Walt Disney photobombed at Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. 1965.

The Disney History Institute is well known for insightful and rare Walt Disney history! Here we are once again (tongue planted firmly in cheek). While rummaging through some long-forgotten files here at the Institute, I happened upon this … yes, Walt Disney being photo bombed!! Early Octo ber 1965 at “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.” Comment on it; Share it; and…

Enjoy it!

(Even In Model Form!)


The New Tomorrowland of 1967 in model form and under construction.

As far as a collection of attractions, and a unified theme, I would have to say that, in this historian’s opinion, New Tomorrowland 1967 was (and probably always will be) the greatest Tomorrowland to ever grace a Disney theme park! This fantastic image was taken in early spring of 1967, with construction still underway, with a wonderful WED model in the foreground to give members of the press a sneak peak as to what was hiding behind the plywood walls and the berm.

I hope this wonderful image (a great homage to Walt Disney, who was actively involved in this New Tomorrowland) is a hit: view it; love it; share it … and …

Enjoy it!

A DISNEY HISTORY INSTITUTE MASHUP ~ Polo, Walt’s Sense of Humor, & Mom!


Walt Disney and actor Jack Holt on the Polo Field (circa 1930s).

We’ve had recent posts here on Walt and Polo (thanks to Susan Ehlert for posting the article I requested…and her tireless efforts on Disney dirt!), Walt’s sense of humor (yesterday, my post on Mickey’s Birthday), and family (just because!).

Walt’s birthday is coming up, and, as with any birthday, this is the time one starts to ponder on what to give that special person. For a rare sneak peek into Walt’s family life, we have a birthday letter to him from his beloved mother Flora. She wrote Walt on December 4, 1933 and declared: 

“We are all wishing for you a very happy birthday. The mailman has just brought us two letters from Ray and Herbert and they report a birthday party tomorrow at your house in honor of the day. I know you will have a nice time, I only wish we could be there. Well, we will be thinking of you. We would like to have sent you a ‘Polo pony’ but they wouldn’t take it at the post office.”

I think we see where Walt got his sense of humor from! With the pleasantries out of the way, Flora then asks her son about his hobby: “Are you playing much these days? Ray warns us you are getting pretty good at it!” This, must have made Walt smile. Finally, Flora proclaims ‘Do be careful!’ “ This must have brought a tear to Walt’s eye (this is why moms are special).

The image, that sort of loosely ties it all together, is from the publication “POLO Y COMPO” from 1938 (the 46th issue). It features a very dapper and striking Walter Elias Disney, with the equally striking movie star Jack Holt (who was know for being “striking” due to his prominent jaw and dapper mustache–both of which made him an ideal candidate for masculine leading men roles in the late 1920s and 1930s). Walt’s friendship  with Holt came via Polo.

For now, be dapper, be striking and be sharing … AND enjoying!



Rare animation drawing of Mickey and Pete from “The Steamboat Willie” (1928).

The day is coming! The day that the Walt Disney Company has officially declared to be Mickey’s birthday, November 18th. While all of the other sites are full of all the details, we here at DHI try to be a bit unique when it comes to history (that is, not repeating everything we already know).


I was sort of in a strange mood when I went searching for something Walt/Mickey related for the upcoming birthday; so that is definitely reflected in this DHI MM Birthday Celebration. More than anything, I think the following shows Walt’s sense of humor, which often gets forgotten in biographies. He was clever, with a touch of droll wit. 


The image shows one Disney character that does not care about Mickey’s birthday; more importantly, it is a layout drawing from the cartoon that gives us Mickey’s birthday as November 18th, “Steamboat Willie.” The drawing is rare in this is one of only a very few drawings (of any kind!) to feature both Mickey Mouse and Pete. 


During World War II Walt had dedicated his Studio to helping win the War. At one point in 1943 it was estimated that 94% of all Studio work was War-related in some way. The United States Treasury Department came calling to Walt on several occasions, most notable of which was the short cartoon “The New Spirit” (1942) which was made to encourage American citizens to pay their income tax in support of the War.

Walt dealt with many individuals in the Treasury Department, with his main contact being John L. Sullivan, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. On January 13, 1942,  Walt wrote Sullivan about returning from Washington to Los Angeles. Walt mentioned the recent publicity art that the Studio had created for magazines and newspapers. Walt joked about the art, “If you get a chance, take a look at it, you’ll find it amusing … and please notice that Mickey and Donald have put me down as their dependent! Do you think your experts will allow that?”

Sullivan did not respond, so I am guessing there was never an audit and Walt, Mickey and Donald never got in trouble.


Not that it is important, but it is interesting to note from the letter, that Walt’s return home via plane was “hectic”!! Walt explained, “One of the motors almost conked off as we were leaving.” If that weren’t enough, Walt, the patriot, gave up his berth to a defense worker!


Until next time for the Journal of a Disney Historian, please comment with any questions or suggestions, please post on our Facebook page with any thoughts of continuing the Disney History discussion and finally feel free to let loose any comments, suggestions or thouhts in our comments section below.

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