from the collector / historian who is selling the amazing drawing of the Pigs with Laurel and Hardy in the upcoming auction by Heritage Auctions:

[I have some info (and a special piece - a copy of an interesting letter - to go with it that is not in the catalog) on the Oliver Hardy painting in the Heritage Auctions (with two of the Three Little Pigs and an inscription from Walt--disguised as Hank Porter).  It is lot 95007.  One similar to this, but was to Laurel (not Oliver) sold for around $8900 in a Heritage Auction about a year ago (it was HEAVILY faded--mine is pristine). Also more info not in the catalog, the painting was obtained from the Disneyana Store at Disneyland back in the late 1970s. It was acquired by Disney from the Oliver Hardy estate.  They said in their Disneyana card that it had been displayed personally in Hardy's home and was one of his favorites (which the letter also mentions).]

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Disney Books Network was updated today.
I really love the recently-released cover of Don Hahn's upcoming book.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Another amazing series of drawings that will hit the market this week via Heritage Auctions. Those are recently discovered drawings created for Baby Weems by Disney artist Fini Rudiger-Littlejohn. As far as I know those are the only known drawings from Fini Rudiger for that specific project, aside from the one reproduced on page 60 of Before the Animation Begins. I love them!



Friday, June 23, 2017

Look what I found in my mailbox this week!

This is the first physical copy of They Drew As They Pleased - The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age, which will be officially released in October this year.

I will be presenting about the secrets behind the making of this book series on Saturday, July 15, at 11.30AM on the Disney Archives stage at the D23 Expo.

Thursday, June 22, 2017



The Animation Art auction by Heritage Auctions which will take place on July 1 and 2 is, as far as I can tell, the most outstanding animation art auction of all times. This is not an overstatement. It contains so many masterpieces that I do not even know where to start. Here are just a few of the highlights:

- The best piece by Kay Nielsen from Night on Bald Mountain that I have ever seen (above).

-  An incredible original drawing of Laurel and Hardy with two of the Pigs by Hank Porter.

- The complete thumbnails from the Tar Baby sequence in Song of the South by Ken Anderson!!!

- A huge collection of story drawings from the abandoned musical project On the Trail by Retta Scott.

And there is a LOT more.

Even if you do not have the money to bid on anything, you owe it to yourself to check this out.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Needless to say, I can't wait to get this new book by Pierre Lambert, which will be released in France at the end of the year...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Business of Walt Disney by Barry Linetsky is an excellent book. It is the first real attempt at telling the whole story of Walt's career purely from a business standpoint and it definitely achieves its goal. Barry has done his homework. His book is well researched and an easy read (thankfully, since it is 578-page long). He makes excellent use of all the interviews that have been released via Walt's People over the years and of all the other books about Disney history that were not available to his predecessors.

This is therefore an excellent book to get a great overview of Disney's career and one that the casual Disney history enthusiasts will want to read right away.

When it comes to Disney historians, this book might not quite achieve what they are looking for. If you have read everything that has been written throughout the years about Disney history, then you crave books that tap into new sources of information (very rare articles, new interviews, diaries, correspondence, memos, etc.) This is not what you will find in this book. But then again, there are very, very few Disney history books that offer this these days, so this does not take away from the quality of what Linetsky has achieved.


Monday, June 19, 2017

I love Jim Korkis' books. All of them. They are light reading and I always learn something new in all of them. They are also a great starting point to make new discoveries. I find a lead there, a new quote here and this usually sparks new ideas for areas of Disney history that should be researched in depth.

Secret Stories of Disneyland, Jim's new book, released by Theme Park Press, is no exception and I was very glad to add it to my library last week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Will you attend D23 Expo this year? If so, I am glad to say that I will be presenting on the Disney Archives stage for one hour on Saturday, July 15, at 11.30AM. The subject of the presentation:

The Hidden Art of Disney: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the They Drew As They Pleased book series.

I am really looking forward to meeting you all there. After the presentation, I will be glad to sign your books at the booth of Saturday Toys.

