Monday, 17 March 2014

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manfestations of the Mouse

May the luck of Michael O'Mouse be with you today!

Thursday, 6 March 2014


However much you may think you know about Disney, Jim Korkis knows more and in his latest volume, The Vault of Walt Volume 2 he serves up another endlessly diverting potpourri of stories and anecdotes about Walt, his films, TV shows and parks. Like it's predecessor this is a classic bedside book – the perfect volume for dipping into with the guaranteed promise that wherever you dip you'll find some surprising new fact about movies, characters and theme park attractions that had somehow previously passed you by.

There are so many good reads in this book that it is hard to pick favourites: not surprisingly, I guess, I was particularly interested to read Jim's take on the the creative collision between Walt and P L Travers over Mary Poppins (now practically perfectly mythologised by the film Saving Mr Banks) but I also relished the behind-the-scenes detail on the making of those iconic Mickey Mouse projects, Steamboat Willie and 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' sequence in Fantasia; the unfilled plans for Disney's idea of a train-travelling diorama show featuring scenes of turn-of-the-century American life and the background to the design and building of EPCOT's Spaceship Earth.

I digress for a moment, here, to relate how, on the night of the Epcot opening party, I was (due to my friendship with Disney legends John Hench and Marty Sklar) a lone British journalist amoung the tuxedoed VIPs (my colleagues were being entertained in 'Rosie O'Grady's' in downtown Orlando) I was wandering past Spaceship Earth when I bumped into Ray Bradbury and one of his daughters and he asked if I'd like to ride "his ride" with them! An unforgettable evening...

Anyway, back to Korkisland: every reader will have favourite sections, for me the best are those providing insights into the man, Walt Disney. This provides an important contribution to American (and world) culture as time marches on and only sexagenarians are be able – with authority – to say, yes, Virginia, there is (or was) a Walt Disney!

I'll leave the last word to the luminaries (well, all bar one!) who provide the opening testimonials for this excellent book...

Not Disney, but classic animation...

Did you grow up with Bullwinkle and Rocky. George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right and (the original) Mr Peabody and Sherman? These classic '50s TV cartoons were the creations of American animation producer, Jay Ward and are now celebrated in a new book, The Art of Jay Ward Productions.

Researched and written by veteran animator, Darrell Van Citters (Disney – Fox and the Hound – Warner Bros and his own studio Renegade Animation) who previously wrote the definitive book on the making of UPA's Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol, this is a sumptuous volume of 352 pages, jam-packed with character-sketches storyboard drawings, concept art, backgrounds and meticulously detailed information on the exceptional team of artists and talents who worked with Jay Ward to give us 'Fractured Fairy Tales', 'Tom Slick' and 'Super Chicken', and whose work ranks alongside the best of the Hollywood cartoon studios.

A 'must' for all animation fans, this engaging slice of cartoon life, brilliantly captures an era in the revolutionary graphic style so redolent of the 1950s and the zany scripts by Ward's co-producer, Bill Scott, that combined wacky knockabout fun with sophisticated puns.

And an added bonus: the book has a Foreword by the voice of Rocky (and sundry Disney characters, including Lucifer, Witch Hazel and Magica De Spell) –– the one and only Miss June Foray!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manifesttions of the Mouse

Back in November, I announced the publication of Jim Korkis' latest publication The Book of Mouse. I have now had a chance to read the volume and want to tell you just what a brilliant addition this will make to any Disney fan's library.

People occasionally review books by saying that they are "The last word..." on their subject, although it is seldom true! In the case of The Book of Mouse it will only be the last word for a while because some new aspect or development of Mickey's seemingly unstoppable career will emerge that will, at least demand, an updated edition. But, meanwhile, it is the most thorough examination of the life and times and of the first and most enduring Disney icon.

Jim, who has a Sherlockian talent for sorting and sifting facts, has applied his talent to one of the most chronicled characters in the cartoon pantheon. The book is crammed with detailed information about all Mickey's films with in-depth discussion about key productions such as Steamboat Willie (do you know about Mickey's disappearing pilot's cap or what brand of tobacco Pete is chewing?) and Fantasia (who else has noted that his Sorcerer's Apprentice costume echoes that of Dopey whom some people at the studio were pushing to be cast in the role instead of Mickey?) as well as a surprising filmography of Mouse movies that never got made.

And that's just for starters, Jim has marshalled information on every aspect of the Mouse's career: on the big and the small screen, as leader of Club (or, in fact, clubs because Annette & Co, were not the first youngsters to rally round the Mouse) and in the Disney Parks through to his appearances at the Oscars and various forays into advertising.

