Friday, January 30, 2015

The blog will be updated again on February 9.
I have been spending time over the last few weeks researching Disney's musical projects from the late '30s and mid-'40s and while doing so, stumbled upon the following article released in the Disney Studio's newsletter, The Bulletin dated February 14, 1941. The article establishes clearly one important date when it comes to the "production" of the projected Future Fantasias. I thought you would enjoy it:

[Stokowski Mounts Studio Podium to Record new Fantasia Numbers

Nimbus-haired Leopold Stokowski, behind locked doors on the live-action stage this Sunday night [February 16, 1941], will conduct a preselected symphony orchestra while studio recorders hum.
Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Sibelius’ Swan of Tuonela and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee will be recorded. These selections are tentatively listed as future alternates or encores for Fantasia.
During the week, studio carpenters sawed and hammered, erected in three days a plywood orchestra shell which RCA technicians declared to be acoustically perfect.
Fifteen orchestra stands of varying height were also built to facilitate placement of instrument choirs.]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Help needed in Washington D.C.

I am still looking for a volunteer in Washington D.C.who would be willing to conduct some research in the Archives of American Art. If you are willing to help, could you please email me at

Jim Korkis recently reminded me that the magazine The Atlantic Monthly commissioned writer Paul Hollister to do a series of articles on Walt (just as Pete Martin did later for The Saturday Evening Post) which would be released as a book.  Apparently, the manuscript was completed but never released. The Paul Hollister papers are preserved by the Archives of American Art and I am wondering if the manuscript might be there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

 I just picked up this great magazine from Uruguay and thought that some of you might enjoy it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

This just in from Amid Amidi:

[Hadn't seen anything about this on your site so I wanted to make sure you were aware of the new bio about Disney Burbank architect Kem Weber, written by Christopher Long.

There's a chapter on the Disney studio with about 20 images from the Weber archives at UCSB (mostly familiar). The write-up, while nicely done, also relies on familiar published material (Gennawey, Gabler, Thomas, the usual suspects), and there are few, if any, new revelations. The book is short on key details; for example, how did Disney choose Weber or even know about him? Still unclear.

Going through the book, one realizes that the Disney studio, while a major commission, isn't one of the designer/architect's best works. The book's real value, therefore, is the context it provides. It helps us better understand how the Disney studio fits into the rest of Weber's expansive body of work.]

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Disney Books Network has just been updated.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Looking forward to getting this new auction catalog!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This just in from Lorraine Santoli and Bob McLain (from Theme Park Press):

[Ever wonder how the Mouse House markets The Walt Disney Company and its many diversified businesses? Lorraine Santoli, former 20-year-plus Disney PR, marketing, and synergy executive, tells all in her upcoming book, “Inside the Disney Marketing Machine”.

Focusing on the Michael Eisner and Frank Wells era of explosive company growth, Santoli shares her Disney marketing experiences from a rare insider perspective, with contributions from over twenty-five of her colleagues, all of them top tier Disney marketing and entertainment executives.

From her role as a publicist promoting Disney films and TV shows, to overseeing Disneyland’s key anniversaries, attraction openings, and special events, to her decade-long position as director of Corporate Synergy, Santoli invites readers to take a seat at the Disney marketing table for a first-hand view of the process that has put Disney at the top of the marketing hill in corporate America.

“Inside the Disney Marketing Machine” will be released in Spring 2015 by Theme Park Press.]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This just in from David Lesjak:

[And the award goes to . . . Walt Disney !

This year’s award’s season launched January 11, with the annual Golden Globe awards extravaganza. Founded in 1943, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, (comprised of journalists who cover the American film industry but are affiliated with foreign publications), has been handing out the prestigious award since it was initiated as a fundraiser in 1944.

Walt Disney personally won a total of five Golden Globes during his lifetime:

1948: Bambi – for “Furthering the Influence of the Screen.” Although this feature was released in the U.S. in 1942, Bambi’s international release was delayed until 1948. In this post’s accompanying photo, complete with a newspaper editor’s crop marks, Disney is seated beside actress Rosalind Russell. Standing behind the pair is the association’s president, Frederick Porges. The ceremony was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

1949: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – for “Best Use of Color in a Motion Picture.” Walt had been using color since 1932.

1953: the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for Continuous Achievement. Initiated in 1952 in honor of the famed Hollywood producer, the first award went to DeMille himself. Walt Disney was this special award’s second recipient. Other honorees have included Darryl F. Zanuck, Judy Garland, and Gregory Peck.

1955: Disneyland TV series – for “Best American Storytelling.”

1956: The Mickey Mouse Club – for “Best American Children’s Television Show.”]

Monday, January 19, 2015

Help needed

If you read this and bought the above photo on ebay this week, would you consider emailing me a high resolution scan (300 or 600dpi) at I would be glad to share part of the buying cost.

Thanks in advance.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sadly, Disney Legend Walt Peregoy passed away a few hours ago. RIP.

