by Les Clark and Miriam Leslie Clark | Release Date: October 23, 2019 | Availability: Print
“Bring some of your drawings in and let’s see what they look like.”
That's what Walt Disney told Les Clark at a lunch counter in Hollywood in 1927. Les brought in his drawings, and Walt told him to start on Monday.
As the first of Walt's "Nine Old Men," Les got many plum assignments, starting with Steamboat Willie and including such Disney feature films as Pinocchio, Dumbo, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp, along with dozens of short cartoons.
Nearly 50 years later, Les retired from Disney. This book, compiled by his daughter, Miriam Leslie Clark, is Les' memoir, packed with his first-hand stories of life at the Disney studio, from learning how to draw Mickey Mouse from his mentor, Ub Iwerks, to the story sessions, meetings, and pranks that filled each day during the Golden Age of Disney Animation.
Part One: Mouse House Infancy
Chapter 1: A New Star
Chapter 2: The Mouse That Started It All
Chapter 3: New Series Begins
Chapter 4: Hyperion Days
Chapter 5: Early Cartoon Shorts
Chapter 6: The Studio Grows
Chapter 7: Don Graham
Chapter 8: 1933 Cartoons
Chapter 9: Walt’s Polo Team
Part Two: Developing the Dream
Chapter 10: Innovation in Animation
Chapter 11: Clara Cluck
Chapter 12: The Band Concert
Chapter 13: Mid-1930s Animation
Chapter 14: Walt’s Nine Old Men
Chapter 15: Full-Length Features
Chapter 16: The War Years
Chapter 17: After the War
Part Three: Les Clark
Chapter 18: Les’ Youth
Chapter 19: Les Takes Over Mickey
Chapter 20: Busby Berkley
Chapter 21: Miriam
Chapter 22: The Set of Anything Goes
Chapter 23: The Romance
Chapter 24: Living Their Dream
Chapter 25: The Young Miri Years
Chapter 26: A New Life Begins
Chapter 27: Miri’s First Day at Disney’s
Chapter 28: Talks with Les
Chapter 29: Later Conversations
Chapter 30: Walt’s Death
Chapter 31: Marriage to Georgia
Chapter 32: Studio Gags
Chapter 33: A Successful Life Closes
In 1928, Walt Disney was riding high. Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoon series was doing well. The train ride to New York to sign a new contract was filled with optimism.
But New York proved to be a disaster. Walt lost his character and almost his entire staff of animators. Walt was devastated, and he had every right to be. However, Walt Disney was a stubborn man. What happened on the train trip back would influence the entire world and spark what is fondly called the “Golden Age of Animation”.
My father, Les Clark was there at the very beginning of that new creative journey; and what a marvelous trip it would turn out to be. The part time job Walt offered Les in 1927 would span 48 years.
These are the stories of what was happening during that time, Les’ family and some of the people whose creative talent make it come to life.
As Walt liked to say; “It all began with a mouse.”
Miri has a master’s degree in Art from Brigham Young University and has taught at Woodbury University and Maricopa Technical College. She is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society and has had solo exhibits at the Walt Disney Library and the Tweed Museum in Duluth, MN.
In 1981, Miri was Arizona Woman of the year, one of the top 50 outstanding young women in America. She was also Arizona Young Mother of the Year which is sponsored by Mothers of America.
She has written and illustrated five children’s books, and currently lectures and gives workshops throughout the Southwest.
Queen Creek, AZ, is her home along with her husband, Dennis. Their seven children are scattered around the United States.