Back in the old days before computers, ipads and iphones became the popular storage medium, young kids like myself had scrapbooks. You could pick one up at at the local five and dime and build your own memories and dreams in the privacy of your bedroom. Animation had become my passion and as a young middle schooler I searched high and low for any scrap of information about the cartoon business. Amazingly enough, I found these published treasures in the most unlikely of places. Articles about the Walt Disney Studios appeared in a number of magazines back in the fifties and those magazines were usually in the dentist or doctor’s reception rooms. I flipped through movie fanzines and weekly periodicals looking for anything on animation. Thankfully, the magazines were so darn old, I actually found a Life Magazine article featuring the hot new Walt Disney animation feature film entitled, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Can you begin to imagine how long that magazine had been in the doctors office? Yikes! The film was released in the thirties, for heavens sake.
No matter. These newspaper and magazine articles were printed treasures for a kid like myself. After all, there were precious few places a young artist could find information about the animated cartoon business. Many of our elders considered animation a special kind of magic created by a man named, Disney. Most never gave a thought that these magical motion pictures were actually created by talented, young (most were back then) men and women. Working in animation was hardly considered a real job and most older people thought it wise that I focus my attention on a vocation that would pay the rent. Undeterred, I continued my search for animated articles and any scrap of information I could dig up about the wonderful world of animation.
In the photograph below you’ll see a page from my ancient scrapbook that features an article from a Hollywood fan magazine. This is only one of the many acticles I dug up back in the early fifties that took us inside the magical facility known as the Walt Disney Studios. Naturally, the Hollywood Studios used such excursions to the Disney Studios as a device to build a media profile for their budding young actors and actresses. In this particular case, we see a young Farley Granger and Phyllis Kirk as they tour the various departments of Walt’s magic factory. In the black & white photos we see a young Eric Larson as he explains the animation process. In another shot, director, Hamilton Luske stands on a stool as he explains Disney’s story development techniques. Naturally, these visits often included cute photo moments as the attractive young actors try their hand at painting a cartoon animation cel. It may have simply been a job for the young Hollywood couple, but it provided special acess for a kid who had never seen the inside of a cartoon studio. That’s why these articles were pasted in my special cartoon scrapbook so I could view them over and over again.
If you’re as old as I am, you may very well have had a scrapbook of your own. A kid’s scrapbook was the special repository of his or her dreams and aspirations, and they helped us continually focus on our ultimate goals. I still have my scrapbook today and it remains a treasure. Naturally, I still flip through the pages and remember what it was like being a twelve year old kid with lofty dreams. Dreams that I knew would one day be realized.