Like every Korkis book: it is a perfect bedside read: whenever you pick it up and wherever you open it, you'll learn something that you didn't know you didn't know! What's more – along with those endearing oft-told anecdotes – you'll be surprised to find the author relentlessly exploding a number of popular 'facts' as nothing more than charming examples of Mouse Mythology. The Truth is Told about the creation of Mickey Mouse, his fluctuating birth-date, his alleged honouring by the United Nations and many another Mouse Tale that have been inaccurately perpetuated across decades by those who have previously written about Mickey's life story – including (I admit with abashed humility) myself!

It's a pity that – for whatever reason – Disney couldn't have officially got behind this book as it would have been enhanced by the inclusion of illustrations; nevertheless, that doesn't diminish its value to Disney scholars and fans alike. At a time when so many Disney books are appearing, it's not always easy to know if every new volume is truly essential reading; in the case of Jim Korkis' The Book of Mouse: A Celebration of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse there is no question about it: however Mouse-wise you think you are, there's plenty here to extend and enhance your Mousekaknowledge!

You can order your copy from or

Monday, 30 December 2013

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manifestions of the Mouse

Mickey (and Donald) in Italy...

...and, specifically, in Venice...

Oh, how I love the Italian Disney comics!!

Thursday, 26 December 2013


Here as a holiday treat and a tribute to the memory of the wonderful DIANE DISNEY MILLER here's the series of six radio programmes we made together in 1998, Disney's Women...

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


...when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a––––

–––or a duck!

Monday, 23 December 2013

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manifestions of the Mouse

Vintage greetings from the House of Mouse...

And a stick-on Mickey Santa snowflake!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Saturday, 21 December 2013


...a bit CRACKERS!

Friday, 20 December 2013


These seasonal character badges were among the contents of a set of Disney Christmas  Crackers c. 1990s...

Thursday, 19 December 2013


Not much time left now...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Monday, 16 December 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manifestions of the Mouse

Someday my prints will come... But make it snappy!!


Monday, 2 December 2013

MICKEY MONDAYS: Manifestations of the Mouse

This illustration by Al Gilgore for Film Fan Monthly depicts the FIRST public assassination of Mickey Mouse – as represented by the publication of Richard Schickel's 1968 book The Disney Version. Whilst it pales in comparison to later 'hatchet jobs', it shocked and outraged many Disney fans as can be seen from KIlgore's brilliantly savage cartoon accompanying his very critical review...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Just when you thought it was safe to pop down the rabbit-hole...

Here comes another bizarre Disneyfication of Alice from 1976...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


There's a small tribute to this wonderful woman, here.

And my obituary in the 'Guardian' newspaper, here.

Monday, 18 November 2013


Today is MICKEY MOUSE's 85th bithday...

Boy, but he wears well!!

To celebrate this extraordinary milestone, the indefatigable Disney historian, Jim Korkis has written...

Here's the low-down on this definitive and comprehensive book about Mickey Mouse:

* Massive, annotated Mickey Mouse filmography (1928-2013)
* Mickey stories, trivia, secrets, quotes, and “Mouse-ke-Tales”
* Behind-the-scenes tales of Mickey in the Disney theme parks

Jim Korkis says: “Mickey Mouse celebrates his 85th birthday on November 18, 2013, and the best gift I could give him was a reliable resource book about his amazing career from his appearances in films to his presence in the theme parks and everything else in between.”

At over three hundred pages, the book is packed to overflowing with thousands of facts, quotes, and stories about the Mouse, including an exclusive interview with Disney Legend Floyd Gottfredson who drew the Mickey Mouse comic strip for forty-five years; the biographies of the first performers who portrayed Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and Walt Disney World; and the stories behind the people who have done Mickey’s voice over the decades.

“I think readers will enjoy having definitive answers to questions about where Mickey Mouse lives, why his eyes kept changing, why he wears four-fingered white gloves, and many more,” said Korkis. “I also felt it was important to explode some of the myths about Mickey from his use as a code word for D-Day to Walt’s many different stories about his creation.

The book also contains — for the first time anywhere — an annotated filmography listing not only Mickey’s appearances in his theatrical shorts and television series but his cameo appearances in other films and in television commercials. Other chapters are devoted to behind-the-scenes stories of the making of Plane Crazy, Steamboat Willie, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Runaway Brain.

“Mickey has had such a significant impact on so many different areas over the decades, from comic books to merchandise to music to so much more, that it is impossible to cover everything, but I think the material that did make it into the final book will entertain and inform readers.”

You can order your copy here!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Without doubt, the weirdest, wackiest Disney Alice in Wonderland book EVER!

Lewis Carroll's heroine and 'friends' visits a playground at (I think) Walt Disney World and, among other activities, plays volleyball!!!

Marvel and enjoy...