For technical reasons, none of the books will be sold at the Expo, but if you bring your own copies, I will be there to personalize them.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Needless to say, I hate this book's cover design. It is, however, easy to read and very enjoyable. Target readers are not Disney historians who will not discover anything new in this volume, but the young nephew or nieces of those Disney historians who want to start getting a sense of what is so fun about Disney and Disney history. A good gift idea if you want to introduce someone to who Walt was and what makes Disneyland special.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This new book by composer and scholar James Bohn is the best study of Disney music to date. It is in-depth and based on excellent research. It is a useful reference book that most Disney historians will thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately the physical book version is also way to expensive, which is a shame as this factor is bound to hurt sales.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I was surprised to hear a few weeks ago from someone I trust that the upcoming book Eat Like Walt by Marcy Carriker Smothers is a volume that is based on a large amount of original, in-depth historical research. I am now very much looking forward to pick it up when it is released.

Friday, June 09, 2017

I just received a review copy of The Art of Cars 3.

I hear that the movie Cars 3 is much better than the previous installment in the franchise, which is good news. Unfortunately there is not much in the book that really excites me. I have a feeling that this is because I am much more interested in character designs than in storyboard drawings and there is very little "concept art" in this book since the Cars universe has already been well-established. In other words, this book was a disappointment.

That being said, I have very high hopes from the next "Art of" book which will follow in this series: The Art of Coco. I just can't wait to get that one!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

I just reviewed a review copy of Poster Art of Cars by Victoria Saxton.

I have never been a big fan of the Cars movies, and so I was surprised by the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Make no mistake, this is not a history book and if you buy it you will not do so for the text. But the art it contains is hilarious and really, really well done. All sorts of takes on real and "fake" (parody) posters from the Cars universe. The overall sense of humor and sense of detail got me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

This just in from Heritage Auctions. I will post a lot more about this historic auction very soon.

[One of the Largest Collections of Fantasia Art Featured in Heritage Animation Auction

DALLAS, Texas (June 5, 2017) – From animation drawings to production cels, concept art to storyboards, Heritage Auctions’ July 1 Animation Sale will offer one of the largest selections of artwork from the groundbreaking classic 1940 Walt Disney animated feature film Fantasia. No other piece highlights the rarity of this auction as well as Kay Nielsen’s epic “Night on Bald Mountain” Concept Painting (Walt Disney, 1940), which is expected to sell for $50,000.

“We’re highlighting this sale featuring ‘The Art of Fantasia,’” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation at Heritage Auctions. “This is one of the largest collections of production artwork – cels, animation drawings, concept art, storyboards  – from this film ever in one auction. Over 60 pieces of original production art for this film are in this sale!”

Being offered is a fantastic original of Mickey Mouse as “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Production Cel. Mickey’s role as the “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is arguably his greatest and most impactful role (est. $15,000). The Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen,makes another appearance with a piece of Preliminary Background Art (est. $10,000). Another piece of animation from Fantasia is a Production Cel from the “Nutcracker Suite” section. This cel features Fantasia’s equivalent of Dopey, Hop Low and the accompanying mushroom dancers. Ben Ali Gator and Hyacinth Hippo Production Cel (est. $5,000) will be a fun hand-inked, hand-painted, fan favorite, and the “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Storyboard Painting (est. $1,000) is a magical representation of Mickey’s role.

In addition to the ample amount of Fantasia production art, pieces from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Song of the South, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Pinocchio as well as rare never-before-seen artwork from all the major animation studios, among others, will be presented in the July event.

Some of the earliest known art to come from the hand of Tim Burton will be offered, such as Stalk of the Celery Monster (est. $10,000) from Burton’s time at Cal Arts in 1979, and The Black Cauldron (Walt Disney, 1985), several concept art pieces from his time as an apprentice at Disney (est. $5,000).

Ken Anderson’s early Disneyland Haunted Mansion Studies (est. $5,000) is one of the most important lots Heritage Auctions has ever offered regarding Disneyland. Based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California, The Haunted Mansion notes and plans are confined to a soft binder that Walt Disney and Ken Anderson loosely designed in 1957, 12 years before the ride officially opened.

