Monday, November 30, 2015

I am glad to say that John Musker has just sent me the cover drawing for Walt's People - Volume 17. The book should be released in a few weeks. It contains quite a few treasures :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

This book is revolutionary. It is the best account of the early days of Disneyland ever. It will be released in March next year and will be one of the great events of the year from a Disney history standpoint. Can't wait!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The blog will be updated again on November 25, 2015.
Heritage's next big auction will take place on December 13 and 14. The quality of the artwork on sale is simply astounding: never-seen-before pieces from Bambi by David Hall (above) and Retta Scott (below), concept paintings by Mary Blair, JP Miller, and Retta Scott, and on and on it goes. This is an event that should not be missed in any way, shape or form, and I will feature it on the blog at least once or twice again in the next few weeks.

Friday, November 13, 2015

My brother just sent me the catalog of this exhibition which recently took place in Beijing and Shanghai. It's a beautiful catalog, but not one that is worth tracking down: 70% of the content is linked to recent animated features and most of the artwork from the "vintage" titles has already been seen often.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

And another good read from Theme Park Press is, of course, Secrets Stories of Walt Disney World by Jim Korkis.

According to the publisher:

[The Rosetta Stone of Disney Magic

Warning! There be secrets ahead. Disney secrets. Mickey doesn't want you to know how the magic is made, but Jim Korkis knows, and if you read Jim's book, you'll know, too. Put the kids to bed. Pull those curtains. Power down that iPhone. Let's keep this just between us...

If you've come expecting more of the same Disney trivia, you're in for a surprise. This is not a Disney trivia book. It's a book of Disney secrets, each exactly two pages long, and each brimming with backstage lore. Jim Korkis gathered these secrets when he worked at Walt Disney World as an instructor at Disney University. They're all true. They're all cool. And they include:

- How the popularity of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach meant the doom of an important piece of Disney history

- United Arab Emirates, Equatorial Africa, Costa Rica, and other planned Epcot pavilions that never were

- Disney's original plans for Figment, how corporate politics turned him purple, and why the Dreamfinder shrunk

- Wilderness Junction, the Alpine Resort, the Enchanted Snow Palace Ride, and other abandoned attractions

- Beacon Joe, the character you've never heard of, even though he appears numerous times throughout Disney World]

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Here is another extremely exciting new book from Theme Park Press.

The publisher, Bob McLain says:

[The Ogren book (Together in the Dream: The Unique Careers of a Husband and Wife in the Early Decades of Walt Disney World) contains stuff that no one has read before, including interactions by R.J. Ogren (a Disney World artist) with Leota Toombs, Marc Davis, Alice Davis (who wrote the foreword), and others.

R.J. painted Animatronic figures and "plussed" attractions. Suzanne drove monorails, marched in parades, and entertained as Sleepy the dwarf. Together, the Ogrens brought their unique skills to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom during its formative years. This is their story.

R.J. and Suzanne were indeed "together in the dream": their adventures as husband-and-wife cast members spanned the backstage areas of iconic attractions, Main Street parades, and Disney executive offices. They worked with celebrities, Disney artists like Marc and Alice Davis, and the fun-loving, creative geniuses who called the "Animation Art Studio" home.

Among the stories the Ogrens tell:

- Working underwater at the old 20,000 Leagues attraction, aboard the pirate ship in Pirates of the Caribbean, and in the "jungle" of the Jungle Cruise

- How Disney trains its monorail drivers, and the surprisingly rigorous tests they must pass to qualify

- Life in the "Dwarf unit", the tight-knit group of cast members who perform as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the Magic Kingdom

- Why some Animatronic characters don't wear pants

- Repairing bullet holes in the Haunted Mansion, replacing Dopey's stolen head, and other examples of Disney guests gone wild]

This is clearly a "must have" for Disney parks historians and enthusiasts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Not directly linked to Disney History, but I know that many of you will be interested to know that Think Pink: The Story of DePatie-Freleng by Mark Arnold has just been released. I will definitely pick up a copy.

Monday, November 09, 2015

I am actively working at the moment on research for They Drew As They Pleased - Volume 3. Once of the artists who will be featured in that upcoming volume is the astonishing Ecuadorian Eduardo Sola Franco, who worked at the Disney Studio for a few months in 1939, tackling chiefly on the abandoned Don Quixote project.

Sola Franco's complete illustrated diaries have just been released a few days ago in book form in Ecuador and while browsing through them yesterday I found quite a few drawings of his Disney colleagues, including the two below. The first one shows his friend and fellow concept artist Fini Rudiger. The second one features mostly members of Disney's Character Model Department: Martin Provensen, Fini Rudiger, James Bodrero, Art Heinemann (not a member of the Model Department) and sculptor Duke Russell.

Friday, November 06, 2015

'Lost' Disney cartoon Sleigh Bells to be screened

You probably have heard about this discovery by now. I would not be a surprised if a good friend of mine was at the origin of that great find. In all cases I am glad to see that the long list of "lost" Oswalds is getting much shorter.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A book with an intriguing title and description is now available for pre-order on Amazon:

Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil: The Creation • The Inspiration • The Fascination by Jen Darcy

[The greatest heroes must face the greatest villains. For decades, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios animated features have offered up some of the most iconic and malevolent villains. Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil showcases rare concept art and photographs and explores the villains' creative origins, roles within the stories, and influences on and within pop-culture. The deluxe package collects villains by themes such as vain, family, royalty, instincts, and more.]

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

This upcoming auction by TCM/Bonhams contains a few truly spectacular Disney-related items, including this extremely rare photo of Walt in France (Red Cross years) and this beautiful Mary Blair painting. (Thanks to Michael Goldberg for the heads up).

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Picking up the newly released version of Window on Main Street (Theme Park Press) by the late Disney Legend Van Arsdale France is definitely worth it, even if you already own the original book. Theme Park Press tracked down the uncut version of the manuscript which is full of details that did not make it into the 1991 Laugher Publication version.

Monday, November 02, 2015

I was fairly critical when Marty's previous book was released. I felt that One Little Spark: Mickey's Ten Commandments and the Road to Imagineering was a much better effort. It is still not the book that I hope Marty will one day decide to write: a real, in-depthy autobiography, but it is nonetheless a very good read. Marty gathered stories and thoughts from his fellow Imagineers and One Little Spark therefore contains quite a few stories about WDI's creative process which we had never heard before. The book is fairly short and an easy read, so one I would recommend as a way to relax in-between the more serious and in-depth volumes which I have reviewed over the past few weeks.