Hollywood’s Official 1925 “Important Directors”
By Paul F. Anderson
The Disney and Animation history world were rocked (well, as much as a bunch of scholars, academics, historians, writers, and bloggers can be!) when earlier this year one of Hollywood’s most important early periodicals was scanned and posted online at the Internet Archive. And to add to our euphoria, it is searchable. Yes, Film Daily is now available for the entire world to see, search, and read! JB Kaufman, my fellow partner in crime (and WDFF consulting historian supreme), and I have marveled at how easy some research has become. In the past, for us to mine the valuable information held within the Film Daily required a trip to Los Angeles, appointments at The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library (not an easy task), and then several days to page through each issue of the publication (with the use of antiquated finding aids). Then, of course, deciding on what was the most important to copy (the Herrick library had a limit of 100 copies … A YEAR!). Not only this, but all the resulting expense that it entails (airfare, hotel, food, transportation, etc.). Now, within minutes, we can accomplish the same task. Is this the end of the historian as we know it? Absolutely not. It has made our job easier (and anybody else who decides to search out this treasure trove), but it still takes a trained eye and years of experience to make sense of what we find and use it in historical context to tell the story. But I’ll save that for another post. 
I have spent a bit of my spare time (what little I have) on finding material within the Film Daily of note, and doing so chronologically. This particular piece appealed to my historical sensibilities, for it is Walt in the genesis of his career … and receiving worthy attention. It is from the June 7, 1925 issue and appeared in a feature titled “Biographies of Important Directors.”  Not only is Walt receiving recognition from his peers, he is also in good company–on the very same page as Walt is another “up and comer” … Cecil B. DeMille.
Click On Image For Glorious Detail
I am also researching some of the history behind Walt’s portraits, and I believe this might be one of the very first “official” Hollywood portraits of Walt; it is also remains as one of my favorites. When I found this in the Film Daily (after an arduous 55 seconds of research on the Internet) I was reminded that many years ago I had purchased an original of this photo for the DHI Archives. Enjoy.
Dapper Walt! ca. 1924-1925
(Click On Image For Glorious Detail!)

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