The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968

The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968


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“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

—Walt Disney

One of the most creative minds of the 20th century, Walt Disney created a unique and unrivaled imaginative universe. Like scarcely any other classics of cinema, his astonishing collection of animated cartoons revolutionized storytelling on screen and enchant to this day across geographies and generations.

In TASCHEN’s first volume of one of the most expansive illustrated publications on Disney animation, some 1,500 images and essays by eminent Disney experts take us to the beating heart of the studio’s “Golden Age of Animation.” This landmark book traces Disney’s complete animation journey from the silent film era, through his first full-length feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and the pioneering artistic experiment Fantasia (1940), right up to his last masterpieces Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) and The Jungle Book (1967).

With extensive research conducted through the historical collections of the Walt Disney Company, as well as private collections, editor Daniel Kothenschulte curates some of the most precious concept paintings and storyboards to reveal just how these animation masterpieces came to life. Masterful cel setups provide highly detailed illustrations of famous film scenes while rare pictures taken by Disney photographers and excerpts from story conferences between Walt and his staff bring a privileged insider’s view to the studio’s creative process.

Each of the major animated features that were made during Walt’s lifetime—including Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians—are given their own focus chapter, without forgetting less familiar gems such as the experimental short films of the Silly Symphonies series and underappreciated episodic musical films such as Make Mine Music and Melody Time, all of which receive the same meticulous research and attention. Many unfinished projects, among them the proposed sequels to the legendary musical Fantasia or a homage to Davy Crockett by painter Thomas Hart Benton, are also highlighted with rarely seen artworks, many of them previously unpublished. Throughout, contributions from leading Disney specialists detail the evolution of each respective film.

Realizing the Disney style was a collective project and, as much as the master himself, The Walt Disney Film Archives acknowledges the outstanding animators and designers who influenced the style of the studio, among them Albert Hurter, Gustaf Tenggren, Kay Nielsen, Carl Barks, Mary Blair, Sylvia Holland, Tyrus Wong, Ken Anderson, Eyvind Earle, and Walt Peregoy.First volume of one of the most expansive illustrated publications on Disney animation.

Produced with the assistance of the Walt Disney Archives and Disney’s famous Animation Research Library.

Covers the Walt Disney journey from the era of silent films through to his final masterpiece The Jungle Book (1967).

Includes the first full-length feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the landmark artistic experiment Fantasia (1940), and beloved postwar classics such as Cinderella (1950) and Peter Pan (1953).

1,500 illustrations and essays by eminent Disney experts.

Masterful cel setups provide highly detailed illustrations of famous film scenes.

Remarkable behind-the-scenes insight with excerpts from story conferences with Walt and his staff and rare pictures taken by Disney studio photographers.

Copyright © 2016 by Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783836552912
Publisher: Taschen America, LLC
Publication date: 10/10/2016
Pages: 620
Sales rank: 619,386
Product dimensions: 12.80(w) x 18.70(h) x 2.50(d)

About the Author

Daniel Kothenschulte has written books and numerous articles about film history and visual culture. Beside heading the film department of Frankfurter Rundschau since 2001 he is a devoted silent movie pianist.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker John Lasseter maintains creative oversight of all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Lasseter made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film. He subsequently went on to direct A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars, and Cars 2. Lasseter has executive produced all of Pixar’s films since 2001, including the 2015 release of Inside Out and Finding Dory in 2016, and has executive pro­duced all of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ films since 2006, including its most recent releases Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. He is currently directing Toy Story 4.

Russell Merritt teaches in the Film and Media Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he writes mainly on European and American film history. He has taught and lectured interna­tionally on Disney, animation, silent film, and art house cinema. He co-wrote the award-winning Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series with J. B. Kaufman. He and J. B. also compiled the program notes for the epic multi-disc Silly Symphony Collection 1929–1939, a collection of recordings from the Silly Symphony soundtracks. He was senior advisor on D. W. Griffith: Father of Film, a three-part series pro­duced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill for American Masters, which was nominated for an Emmy Award. He has also pro­duced The Great Nickelodeon Show, which has toured major U.S. film festivals and was featured at the Pordenone (Italy) Silent Film Festival.

An internationally respected animation critic and historian, Charles Solomon has written for The New York Times, Newsweek (Japan), Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Variety, Télérama, and National Public Radio. He is the author of 17 books on animation, including Once Upon a Dream: From Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty to Disney’s Maleficent, Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey, The Disney That Never Was, and A Wish Your Heart Makes: From the Grimm Brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella. Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the first film book nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2008, Solomon received the LA Press Club Award for radio feature reporting and ASIFA-Hollywood’s June Foray Award in 2015.