One of the earliest known Mighty Mouse Production cels on its Key Master set ups from the cartoon Pandora’s Box is a special lot being offered in this sale. It is a rare, blue Super Mouse (Mighty Mouse) Production Cel on its Key Master hand-painted production background before legal reasons required the character to have his name and colors changed. In this Key Master Background Setup Super Mouse features the original, pre-infringement, Superman colors. This key cel and background set up could be the earliest Key Master Setup of Super Mouse/Mighty Mouse known to exist (est. $5,000).

“This auction will also feature the largest collection of Disneyland hand-silkscreened park entrance posters ever offered to the public,” Lentz said. “These are signed originals highlighted in several books celebrating the art of Disneyland.”


More than 1,000 rare and many never-before-seen lots from all major animation studios from some of the most important people in the history of animation also will be included in this sale.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
·         It’s a Small World Concept Painting by Mary Blair (est. $10,000)
·         Lady and the Tramp Production Cel (est. $1,000)]

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

I have not yet seen Aladdin - The Musical, but I hear it is an excellent show.

I have just received a copy of the book about the making of the show, The Road to Broadway and Beyond Disney Aladdin: A Whole New World by Michael Lassell.

This is a beautiful book and a model when it comes to books about musicals. All is in there: great interviews, beautiful concept art, great behind-the-scenes photos. If you are into Broadway musicals, especially Disney ones, this book is definitely for you. It is a home-run.

Monday, June 05, 2017

There are two upcoming Disney-related auctions that are really worth paying attention to these days as both contain astounding treasures.

The first one is focused on the Disney parks. It is organized by Van Eaton Galleries and will take place on June 25.

One of the most exceptional items it contains is the map that Roy O. Disney brought to New York at the end of 1953 to convince the bankers and the TV networks to invest in Disneyland. This is the real deal. It is the original document enhanced by hand by Herb Ryman himself based on the original map he drew a short time earlier on Walt's request. More about this at this link.

I will discuss the second exceptional auction later this week. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

This is a series of lectures I would really have loved to attend.

On a more serious note: we know that transcripts of those lectures existed at some point. One of them (the Joe Grant one) has survived. I really hope that one day we will be able to locate all the others if someone saved them... 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Claude Marin was the most "Disney" of all the French artists working for Le Journal de Mickey after WWII and until the 1990s. I had the chance of getting to know him at the end of his life. He truly loved Disney and drawing Mickey and his friends.

I just discovered this tribute to his non-Disney art from Le Journal de Mickey a few weeks ago. This book was released in France in 2007. Its print run was limited to 200 copies.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Japanese friend recently picked up for me this huge catalog from the exhibition that is currently taking place in Tokyo at the Miraikan Museum. Some good stuff in there.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The blog will be updated again on May 30.
This just in from Ken Kebow:

[I wanted to let you know that our award-winning short documentary about Rolly is now available for purchase!!! Interested parties can go to "www.rollycrump.com" to order their DVD copies.]

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A new, expanded version of this seminal book (in Norwegian) has just been released.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I just received this book last week. To be totally candid, I have never been very interested in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so the second part of this volume is one I skipped completely. The first part deals with all of the pirates-related projects that were developed under Walt as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.

It is a well-written book and quite thorough when it comes to giving an overview of everything Disney related to pirates.

What made the book worthwhile from my standpoint are the pages about the movie Treasure Island which include quite a bit of artwork that I had never seen before. The section about Pirates of the Caribbean is also quite good although I did not discover much in it. At the very beginning of the book is one story sketch from the abandoned Goofy short How to Be a Pirate. I wish there had been a lot more about that abandoned project, which really intrigues me.

Bottom-line: this is not a bad book. For historians and history enthusiasts, it's a nice-to-have (but not a "must have") that does contain a few cool surprises.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Do not miss today on CartoonBrew the preview of Mindy Johnson's long awaited book Ink & Paint - The Women of Walt Disney's Animation!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


And here is another drawing by Ward Kimball, released in the magazine Script on May 25, 1940.

Monday, April 17, 2017

My good friend Paul Sorokowski spent some time last week researching old issues of the magazine Script. In a few of them he discovered some gag drawings created by Ward Kimball. This one was released in the January 27, 1940 issue of the magazine.

We have Norman Ferguson (Fergy) on the right, but who is his assistant "Mike"? I do not have the answer. Could anyone help?