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.
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