Here is a book that I will definitely pick up when it is released. According to the description on Amazon:

[All Aboard explores the wide variety of trains in Disney's history, accompanied by rare photographs from the Disney Archives and heretofore unseen conceptual artwork behind the trains in the movies and theme parks. Never before has such a comprehensive focus been exclusively trained on this fascinating topic. Fans of Disney history, rail history, and armchair travelers alike will be captivated by this museum-quality book.]

Thursday, January 15, 2015

[NOTE: This post was released yesterday by mistake. Here is the correct version.]

I was researching last week the life and career of Ecuadorian painter Eduardo Sola Franco, who worked at Disney briefly in the late '30s and early '40s, tackling mostly work on the abandoned Don Quixote project.

I now have clear proof that the above drawing was created by him and not by Bob Carr (as stated in The Disney That Never Was).

I have just ordered Sola Franco's autobiography (not a cheap buy) and am trying to locate his diaries which do cover the period of his work at Disney.

In the meantime, I have located the below interview which appears in Spanish on the website of the biographer and interviewer Rodolfo Perez Pimentel, and which I have translated for your enjoyment.

[In '39 I boarded a freighter going to San Pedro, California, and from there I went to Hollywood in search of work. A friend of mine introduced my drawings to the famous director Frank Lloyd, winner of two Oscars for his films, who immediately got excited about my art and hired me to do a storyboard with watercolors for a movie that would be made off the coast called Ruler of the Sea with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. We all lived in Santa Catalina and we were going to sea to film. Through Fairbanks I met many actors of the first magnitude and, frequenting the house of Norma Shearer, I made the portraits of Margaret Lockwood, Carole Lombard, Merle Oberon, Loretta Young, David Niven etc and of the director Jack Rose from the Disney Studio, who hired me to work on the script and storyboards of a project of Don Quixote.

I left Paramount where I worked on The Cat and the Canary earning $500 a month, for [a job at Disney at] only $200 a month but with the offer of a seven-year contract at $1,000 a month. For nine months I worked tirelessly and did about two thousand extremely detailed drawings for the film about Don Quixote. The costumes were inspired by the works of Velasquez, the backgrounds by El Greco, and so on. One night Walt Disney visited my office, looked at my work, approved of it and my work was then sent to Joe Grant in order for the project to move to the next stage. My drawings, however, were deemed too academic. I was asked to work on another project: abstract drawings for the film Fantasia, as story artist for parts of Bach's Toccata and Fugue sequence and on the Night on Bald Mountain sequence, [as well as on Peter Pan.] Various issues resulted in Don Quixote not being completed and my work was put on hold.]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This just in from Jim Korkis:

[Don't know if you have run this image before....a card supposedly drawn by Floyd Gottfredson for newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst's 79th birthday April 1942

I also think you will enjoy my MousePlanet column today on Walt's Hollywood homes

Next week I have one on Walt's Studios and the following week on Walt's Hollywood Hangouts.]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This just in from Tim O'Day:

[I noticed on your Disney Books Network that you have included a few new additions. I wanted to make you aware of another - “Disneyland Resort: A Celebration of New Magic & Fond Memories.” It’s a new Disneyland Resort souvenir book from Disney Editions, penned by yours truly and Kevin Kidney, due for release in May.]

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jim Korkis recently attracted my attention to the fact that this toy-set being sold on Barnes and Noble online and in the Disney parks, contains a small book by Jeff Kurtti about the origins of Sleeping Beauty Castle which contains some information that does not appear anywhere else. A fun "nice to have", if you want to own every single Disney book, as I do :-)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The blog will be updated again around January 12.
I spent the last few days reading and working (aside from a small amount of the obligatory partying, of course). Is there a better way to end the year and to start the new one?

The reading involved a fair amount of non-Disney volumes, but the two Disney-related books that I devored were Mouse in Transition and Funnybooks. Mouse in Transition is an easy read and a very, very enjoyable one. Highly recommended if you want to be taken behind the scenes at the Studio in the late '70s and early '80s. As to Funnybooks, it is simply one of the best books I read in 2014... and I am not simply talking of Disney-related books when I say this. As is the case with Michael Barrier's two other books, Funnybooks is written clearly, reads almost like a mystery novel, but is also full of incredibly precise information which helps to connect millions of dots and to give context to our newly acquired knowledge. Just sheer pleasure.

As to work, I am starting to plan Walt's People - Volume 17, am trying to wrap up some aspects of Volume 16 and spent most of December 31 editing Eric Larson's lost autobiography. You will find the table of contents below. Of course, what I am now most looking forward to is getting the early galleys of They Drew As They Pleased - Disney's Golden Age, the first volume of my new coffee table book series about Disney's concept artists. Just a few more days to wait to get them, in theory. :-)

Memories of Eric by Burny Mattinson
The Lost Memoir by Didier Ghez
A Short Biography of Eric Larson by His Brother Roald Larson
50 Years in the Mouse House
Eric Larson Remembers
Larson in Mexico by JB Kaufman
Mexican Trip Sketchbook
Notes About Animation and Entertainment
The Lectures
Memo from Don Graham to Walt Disney (December 23, 1935)
Afterword by Dan Jeup

Happy New Year to all of you!