1957 Walt Disney Studio

It’s time travel again, boys and girls. Let’s hop in the wayback machine and remember what it was like at the Walt Disney Studios back in 1957. Yes, most of you reading this were not even born. Honestly, I can scarcely remember it myself. Good thing I have these nifty black & white photographs to jog my memory.

The handsome young man on the left is Tom Dagenais and that's a sexy pin-up he’s holding. Did you know that men often had Playboy centerfolds hanging in their offices and workspace? Yep, 1957 was another time and another world. Perhaps one day an angry actress will rip us all for our bad behavior. However, in 1957 the ladies didn’t seem to mind and they put up with our boorish behavior. The women were tough in 1957. They could often outdraw us, and even out drink us. However, let’s get back to Tom. He was a pretty good artist, but he soon found out that screenwriting promised a more profitable career so he made the switch. A decade or so later we even ended up working on the same television show over at ABC. I was surprised to find myself on the writing team of a network show. No matter. Our show was eventually cancelled and I went back to animation. Dagenais stuck it out however and eventually made writing his career.

The young guy in the middle photograph is Don Albrecht. I really don’t know much about Don except he was often a visitor to our office and that’s where I grabbed this cool black&white photograph. Eventually, Don ended up marrying the bosses secretary. Janie was a cute, perky young brunette who sat outside Andy Engman’s office. Once married, Don and Janie left the Walt Disney Studios and headed north. They probably settled in San Francisco where Don resumed his art career. At least his brief time at the Disney Studio wasn’t wasted.

The kid slumped in his chair on the right is Disney artist, John Leslie. Much like the scruffy young men of the nineteen fifties, Leslie seemed to adopt a James Dean like persona. At times, girls at the studio would mistake him for the troubled Hollywood actor who died in a car crash in 1955. John Leslie sometimes wore a black leather jacket and appeared to channel the teen age heart throb. Often we would see Leslie, cigarette in hand, slumped against a studio wall. At a glance he could easily pass for the famous actor. It soon became a studio gag to place signs on John’s office door stating that, “James Dean is Alive!”

This is what life was like back in the fifties. There were no computers and no technology of any kind. Heck! The photocopier hadn’t even arrived yet. Everything done was pretty much done by hand and working at Disney was still pretty darn special. Few people did this crazy job and fewer still knew that one could earn a living creating cartoons. We were an odd group of men and women back in the fifties. For some strange reason each of us found our way into the Walt Disney Studio and a handful of us remained for the rest of our lives. Is this a Disney Studio you'd like to visit?

It's the fifties at the Walt Disney Studios and luckily I had my camera handy.

It's the fifties at the Walt Disney Studios and luckily I had my camera handy.