Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Talking 'Walt's People' with Didier Ghez in 'The Mouse Castle Lounge'

You have to admire someone who takes on a project he admits will take 20 to 30 years to complete.

Didier Ghez is nine years into that project.

Didier Ghez
In a few weeks, he'll release Volume 13(!) of Walt's People, a collection of in-depth interviews with the men and women who knew, worked with, and were inspired by Walt Disney. Like its 12 predecessors, the contributors to these volumes read like a Who's Who of Disney historians: John Canemaker, Jim Korkis, Michael Barrier, Paul Anderson and many others. Of course, the interview subjects are pretty impressive too: Woolie Reitherman, Floyd Gottfredson, Fess Parker, Virginia Davis and Roy E. Disney, just to name a few.

Walt's People was born from an e-mail conversation Didier had with Jim Korkis in 2004 lamenting the dearth of serious Disney history that was available to researchers and armchair historians. As Didier wrote in Volume 1, "Huge amounts of amazing material was sleeping in working cabinets of serious Disney historians, unavailable to Disney enthusiasts for lack of publishing venues. Some would surface from time to time in a book released by Hyperion, some would see the light of day in a fanzine or on a website, but this seemed to happen less and less often."

And so, Didier got to work, reaching out to his fellow historians to clean out those working cabinets and dust off those under-utilized conversations with the greats of Disney history. Thirteen volumes later, he has amassed an astounding oral history of Disney, told by the animators, directors, artists and Imagineers who were there.

In my conversation with Didier in The Mouse Castle Lounge, we talk about his passion for Disney history and all the work he's put into making Walt's People a reality. We also discuss his upcoming book projects, which include the story of Walt Disney's trip to Europe in 1935 and how it continued to influence the Walt Disney Studios decades later.

We've got nothing but good people--Walt's people--in this week's Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

For more about Didier Ghez, visit disneybooks.blogspot.com or didierghez.com.

The Mouse Castle Lounge can also be heard on iTunes and Stitcher.

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