Sunday, April 28, 2013

Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives at the Reagan Library Pt1

There's nothing like waiting until the last minute to visit the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Library just outside Los Angeles.
The exhibit has been there since July 6th, 2012 and would be leaving April 30th, 2013.  Well, after talking to the Club 33 member the day before, they convinced us that we should visit before it's gone.  That only left Sunday for us to see it before it's gone forever.

Jacob, Theresa and I carpooled together and we all met Ruston up there.

Here we're waiting for Ruston to arrive.  Even though we live about an hour apart, we arrived within 5 minutes of each other.

Unfortunately we don't have a lot of time together.  Ruston has to split at 3pm, and we didn't arrive at the museum until 11:30am.  Since the Reagan Library will be here whenever we want, we decided to focus on our main interest, Walt Disney!

Entrance to the Reagan Library is $15 and then the special Disney exhibit is an additional $6. 

We're ready to go explore!  I've heard nothing but good things about  all the items we're going to see, so I'm excited!

We start with the earliest of Disney artifacts, Walt Disney's certificate of baptism on June 8th, 1902. 

There was also a picture of Walt at what I think I remember the sign saying was his Christening.  Ruston particularly liked this photo because he has a photo of his grandmother sitting in what looks to be the exact same style chair.

Still living in Kansas City, Walt Disney opened his first studio, Laugh-O-Gram Films, in 1922.

Two shares of stock sold to Walt's parents, Mr and Mrs Elias Disney. Sadly for Disney but luckily for us, Laugh-O-Gram Films declared bankruptcy in July of 1923.  Walt sold his movie camera and bought a train ticket out to the city of dreams.

In the next display we see a few telegrams.

The first set of telegrams show a little bit of the back and forth arguments Walt had with C.B. Mintz over Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.  Oswald would go on to become quite a success in the 20s and 30s, though it was being distributed by Universal Pictures.

We all know the story of what happened from there.  Walt went to New York to renegotiate a better contract with Mintz due to the popularity.  Instead, Mintz asked Walt to take a paycut on the popular Oswald cartoons. Not only that, but he had hired away all his top animators except Ub Iwerks, plus owned all the rights to Oswald, so he had Walt in a bind.
Walt didn't agree to the terms and was ready to return to California.
Not wanting to disappoint his brother though, Walt sent this famous telegram to his brother Roy saying everything was okay.

Luckily, Walt and Ub came up with the character of Mickey Mouse and the rest is history!

Mickey and his Silly Symphonies were a huge hit!  Walt soon started signing licensing deals with companies and Mickey Mania took off.  The Mickey writing tablet you see toward the left of the middle row was the very first licensed Mickey product created.

Knowing a flat cartoon would be difficult to watch for a feature length film, Walt asked his team to create a multi-plane camera that would help add dimension to the film.  This is a small model of the 12 foot tall original.

The animator's office here is modeled after what one of the Nine Old Men would have used.

A closer look at the desk with a Captain Hook sketch on it.

Plus some of the maquettes above the desk for reference. From left to right, we see one of the many clocks from Geppetto's wood working shop, an early version of Captain Hook, Dumbo of course, and maybe the Brave Little Tailor.

Next up were some awesome pieces of history.

The beginning of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty all start with a live action sequence with a physical book is opening.
This was the actual book used in that original sequence! 

And the original book for Cinderella.

And the very elaborate brass covered book filmed at the beginning of Sleeping Beauty.  These are the great pieces of Disney history I really enjoyed seeing.

Next up was a visit to Walt's office at the Disney Studios. This was an exact replication of Walt's working office in Burbank.

Click below to see a panorama I took of the office.  I really enjoyed seeing the piano. This was where the Sherman brothers came and played all their wonderful songs to get Walt's thoughts on them.  Whenever Walt asked them to "play the song" they knew he wanted to hear "Feeding the Birds" from Mary Poppins.


This is Walt's original desk from his office.  Behind the desk you can see the Norman Rockwell sketches of Walt's daughters.

If you remember if one of my last posts of our visit to Club 1901, I showed you a model of a Gulfstream II that Walt had on his desk.  Well the last one was a reproduction.  This one happens to be the original.

I don't recognize many of the items behind the desk, but figured I should photograph them anyhow.

And the lower shelf.



Photos of his daughters on the walls.  I'm not sure what the significance of the seal below them is.

Of course he would have a bust of Lincoln on his bookshelf.

The coffee table in his office.

I recognize the pegasus from Fantasia.

But I don't know what this is from.  Any thoughts?

Taking a look at the mechanical bird that inspired Walt to create audio-animatronics. This happens to be the second time we've seen this item.  The first was in January 2011 when Ruston invited us to take a tour of the Disney Studios, including a visit to the archives. 

I'm sure you've seen this Mickey before.

He was riding with Walt at the front of the train in the Dateline Disneyland special from 1955.

See the 1:07:30 mark in the video below.

It's not just animation Walt was involved in.  Some of our favorites are the live action movies.
Case in point, Mary Poppins.  This is the screen worn traveling costume used by Julie Andrews, plus the blocks and jack in the box used in the nursery clean-up sequence while singing "A Spoonful of Sugar".

Ruston, Theresa, and Jacob taking a short break.

So they can take a look at the Nautilus.

This 1000 pound model was submerged and fitted with motors and lights for use in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Next up, we visit the Absentminded Professor and his new invention, Flubber!

And the flying Model T Flubber car.

Though Theresa enjoyed watching it growing up, I wasn't ever a huge fan of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

And I still haven't seen Darby O'Gill and the Little People.  Guess I have a few more Disney movies to watch.

I did watch the Shaggy Dog though.  Read the inscription on this ring, and you'll be transformed into a giant sheep dog.





Babes in Toyland is another movie I haven't seen, so I don't have much to say about this one either.

There is so much more stuff to come.  We'll continue in part 2!


Treasures of the Disney Archives Part 1
Treasures of the Disney Archives Part 2
Treasures of the Disney Archives Part 3
Ronald Reagan Library

1 comment:

  1. We watched Darby O'Gill as a team retreat a few years ago on St. Patrick's Day....we also had stew and tea. That's what I get for being on a team with all women at the time :P

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