One of the things I find most enjoyable about this site is the many illustrations that I have never seen before that accompany the articles. My own columns have benefited greatly from the ingenuity and efforts of Jerry Beck in locating appropriate images.
Anyway, here are a few unique illustrations and the stories behind them from my own collection that might hopefully amuse some readers today. On some of them, hopefully readers of this site might have some further information to share.
Ward Kimball Original Art
Here is a thumbnail illustration (or should I say a “thumb-print illustration”) of the aging of Ward Kimball that was done by Ward as a gift for me in the 1980s. Ward went through a phase where he would do these thumbnail self-portraits because it amused him and he had tired of doing sketches all the time of Disney characters.
The second illustration is one that Ward did when he attended the Disney Institute at Walt Disney World in April 1996. As an animation instructor, I helped prepare a large sketchbook (about three foot by three foot) and invited visiting lecturers and guests to draw a sketch or sign their name. The book was filled with artwork by Marc and Alice Davis, John Culhane, John Canemaker, John Hench, Leonard Maltin, Mark Henn, actors, and many, many others.
Shortly after Disney abruptly laid off half of the D. I. animation staff including myself, other people had access to the animation studios and some things went “missing”. Shortly before the physical location closed, someone had taken a razor blade and cut out pages from the book that used to be under lock and key.
Fortunately, I took photos of some of the artwork and this is my photo of the page that Kimball did that is now missing. So beware if you ever see it or Marc’s self portrait or Alice’s sketch of an Eskimo girl from It’s A Small World for sale among others.
I sat there and saw Ward draw it in the backstage green room at the Disney Institute Cinema about a half hour before he was to go on stage and be interviewed. Yes, the light was absolutely terrible (hence, Ward’s remark about drawing in “candlelight”), the space was cramped without a table so he balanced it on the sofa, and yes, he hated the result….which I think is pretty wonderful.
Protection of forests became a matter of national importance during World War II and nine out of ten wildfires were caused by human carelessness. The Forest Service organized the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) program with the help of the War Advertising Council and the Association of State Foresters. Together, they created posters and slogans.
To help in the campaign, Walt Disney “loaned” his Bambi characters who had survived a massive man-made forest fire in the animated feature film for a poster that appeared in early 1944 and it was a huge success. However, that loan was only for one year so the Forest Service developed their original character of Smokey the Bear.
Who Was That Masked Man?
Sometimes I have no idea what is happening in a photo or when it was taken. Here is Walter Lantz with a costumed Andy Panda posing with the Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) and an Indian (Iron Eyes Cody). I am assuming they were guests at the regular celebrity movie memoribilia show held in Burbank for many years.
Betty Boop Says
While this is in my files, I had no idea where it came from. But I did a little searching here on Cartoon Research and I see Jerry and Thad posted the whole series of these Fleischer promotional drawings in a series of posts back in 2014. This particular one coincides with a written publicity release I have in my files, from Fleischer Studios, claiming Betty is only sixteen years old.
During a copyright infringement suit in 1934, a judge offered the following description of Betty: “There is the broad baby face, the large round flirting eyes, the low placed pouting mouth, the small nose, the imperceptible chin, and the mature bosom. It was a unique combination of infancy and maturity, innocence and sophistication.”
Who Was Charlotte Disney?
Here is a personal check Walt wrote to Charlotte Disney as a Christmas present. (He also used to send a check to his little sister Ruth because he never knew sizes or colors or what to buy.) Charlotte Anne Disney (born Hussey in 1892) was Walt’s aunt, second wife to Robert, Walt’s father’s brother. She was thirty years younger than Robert. It was Robert who lent the money for starting the Disney Brothers Studio. When Walt moved to California he moved in with Robert and Charlotte who lived on Kingswell Avenue.