Glimpses into the Golden Age of Disney Animation

by Les Clark and Miriam Leslie Clark | Release Date: October 23, 2019 | Availability: Print

An Animator's Life

“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.

Table of Contents



Part One: Mouse House Infancy

Chapter 1:

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 Wieble

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.

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