Monday, January 17, 2022

Between Books - They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age The 1940's - Part Two

 

Book cover showing hippos dancing

Short Version - They Drew as They Pleased by Didier Ghez is really good.  If you like or love Disney animation and books you will want very volume.  With volume three, that summary can continue!

Long Version - They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age The 1940's - Part Two by Didier Ghez is the third volume in this art driven series.  Ghez again features treasures from Disney's story artists.  This volume focuses on members of the short lived Character Model Department in the 1940’s under the leadership of legend Joe Grant  The artists including Jack Miller, Campbell Grant, James Bodrero, and Martin Provensen may be a group that honestly are not familiar with every Disney fan.  But they were a group who contributed significantly to the look and feel of Disney features like Fantasia and animated shorts in the 1940s. 

For me, I really focused on Miller, Grant, Bodrero, and Provensen.  The Character Model Department  was only functional for a few years.  And they were often resented by their animation colleagues for their ability to play and dream.  But the group was made of high-quality artists, many of them finding their way to other commercial avenues after Disney.  And they were extremely close with Grant, Bodrero, and Provensen living together, playing together, and seeming like a real life Three Musketeers.  While there were several projects discussed, I found myself struck with the differences between Fantasia and Victory Through Air Power during World War II.  Fantasia concept art from these artists is true fine art.  But for the air power propaganda film, well there is no concept art in these brilliantly illustrated paintings.  As this Disney passion project bored them with charts and arrows and in some cases drove them one step closer to leaving the studio even joining the war effort.  Leaving the studio is a true theme as it is shocking yet again how short some of these masters’ tenure at Disney was. 

Yes, They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Late Golden Age The 1940's - Part Two is a volume that history loving Disney fans want and need.  Well written and beautifully illustrated it is yet another joyful read. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that Between Disney receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. 

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Between Books - Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks

 

Book cover showing Disney Parks Holiday decorations including a Mickey Pumpkin and Christmas trees

I love the holidays!

I love Disney!

And when I have been able to celebrate a holiday in a Disney park, it’s been wonderful.  Though let’s admit it, all of us Between Disney’s are finding a way to bring the park to us.

Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks: Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter by Graham Allan, Rebecca Cline and Charlie Price is a wonderful book that will put in into the holiday spirit.  This massive coffee table book is just full of holiday merriment and images.  The text focuses on two distinct holidays, Halloween and the Christmas season, with Christmas/winter holidays dominating the book.  The authors sell the book on the massive number of images, which work best listening to the appropriate holiday music as one dives into the pages.  But there is still quite a bit of text that provides history and background.  Overall, this is currently the premier Disney holiday book on the market.

This book is gorgeous. The images are full color, and often big and well framed.  It really is a treat on the eyes as they gathered images from throughout time and the world of Disney celebrations.  But honestly, I was most surprised by the text.  The authors present a nice history of the Disney holidays including narratives about historical celebrations, like pumpkin carving contests and pumpkin parades, I had never been introduced to. 

Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks: Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter by Graham Allan, Rebecca Cline and Charlie Price is a book you want for your Between Books shelve.  No matter how Between Disney you are, this massive book will help you celebrate your holidays in a very Disney way. 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that Between Disney receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Between Books - The Disney Interviews: Volume I

 

Book covering showing Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom

 

The Walt’s People series has really created a gold standard for interview/oral history volumes on our Disney bookshelves.  These books create a benchmark that even experienced authors and interviews may struggle to maintain.  So, while the idea of an experienced interviewer moving audio interviews into a text format may seem like a no-brainer, sadly it can still go wrong. 

The Disney Interviews: Volume I by Lou Mongello transcribes interviews from the popular WDW Radio podcast into book format.  Each chapter consists of a brief introduction by the author about the context of the interview and some thoughts about the event.  The bulk of the chapter is a transcription of the interview.  Those included are a wide range of Disney celebrities including the well-known Julie Andrews, Alice Davis, Marty Sklar, and Richard Sherman.  But it also includes figures like Al Konetzni and Ralph Kent that may not be on every Disney fan’s radar.

This volume shows how difficult it can be to create a book, even when you have strong material.  In short, this book needs an editor desperately.  There are numerous text errors that create both reading discomfort and factual errors.  It makes one wonder if a simple transcription program was used to move the words into text, and then perhaps not carefully reviewed.  There are numerous grammatical errors.  But factual errors also frequent the book.  I was wondering who Dick Nunez was as he seemed to have had an impact on Tom Nabbe’s career.  I eventually figured out it was Dick Nunis.  But I was taken out of my experience as I pieced this puzzle together.  There are even factual errors in the introductions.  For example, in the Al Konetzni interview readers are directed to the full podcast episode 511, which is the Bill Sullivan interview. 

The Mongello interviews are comforting to hear.  They may be fancentric, but they really are like sitting down with an old friend when you hear them.  I really was looking forward to revisiting these interviews in a new way.  Sadly, instead I found The Disney Interviews: Volume I to be distracting and periodically frustrating to read.  I borrowed a Kindle edition and would really like to see this material edited and updated to provide what should be a fine reading experience. 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that Between Disney receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site.