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Mickey And The Gang: Classic Stories In Verse Paperback – Dec 6 2005
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Although this art and story from the 1930s/1940s Good Housekeeping Magazine is unknown to casual Disney fans, it is an important part of early marketing efforts of the small Disney company of that time. I've known about these art and story treasures for decades and I'm thrilled to now own them in this book!!
The information in the book appears to be thoroughly researched and is presented in an entertaining manner.
I have bought previous books from Gemstone Publishing, so I knew their quality work - but the quality of this book surpasses even my expectations.
I feel that any Disney fan, especially those interested in the early cartoons and the early animated films, will love this book. This book is a bargain at its full suggested retail price, but it is a bargain deluxe at Amazon's reduced price!!!
I have spent hours pouring over this book and expect to get weeks of pleasure reading it. It is the type of book that I will return to read in the future again and again and again.
One note of warning ... Gemstone Publishing's books usually don't have large print runs. If you decide you want this book, I would suggest ordering it as soon as possible while it is still available for sale.
The rather rigid nature of the book's organization - cartoon plot summary, critique of the GH page, additional material - does get a bit tiresome after a while, especially after we reach the war years, which saw a gradual decline in the feature's overall quality. When the feature becomes "New Tales from Old Mother Goose" in its final incarnation, Gerstein metaphorically throws in the towel and lets the individual pages pretty much speak for themselves. But even if you "bleep" over the cartoons and other features that don't interest you (for my part, I chose to skip GH's lengthy and overly familiar tellings of the plots of Snow White and Pinocchio), you're likely to find something of interest on virtually every page. Gerstein writes well and flavors his commentary with a dash of humor that will be familiar to anyone who has read his scripts for American Disney comics. As to his accuracy, I've found only one (date-related) error in the book on the first reading, a fairly remarkable feat given the amount of material presented herein. Any Disney fan will simply have to have this book. Hopefully, if Gemstone can get the book distributed to the big chain bookstores and Disney stores, it will reach the wider pop-culture audience it manifestly deserves.
This lavish book by David Gerstein reprints all ten years worth of the Disney pages from Good Housekeeping in an over-sized, breathtaking format, printed on heavy glossy stock. But the book is much more than just the Disney page reprints. The book also features a synopsis of each of the animated shorts featured on the Disney Page, as well as excerpts from interviews with Disney talent, pictures of rare presskit material, storyboard sketches, reprints from newspaper and foreign adaptations of the shorts, and even vintage merchandise made to coincide with the release of the films. For "The Tortoise and the Hare", the book reprints 8 pages of the newspaper strip that adapted the story.
Mickey Mouse makes his first of many appearances in January 1935 with "The Band Concert". Other Mickey shorts featured in the book include "Alpine Mickey", "Mickey's Magic Hat", "Clock Cleaners", "The Brave Little Tailor" and "Mickey's Magic Lamp". Not to be outdone, Donald Duck is featured in numerous Good Housekeeping pages for his shorts like "Donald's Ostrich", "Good Scouts", "Donald's Gold Game", "The Hockey Champ", and many more. Throughout the book the reader will be treated to rare illustrations from such great Disney artists as Al Taliaferro and Carl Barks. The book provides readers the unique opportunity to peer into the past at Disney's creative and marketing process for these shorts.
When Disney was planning the release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", Good Housekeeping realized that a mere one page with verse and a few illustrations would not do justice to this full-length feature and thus in November and December of 1937, the page count was increased for the Disney page and instead of verse, a complete text novelization was published. The story was written by Dorothy Ann Blank, one of the screenwriters for the film and featured illustrations by renowned Swedish illustrator Gustaf Tenggren. Tenggren was already a well known artist and had done previous illustrations for Good Housekeeping prior to the Snow White novelization. Good Housekeeping would again expand their page count for the Disney section in October and November 1939, this time for the upcoming release of Pinocchio.
The wonderful aspect of "Mickey and the Gang" is its broad appeal. It will be a book that fans of Disney animation, comics, memorabilia, and history will all be able to appreciate. David Gerstein has helped shed the spotlight on a forgotten and yet very important period in Disney animation history. Gemstone has truly produced a fascinating and beautiful book for Disney fans everywhere. My highest recommendation!
Reviewed by Tim Janson
The book is beautifully designed and printed, with the artwork and photos reproduced in lush colors on high-quality glossy paper. It really makes you appreciate just how great Disney's artists were. Although it's a soft cover, the book feels sturdy, and is something you'll want to put on display and keep for years to come.
I seriously consider this a "must-buy" for any fan of classic Disney.