Sunday, January 13, 2008

The history lesson continues...

One of the projects I have been working on for the last 5-6 months has been as a digitizer. Basically what this means is that I receive hand typed interviews in the mail and then scan them into my computer to make them available in Word document format. Sounds pretty boring, right? Not when you consider the material I am scanning. They are interviews of family members and employees(friends) of Walt Disney.
About 6 months ago I was reading some of the Disney blogs that I visit. One of them is run by Didier Ghez and is called the
Disney History Blog. I mentioned his blog in an earlier post about pursuing my interest in history related to Walt Disney. This is a great Blog that concentrates mainly on all forms of Disney animation and the history of Walt Disney. Didier is also known for his series of books titled, Walt’s People’. These are a series of books that have interviews directly from the people that worked with or were friendly with Walt Disney. There are 5 volumes with a sixth coming soon. Didier had put out a request for help on his blog. He had just received a number of typed interviews and wanted help digitizing them. I had just gotten my new 3-in-1 printer of which a scanner was one of the three so I responded to him. I received my first interview a couple of weeks later. I have scanned, and of course read interviews from Frank Thomas, Card Walker, Ruth Disney, Dick Irvine, Bill Cottrell, Bill Anderson and more. I have read many interesting stories and remembrances. I think the importance of this compilation of interviews is that they let you see a person’s complete thoughts. What I mean by that is that most of the biographies that quote someone about Walt use a line or two that was said and that’s it. You can’t really tell, for the most part, if that was what the person really thought or if it was a quote taken out of context to help an author prove a point. Here is an example. In some of the Walt biographies there is mention of the trip to South America in the Early 40’s as a way to get away from the strike at Disney Studios. Based on some of the responses from Frank Thomas, who was on this trip, he makes it seem like it was purely a business trip and a meet and greet for those fans south of the Border. A new way to find more topics to create new films. The way Frank goes over how the trip went, tells volumes of what that trip was really like.
So as my education in the History of Walt Disney and his company continues, these interviews have certainly added much to that goal. The sad part is I think I am almost to the end of these interviews and will need to start buying Didier’s books to keep up with all of these great stories. If you have the opportunity, check out this series of books. You will not be disappointed

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