When Walt Disney died, the studio went into a creative lockdown. The mantra "What Would Walt Do" comforted the old-timers, but it shackled the up-and-comers who wanted to take big risks on new approaches to animation.
Into this sleepy studio walked Steve Hulett, whose father Ralph had been an artist at the studio for nearly four decades. Hulett was hired as a storyman during a transitional time in the company's history, when Walt's spirit was receding and Hollywood kingpins Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg were taking over.
Hulett takes you into the sometimes dark Disney heart of power, politics, and the cult of personality. ...
So what the hell is this?
It's the book and kindle version of the memory exercise I wrote twenty-odd months ago, part of which has unspooled chapter by chapter on Cartoon Brew. Some people have wanted it in book form, and now here it is.
I commenced scribbling chunks of Mouse when I was on a cut-rate cruise in the Fall of 2012. (You can only walk windy decks for so long). I wrote on yellow note pads because I didn't have a computer, and I kept at it until I had a bunch of pads filled. I had no idea what I was going to do with the mass of words I had put down, but it was a satisfying way to revisit my youth.
When I had most of the piece written, I started putting the results up on TAG blog. By and by I got asked by Cartoon Brew if it could run them (I said yes), and then I received a message from Theme Park Press wondering if they could publish the whole thing as a book. (Again I said yes).
As chapters materialized on-line, director John Musker sent me e-mails filled with witty commentary and some badly-needed corrections. I asked him if he would write a foreword to the book, and to my amazement he said "Sure". He also provided caricatures of Pete Young and Yours Truly. I'm both grateful and indebted to him for everything he's done.
Lastly. Along with tales of the Disney Feature department during the eras of Ron Miller and Eisner/Katzenberg, the book contains interviews with a half-dozen Disney old-timers (Ward Kimball and Ken Anderson among them), and biographical sketches of Disney staffers who labored in the animation vineyards in the 1970s.
We now return to the usual TAG blog posts.