Dr. Robin Allan (1934–2014) was the author of the groundbreaking book Walt Disney and Europe, the accumulation of ten years of study on both sides of the Atlantic. It inspired the seminal exhibition “Il était une fois Walt Disney” (Grand Palais, Paris, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Kunsthalle München, 2006/7). He published two children’s books and many articles on Disney and lectured on the subject in Britain, North America, France, and Germany. In 2007, he began to donate his collection and archive of research to The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at Exeter University, England.

Didier Ghez is the author of the books Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality, Disney’s Grand Tour, and They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age, and the editor of Life in the Mouse House: Memoir of a Disney Story Artist, Inside the Whimsy Works: My Life with Walt Disney Productions, and 50 Years in the Mouse House: The Lost Memoir of One of Disney’s Nine Old Men. He runs the Disney History blog (, the Disney Books Network website (, and serves as managing editor of the Walt’s People book series.

J. B. Kaufman is an author and film historian who has published and lectured extensively on Disney animation, American silent film history, and related topics. His books include The Fairest One of All, South of the Border with Disney, and Pinocchio: The Making of the Disney Epic. He is also co-author, with Russell Merritt, of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series and the award-winning Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney. In addition, Kaufman has presented programs at festivals, including the TCM Classic Film Festival; the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; and Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the distin­guished annual silent film festival in Pordenone, Italy, where he contributed to The Griffith Project and other retrospectives. He also holds forth online at www jbkaufman com.

Katja Lüthge is a Berlin-based film journalist and writes about film, comics, and politics for numerous dailies. As curator, she con­tributed to several exhibitions on comics and has a passion for animal characters in comics and animation.

Brian Sibley has been obsessed by Disney since the day, aged four, when he had to be taken out of a cinema showing a Mickey Mouse cartoon because he wouldn’t stop screaming! Since then, as a writer and broadcaster, he has presented and contributed to scores of TV and radio programs about the Mouse and his maker. He has lectured extensively on many aspects of animation, and has made appearances on the “extras” of numerous Disney DVDs. He is also the co-author of Mary Poppins: Anything Can Happen If You Let It, The Disney Studio Story, Mickey Mouse: His Life and Times, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Making of the Classic Film. His other publications include books on filmmaking, fantasy art, and literature and popular culture.

Leonard Maltin first wrote about Walt Disney in his magazine Film Fan Monthly at the age of 16. He expanded that material into a book, The Disney Films, and went on to host and co-produce the Walt Disney Treasures DVD series. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its com­panion volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his 30-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies, and hosts the podcast Maltin on Movies. His books include Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, The Great Movie Comedians, The Art of the Cinematographer, and Movie Comedy Teams. He holds court at

Mindy Johnson is an award-winning author, animation and film historian, musician, and educator. Her books include the critically acclaimed Tinker Bell: An Evolution and the upcoming Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation, and she has also contrib­uted to several volumes on animation, including Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man. In addition to teaching various film and animation courses in Los Angeles, Mindy continues to write, lecture, and consult for The Walt Disney Company, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Masters, SiriusXM Radio, The Walt Disney Family Museum, and several notable Hollywood leg­ends. With a background in television and film produc­tion, Mindy is also an award-winning playwright, Grammy-nominated songwriter, a contributing artist on several internationally acclaimed recordings, and oversees her own independent music publishing interests.

Dave Smith is the Chief Archivist Emeritus of the Walt Disney Company and a Disney Legend. He joined the Company in 1970 to found the Walt Disney Archives. For over 40 years, he served in the position of chief archivist, charged with collecting and preserving all aspects of Disney history and making the material available for use. He has written numerous books, including Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia, Disney: The First 100 Years, Disney Trivia from the Vault, and Disney Facts Revealed. For many years he has had a regular “Ask Dave” column, beginning in the Disney Channel Magazine and currently on the D23 website, where he answers Disney questions from fans. Smith retired in 2010 but continues to consult for the Company, work on books, and give occasional talks and interviews.

Andreas Platthaus was born in Aachen, Germany, in 1966. He studied rhetorics, philosophy, history, and economics before joining the staff of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 1997, where today he is working as an editor for literature and literary life. He wrote several books and essays on comic and animation aesthetics and history. His biography about Walt Disney, Von Mann und Maus: Die Welt des Walt Disney, was published in Berlin in 2001. He joined the D.O.N.A.L.D. (Deutsche Organsation nicht­kommerzieller Anhänger des lauteren Donadismus), a German organization of non-commercial followers of “Donaldism,” in 1983, became its president in 1992, and was awarded with its honorary membership in 2007.

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