All posts by mouseclubhouse

Animator Tim Walker’s
brave battle

(NOTE: You may click on the images in this article to view them larger)

The first person that comes to my mind when I think of my Disney TV Animation days is Tim Walker. I started out working on “DuckTales” and Tim was the director. We quickly became friends and I loved his passion for animation, and learning about his career as an animator and artist. Many years later, his art is helping him overcome Parkinson’s disease.

Around 1952, when Tim was four or five years old, he was at his grandparents’ house and ran by the TV. Noticing a cartoon on it, he stopped in his tracks and was immediately taken by what he saw. Asking his grandparents about it, he learned what they knew of animation, and that it was drawn by artists, so that day he grabbed a pencil and paper and decided to start drawing. He never stopped.

In 1959, still fascinated with animation, a man moved in next to Tim’s parents, and he happened to be the head of publicity for the local ABC network. The man told Tim about a new show that he thought he’d like called “The Flintstones,” and that it was soon coming to ABC, and was being done by the same people that did Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. He told Tim that the where the Hanna Barbera studio was, which wasn’t too far from where they lived. Tim realized that when he rode his bike to school, if he went just a couple more blocks he’d get to Hanna Barbera.

One Saturday Tim decided to ride to Hanna Barbera for the first time. He looked around and noticed a couple big dumpsters outside the building. Curious if there might be anything interesting inside, Tim took a peek, to discover that they were filled not just with trash but with cels and artwork! He filled his knapsack with whatever artwork he could, although there was so much he couldn’t take it all, and he continued grabbing artwork for the next ten years. He also discovered that other studios such as Format Films and Bob Clampett’s studios were nearby and tended to have their artwork outside in the trash for the picking.

On one occasion, while Tim was literally in the dumpster at Hanna Barbera, rummaging through the discarded artwork, he heard a voice exclaim, “Get out of the trashcan, you knothead!” Although he didn’t know who he was at the time, he later learned it was half of the Hanna Barbera team, Joe Barbera. Joe would one day be Tim’s boss.

A few decades later, for Joe Barbera’s birthday, the company was making a special video for him with greetings from employees who worked for the original Hanna Barbera productions. Tim was invited to participate with his own greeting, for which he said, “Hey Mr. B. Happy birthday. I bet you don’t remember the first time we met. I do! I was 10 years old and I was in the trashcan and you told me to “get out the trashcan, you knothead!” He continued to explain that that little boy made a career in animation and has been in the business for over 30 years. While the video was shown on the big screen at the party, Tim still remembers looking over at Joe and seeing him noticeably emotional.

Tim’s neighborhood had been proving to be an important location to kickstart his career, and another neighbor helped him get his first job in animation.

In 1964, Fred Wolf of the Murakami-Wolf animation studio lived at the end of Tim’s street and gave him a summer job. Although he was hired as a gopher, Tim soon found himself given the opportunity to be involved in animation. First, he was able to assist with the opening titles of the “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” live action television series which the animation studio was asked to do. A radar circle with a line that would circulate appeared in the sequence, and Tim worked on that white radar line that would circulate around. It was just a piece of white tape laid on the cel, and Tim would place the tape for each frame, always making sure it protruded perfectly from the middle of the white dot in the center. Soon after, Tim found himself doing “in-betweening,” creating the drawings between the key animation frames for Sparkletts Water and Post cereal commercials.

Working for Murakami-Wolf cemented the fact that Tim was in love with animation. That is what he always wanted to do for a living, there was never a plan B. After graduating from high school, Tim attended the renowned Chouinard Art Institute for three years, and he was there when it became Cal Arts, for which Walt Disney was one of the founders. Tim graduated from the first Cal Arts class.

After graduating from Cal Arts, Tim had no problem finding work in animation and worked at a number of animation studios over the years. It was common for animator’s work to slow down seasonally, so they went wherever the work was. Always retaining a soft spot in his heart for Hanna Barbera, he was thrilled when he got to work for them on “Scooby Doo” and their other shows, including a later version of “The Flintstones,” which he always remained a huge fan of.

