Tuesday, July 25, 2017

David Peake just noticed that the Hachette Book Group web site is announcing the release of a book about the 50th Anniversary of Club 33, written by my good friend Tim O'Day. The planned launch date is December 12 of this year. More about this soon, hopefully...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Once again, here is an author who did his homework. The biography of Roy O. Disney that Scott M. Madden wrote is the best biography of Roy that anyone without direct access to the Disney Archives could have written. Madden used all the available sources really well and the tale he told is what one would have expected to read in the disappointing biography by the great Bob Thomas.

In no way is this the last word about Roy. One still awaits the book about him that a historian with full access to the Disney Archives will be able to pen, but this is an extremely satisfying read for now.

My only quibble: once again I dislike a book cover. But that is obviously a very minor issue. 

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...]