Friday, February 28, 2014

Coming soon...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Since today marks the released by Theme Park Press of Lonnie Burr's autobiography, The Accidental Mouseketeer, I decided to interview Theme Park Press' owner, Bob McLain to learn a little more about the book.

Didier Ghez: How much of The Disney Mouseketeer is actually linked to Disney?

Bob McLain: There are two long chapters focused specifically on the Mickey Mouse Club and on various Disney events involving the Mouseketeers from the 1950s through the present. In addition, most of the other chapters have sections about Lonnie's involvement with Disney and Disney notables like Roy E. Disney, Bill Justice, Roy Williams, Michael Eisner, and others.

DG: The book was previously released by Bear Manor Media. How much new content does this book contain and how much of it is related to Disney.

BM: Lonnie added an entirely chapter, most of it about Disney, that brings the story up to date. He also revised and updated most of the other chapters. The Theme Park Press edition of the book has a new cover, professional editing, and a cover price $10 less than the original.

DG: What are the key surprises we can expect?

BM: They wouldn't be surprises if I told you! But I'll give you some teasers: Lonnie goes into detail about backstage antics on the set of The Mickey Mouse Club; his teen relationship with Annette Funicello; his fistfight with another Mouseketeer; his recollection of parties at Roy Williams' house; his post-Mouseketeer dealings with Disney, and his opinion of how Disney treats the stars which made the company so much money and which gave Walt the income he needed to complete Disneyland; and lots more.
Lonnie also explains why he was an "accidental" Mouseketeer, and how he never would have put on his ears without some very powerful (and likely illegal, today) persuasion by a Disney executive.

DG: Any other things you would like to mention about this book?

BM: Lonnie Burr was much, much more than a Mouseketeer, and since this book is his life story, quite a bit of it is about what Lonnie did before the Mouseketeers (as a child actor in 1940s and early 1950s Hollywood) and after the Mouseketeers, when his career in film and on stage truly blossomed. He has stories about working with celebrities like Elvis, Steven Spielberg, Roy Rogers, Billy Crystal, the Lone Ranger, and dozens of others.
Lonnie is never sentimental, and his recollections are unflinchingly honest. Although once a child star, with millions of fans, Lonnie had to deal - sometimes badly - with what happens when the clubhouse closes and the Disney contract ends.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

 A few more Swedish cards from the '30s.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This just in from Gunnar Andreassen:

[Yesterday I found a Swedish Musse Pigg card on Ebay, that were new to me, issued by the Alifa Company. Some information below, found on the net:

"The most famous collectible images/cards are undoubtedly ALFA pictures/cards, released by the Alifa Company. The pictures came with when you bought the tablet case "Alfa-lozenge". According to the box's front was lozenges "tasty, refreshing," which many questioned ....

The first Alfa images were found in the '30s. There were both sportsmen as well as Mickey Mouse and hilarious animals that one could collect."

On one of the cards you see Musse Pigg shaking hands with Sven Hedin.

Sven Anders Hedin  (born February 19, 1865, Stockholm, Sweden—died November 26, 1952, Stockholm), Swedish explorer who led through Central Asia a series of expeditions that resulted in important archaeological and geographical findings.  However, he had some nazi sympathies.

Quote from a Swedish Internet forum:

"Extremely scarce cards that show how Mickey travel around the world. Coolest / strangest are probably pictures where Mickey posing together with Stalin and Hitler."

By the same seller I found 11 other cards, already sold, but none of them with Hitler or Stalin.  The only other famous person on one of them was Lindbergh.]

Monday, February 24, 2014

Do not miss In Defense of Walt - Walt Disney and Anti-Semitism by Todd James Pierce. A "must-read" if there was one!

I just found this document recently on It contains a story by Jack Kinney which I had never read before. Enjoy!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two books I will definitely pick up when they are released later this year are:

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 6: "Lost In Lands Long Ago" and Disney During World War II: How the Walt Disney Studio Contributed to Victory in the War by John Baxter. The later should be a great read, while we await Paul F. Anderson's definitive history of Disney during WWII.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

As we prepare for the release of the Tomorrowland movie by Brad Bird, here are a few books that you may want to check-out to get a better understanding of the history of the 1964-1965 World's Fair and what it actually looked like. All of this is in addition to the famous issue of the magazine Persistence of Vision in which Paul F. Anderson gives the definite story of Disney at the Fair.

Above: Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America by Joseph Tirella

Below:  The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (color pictures) by Bill Cotter and Bill Young
And also:

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (Black and white pictures) by Bill Cotter and Bill Young and The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair: Creation and Legacy by Bill Cotter and Bill Young.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From Russia, released in 1941! This is almost an exact copy of the same game released in France by Jouets Vera a few years earlier.

 This just in from Garry Apgar:

[The other day in the comments section of your blog, "wdi33" asked if the newsreel footage in your Valentine's Day post was filmed at the Disney commissary in Burbank.

Looks like it was. Compare the horizontally striped wall covering in the screen grab above from the film footage with the striped design in the publicity shot below of the Studio Commissary from 1945.

Incidentally, according to news reports in the Los Angeles Times, the visit by members of the National Cartoonists Society (founded in 1946) to L.A. and to the Walt Disney Studio took place not in 1950 but mid-November 1949.]

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Found on Facebook...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Can't wait for this issue of Disney Twenty-Three to be released. In the meantime I will re-read Paul F. Anderson's special issue of Persistence of Vision about the 1964/65 World's Fair.

Friday, February 14, 2014

This just in from Mark Mayerson:

[This looks to be around 1950. There are several views of Walt Disney together with syndicated cartoonists.]

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Looking for Eric Larson

Joe Campana and I are currently working on a very exciting project linked to Eric Larson to be released (hopefully) later this year.

Do you have access to photos, historical documents, interviews, memos, caricatures, etc... linked to Eric Larson? If so, could you please email me high resolution scans at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I have now received my own copy of Jimmy Johnson's autobiography, Inside the Whimsy Works. It's a beautiful little book. Needless to say, the content is absolutely fascinating and it's a "must have" it you are interested in the business side of things at Disney from the '30s to the '60s.

Great interview with my co-editor, Greg Ehrbar, on (Episode 277) about the book.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This just in from Mark Mayerson:

[Last Oct. 24 you ran an image from the Stan Laurel estate that was a Disney studio caricature of Laurel and Hardy with the three little pigs.

The above photo, courtesy of Mark Evanier's, shows the same image on the wall behind the two comedians.]

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't wait to pick up this upcoming book, obviously!