Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walt Disney Studios Fan Cards

Today's post is a fun one from Ken Martinez! He has a collection of something that I'd considered collecting at one time - fan cards from the Walt Disney Studio. But I always spent my money on other stuff (there's only so much moolah). Ken got some though!

Walt Disney Studio Cards

Today I wanted to share my small collection of Walt Disney Studio cards.  These cards were sent out to those who wrote the studio for whatever reason.  They were usually slightly larger than a continental sized postcard.  The 20,000 Leagues and 50th Anniversary studio cards shown here are close to legal size.  These were given to me by my sister in the early 1970’s as she lived in Los Angeles at the time and was able to get access to stuff like this for me.  They are originals.  Lots of these original cards go for high prices now, but there are reproductions out there that you can get for a mere $15.00.  I’m pretty sure when my sister got these for me in the early 1970’s they were much cheaper.  As you’ll see here, I’m a fan of the live-action films produced by Walt Disney back in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Here’s one of my favorite studio cards showing Peter Pan with Moonlit London and Neverland in the backdrop.  It’s interesting to note that the Moonlit London and Neverland scenes are the highlight of Disneyland’s “Peter Pan Flight” attraction itself.  It represents my favorite moments in the Disney animated classic.  Peter Pan along with Pinocchio, Dumbo and Lady and the Tramp are my favorite Disney animated features.  I do have two other studio cards for Pinocchio and Lady and the Tramp.

The live-action film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was released a couple of days before Christmas in 1954.  It is my single favorite live-action film that Walt Disney produced.  It was directed by Richard Fleischer, son of early Disney competitor and animation pioneer Max Fleischer.  It also has one of the best casts ever assembled for a Disney film.  Even though James Mason’s Captain Nemo is the star of the show, it seems that Kirk Douglas as Ned Land received top billing.  Also featured are Paul Lukas as Professor Pierre Aronnax and Peter Lorre as Conseil.  Fleischer went on to direct two other sci-fi classics, “Fantastic Voyage” and “Soylent Green”.

The 1959 black-and-white live-action comedy, “The Shaggy Dog” was based on “The House of Florence” by Felix Salten, same author who wrote “Bambi”.  Disney regulars Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran “Moochie” played brothers in this Disney comedy as they did in ‘Old Yeller” and again in “Swiss Family Robinson”.  Pictured are Fred MacMurray, Annette Funicello, Roberta Shore, Kevin Corcoran and a shaggy “Bratislavian” sheepdog.  Paul Frees puts in a brief appearance as Narrator and J.W. Galvin, Psychiatrist.   This was also Annette Funicello’s feature film debut.  “The Shaggy Dog” ended up being the most profitable picture for Disney at the time of its release.  

1961’s Disney comedy “The Absent-Minded Professor” also filmed in black-and-white and is another favorite of mine.  Who could forget Professor Brainard flying his Model T over Washington D.C.  At the center of the gang riding in the Model T is none other than Alonzo P. Hawk played by Keenan Wynn, son of Ed Wynn.  Keenan Wynn would go on play Alonzo P. Hawk again in the 1963 sequel “Son of Flubber” and 1974’s Love Bug sequel ‘Herbie Rides Again”.  Also of note is Wally Boag, who appears briefly as a TV newsman.  Mr. Boag also made brief appearances in “Son of Flubber” as George, the father in a Flubber commercial and the flabbergasted driver in “The Love Bug”.

This is my favorite studio card from my small collection.   It’s for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney Productions.  It starts with Oswald and Steamboat Willie and features a few characters from all the major Disney animated features from Snow White to The Aristocats.  The characters I can’t find are for Sleeping Beauty.  But also featured, are Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle and the Contemporary Resort.  From the live-action films are Davy Crockett, Mary Poppins and Herbie from The Love Bug. 

This was the generic response to a fan writing a letter to the Walt Disney Studios.  It seems to have appeared on lots of cards.

This response was specific to those who wrote in about the “The Shaggy Dog” inquiring about the film.

In 2023, the Walt Disney Company will be celebrating 100 Years.  That’s only six years away.  Hope you enjoyed this small collection of Walt Disney Studios studio cards.



Nanook said...


What fun. Thanks for sharing these great cards with us.

TokyoMagic! said...

I really like that artwork on the "Fifty Happy Years" card. I remmeber when it was used on the cover of Disney News Magazine that year. I have an Alice In Wonderland card that might be a fan card. I never really knew what it was from or what it was used for.

Thanks for sharing these, Ken!

Scott Lane said...

Very cool! Thanks Ken

Chuck said...

These are great, Ken. Thanks for sharing!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Thanks for sharing your collection, looks like lots of fun.

Thanks again for the mention on the Absent Minded Professor card. As you can see my beaming face in the middle of the crowded car.

DrGoat said...

Very cool Ken. Thanks! A great thing to have in your collection. Free stuff nowadays is almost non-existent.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, Scott and Chuck, glad you guys enjoyed the cards.

TokyoMagic!, I like the artwork too. It is my favorite card. It's hard to believe the 50th Anniversary was over forty years ago. I'd love to see your Alice card.

Alonzo P Hawk, I was really hoping you'd chime in today as you were utmost in mind when putting today's post together. He's a cool and memorable character.

DrGoat, glad you enjoyed the cards. Free stuff is definitely rare nowadays and it's not as interesting as the older stuff.

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful, Ken. I had no idea that these existed.

Thanks so much to both of you.


top_cat_james said...

I love Oswald, but I'm surprised he was included on the anniversary postcard as he was still a Universal property at that time. And logistically, shouldn't the Alice Comedies be at the beginning, anyway?

I imagine Sleeping Beauty wasn't included because it was such a huge financial loss for the studio. The Sword and the Stone is not represented, either.

Major Pepperidge said...

top_cat_james, I was surprised at the inclusion of Oswald as well. I guess if you want to get really nerdy, the Newman Laugh-O-Grams even preceded the Alice comedies! Even with the financial loss, it seems odd that Sleeping Beauty isn't there.

K. Martinez said...

top_cat_james, You're right! The Sword in the Stone is missing. I didn't catch that. All I can think of is that perhaps the omission was because the animated feature was largely forgotten by the studio. I don't ever remember it being re-released in theaters or promoted like the other animated features were. It was only through the home video market and Disney Channel that I was able to view it for the first time in the 1980's.

I would've thought Sleeping Beauty would be included as it was and still is considered one of the major Walt Disney classics. It was re-released in theaters just three years earlier in 1970. It does seem like a strange omission to me.

I had thought about Alice not being included at the beginning too. The only thing I could guess is that she was a live-action character in a cartoon world and didn't have the iconic look or graphic appeal like the other characters that were represented in the artwork.

Major Pepperidge. Weren't the Newman Laugh-O-Grams technically produced under Laugh-O-Gram Studios and not the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio? I could be wrong, but that's what I seem to remember reading. Either way, it's interesting what was included and not included in the artwork.

Anyway, thank you both for commenting. It just makes me appreciate those early days and the history behind the beginnings of the Studio even more. Perhaps the exclusions were merely because they had to pick and choose. It would interesting to know what went on behind scenes in creating the 50th anniversary artwork.

walterworld said...

Great stuff. Thanks Ken

(and The Major of course)