Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review: Walt's People Volume 10 by Didier Ghez

Most tenth anniversaries are celebrated with a gift of tin or aluminum. What do you get a noted Disney historian when he publishes the tenth volume of a critically acclaimed series? Should we get him a Tin Toy? What about something from the Kaiser Hall of Aluminum?

All Giants Among Mortal Men!

Regardless, the release of Volume Ten of Walt's People should be greeted with hallelujahs and much fanfare. Not only is the series an indispensable tool for researchers, but Didier has compiled an astounding collection of interviews with people that have worked with Walt Disney or on Disney-related projects.

The Tenth volume is special because Didier was able to collect all of the interviews that Bob Thomas did for his seminal biography: Walt Disney, An American Original. The majority of the interviews took place in 1973 when people were still reeling from Walt's passing in 1966. Artists, family and WED employees are interviewed and provide a fascinating look at working with and for Walt. It is obvious that most of the interviewees had a fondness, if not love, for their boss. The anecdotes provided are priceless and provide an insight into Thomas' writings and the direction of the biography. I would hope that this volume of Walt's People will inspire other authors and researchers to share their interviews with Didier.

Interviewees and essays:
Foreword: Diane Disney Miller
Jim Korkis: A history of the Walt Disney biography by Bob Thomas
Didier Ghez: Bob Thomas
Paul F. Anderson: Bob Thomas
Walt Disney
Walt Pfeiffer
Lillian Disney
Edna Disney
Ub Iwerks
Wilfred Jackson
Bill Cottrell
Herb Ryman
Jim Korkis: Walt’s secretaries
Dolores Voght Scott
Ham Luske
Woolie Reitherman
John Lounsbery
Ward Kimball
Frank Thomas
Milt Kahl
Hazel George
Marc Davis
Dick Huemer
Ollie Johnston
Ken Anderson
George Bruns
Larry Clemmons
Bill Anderson
Robert Stevenson
Bill Walsh
Roy E. Disney
Winston Hibler
James Algar
John Hench
Harper Goff
Dick Irvine
Card Walker
Donn Tatum
Wathel Rogers
Roger Broggie
Marvin Davis
Joe Potter
Robert Foster
Joe Fowler

Pretty impressive, no?

The majority of the Walt's People volumes focus on interviews with artists that worked on the animated films. Occasionally, you find interviews with people that worked on Disneyland. Take a look at the bottom part of the list of interviewees. Most of them were directly involved with creating Walt Disney World after Walt's passing. As noted earleir, the interviews took place around 1973 and many of the interviews focus on the plans for Walt Disney World and the expansion of the Florida Project.

I will iterate: Didier's Walt's People Series is a very important addition to the collected research about Walt Disney. Walt's People will be used for many years to come by researchers and publishers.




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