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Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney

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Overview

During the Roaring Twenties--from 1921 through 1928--Walt Disney and his friends made more than ninety silent cartoons, turning them out as often as one or two per month. Years before Mickey Mouse, the young entrepreneur recruited and nurtured an extraordinary array of talented people. Drawing on interviews with Disney's coworkers, Disney's business papers, promotional materials, scripts, drawings, and correspondence, the richly illustrated Walt in Wonderland reconstructs Disney's silent film career and places ...

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Overview

During the Roaring Twenties--from 1921 through 1928--Walt Disney and his friends made more than ninety silent cartoons, turning them out as often as one or two per month. Years before Mickey Mouse, the young entrepreneur recruited and nurtured an extraordinary array of talented people. Drawing on interviews with Disney's coworkers, Disney's business papers, promotional materials, scripts, drawings, and correspondence, the richly illustrated Walt in Wonderland reconstructs Disney's silent film career and places his early films in critical perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A revised, English language edition of the Italian/English bilingual volume published in 1992 by Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Poedenone, Italy. Presents a lavishly illustrated reconstruction of Disney's work as director and producer of more than 90 silent cartoons in the years before Mickey Mouse made him famous. The authors are both film historians. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gordon Flagg
There are plenty of coffee-table books on the films of Walt Disney, one, it seems, for virtually each Disney feature. This tome's different, though. It's a serious look at the silent films Disney made in the 1920s before he revolutionized the industry with the first sound cartoon, "Steamboat Willie". Its first section affords an incisive critical overview, showing how these early, often pedestrian "apprentice" films--which reflected Disney's midwestern values and showed the influence of live-action comedies--laid the groundwork for later animation techniques and conventions. Many characteristics of these cartoons resurfaced in Disney's later work--particularly the personality-based comedy that was as integral to the popularity of Mickey Mouse as initially was the gimmick of sound. The book's lengthier second section, based on studio records, promotional materials, and interviews with survivors, is a detailed history of this period of Disneyana. An important and valuable contribution to film scholarship.
John Canemaker
A scholarly and entertaining book that is a combination of film critique, studio history, and oral history illustrated with wonderful original animation drawings, storyboards, and rare photos.
New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788886155021
  • Publisher: Bow Historical Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Pages: 164

Meet the Author

Russell Merritt is a visiting professor of film history at the University of California-Berkeley. He has published on D. W. Griffith, silent film, animation, and fairy tales. He has also served as senior consultant for the 1993 Kevin Brownlow and David Gill Emmy-nominated program, D. W. Griffith: Father of Film. J. B. Kaufman is an independent film historian living in Wichita, Kansas, who has published extensively on Disney animation and silent film history.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11
Disney's Cat and Rabbit Years 14
The Kansas City Period 33
Newman Laugh-O-grams 33
Laugh-O-gram Films 39
Lafflets 46
Tommy Tucker's Tooth 47
Martha 48
Alice's Wonderland 48
Alice Comedies 53
The First Alice Series 56
The Second Alice Series 70
The Third Alice Series 78
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit 86
The Arrival of Mickey Mouse 120
Walt Disney Silent Filmography (1921-1928) 124
Bibliography 161
Index 162
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