Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Vault of Walt 4 by Jim Korkis

Jim Korkis is back with a fourth book in his Vault of Walt series and if the introduction is to be believed he’ll be gracing us with more editions over the next few years, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Korkis for those who don’ know is one of the best animation writers working today. His books are beyond informative and are the sort of thing you’ll return to over and over again simply because they fun to read…and will become the way of settling arguments you’ll have with friends after you tell them something they don’t quite believe.

The Vault of Walt series is Korkis’ look at all things great and small concerning Walt Disney, his movies and his parks (my review of the previous books is here and other Korkis reviews are here). Korkis will take one subject per chapter and then give you everything you need to know about it in that chapter. I love how he makes things you don’t think you’d care about incredibly interesting-say a listing of all of the homes of Walt, which is how this fourth Volume begins...

...okay I just lied there, while the fourth book begins with a talk of the homes of Walt Disney it's one of the least interesting chapters I've run across in a Korkis book. It's a tad too minutae. On the other hand the two chapters that follow- one on the various Disney Studio locations and the next on four movie theaters that are important to Disney history are much more interesting.

I know I'm a Korkis fan which makes my raving about the latest book suspect. But the truth is there are at four chapters that make the book must reading and even if I wasn't a fan these four chapters would had me falling in love with the book instantly.

The first must read chapter is on on Winsor McKay's GERTIE THE DINOSAUR. Yes Gertie isn't a Disney character but Gertie was essentially the point where animation sprung to life. Korkis explains why Gertie is so important and then goes farther explaining related stories including the Bray Studio attempt to bootleg her and even sue McKay for using techniques he invented.

The second must read chapter is on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. While I'm not a fan of the character Korkis beautifully explains how Oswald begat Mickey Mouse and more importantly puts the whole story of the character being stolen from Walt to rest. In fourteen pages Korkis explains it all better than all of the Disney press that accompanied the reclamation of the original Disney cartoons

Third was the back story of the Haunted Mansion in the theme park. Yes I've seen all sorts of stuff on the attraction including the great Extinct Attraction Club DVDs , but none of it explained what it was supposed to be as well as this chapter.

The last must read chapter is the one on animator pranks. I was reading it on a train and had everyone looking at me I was roaring with laughter. Korkis could probably write a whole book on animator pranks, but I don't think anyone would ever finish it because they'd die from laughing half way through.

There are other treasures (the making of the original FRANKENWEENIE, or Walt's book collection) but they are merely added value to the book after the above four chapters.

You have to get this book. Frankly there is no reason not to since it's so good...and of course you'll want to add it to the collection of the other three books in the series. And with Christmas coming its the perfect gift.

Another Korkis home run.

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