I first met Tim in 1987 when I got a job at Hanna Barbera and by that time he was a director, working on “The Smurfs.” Television animation started being done overseas. The studios would do much of the creative work in America, such as the scripts, storyboards, character designs, and much more. (Part of my job was to gather all of that and send then send it overseas to be animated.)

Without the need for the animators, Tim had a choice: to do storyboards or learn how to direct. Tim chose to learn everything he could about directing.
Directing in animation was all about the timing. There was the slugging, which involved determining the number of frames of animation needed for every action in the show and recording it on the storyboards, and then there were the exposure sheets which went into even greater detail, indicating every frame of the show. Tim learned timing from Ray Patterson, whose animation credits include “Fantasia”, “Dumbo”, and the Tom and Jerry shorts, but Tim’s own experience as an animator had also given him great insight into timing. He soon became one of the best animation directors in the business.

Both Tim and I soon ended up at Disney, working on the series “DuckTales” and I loved spending time with him, watching him work, visiting the Disney studio lot, and visiting some of the old animator’s hangouts for lunch. Tim knew so much history for those places we visited and I loved hearing all his stories and meeting some of his animation friends.

When I was working on the series “TaleSpin” and the producer left to go back to Disney Feature Animation, Tim took over and became my boss! He later produced some episodes of “Darkwing Duck,” but he chose to go back to directing because he enjoyed working more closely with the individual scenes.

Tim was under a five-year contract at Disney when another opportunity arose. The contract allowed an artist to do freelance work, but they had to give Disney the first opportunity. If Disney didn’t have freelance work, the artist could accept other work.

With a year and a half left on his contract, Tim was at work when the phone rang. It was Liza Ann Warren, whom he had worked with at Hanna Barbera and Disney. Liza Ann had just started working at Warner Bros. and she asked to have lunch with him. She explained that she was working on the new Batman animated series and she showed him all kinds of gorgeous pre-production artwork. She handed him a storyboard and asked, “How soon can you start slugging?” Following that meeting, Tim spent the next 27 years at Warner Bros.

Around 2006, Tim started to notice a weakness in his right arm, which he assumed was carpal tunnel syndrome, however a visit to the doctor had him quickly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This was not carpal tunnel, and Tim was told his right hand would never get better, only worsen.

“Frustration, Temptation, Salvation”
Done at 4am, with no meds,
right-handed, 11-28-2017

Parkinson’s most often affects the left side, not the right. This could be devastating news for anybody, but particularly a right-handed artist. During any hard time it was Tim’s career that got him through it. His art was his life and Tim felt destroyed. He knew he had to accept that his career was over, and even worse he felt that his life was over.

Tim’s devastation soon turned to determination. He was not ready to give up his passion, and he was determined to learn to draw with his left hand, even if it just meant doing abstracts. Tim went to the bookstore and got a sketchbook but he also got a book for early education, for teaching writing to kids, with pages of lined paper and dotted letters that kids can trace. He filled up that book, using his left hand, and taught himself how to control his left hand. The first time he picked up a pencil in the left hand to draw something he surprised himself. It wasn’t bad!

After his diagnosis, he told his boss, Howard, that he has Parkinson’s disease and that he can no longer write or draw with his right hand, but Howard wasn’t ready to let Tim go, telling him, “I’m not paying you for beautiful calligraphy, I’m paying you for what you know. As long as I can read it, you’re here.”

In 2010 Tim published an inspirational book of his left-handed artwork, “Drawings from the Left, or Parkinson’s Pictures.” The book become highly inspirational, telling a story, through humorous art, of overcoming a hurdle that seemed too large to climb. Almost every day he gets calls from people all over the world, particularly people with Parkinson’s, and he helps them to “never give up,” often sending them a copy of his book.

The Parkinson’s Monster

After six years of working since being diagnosed, Tim’s Parkinson’s got progressively worse and he retired in 2014, after 50 years in animation, because it started to affect his left side and he couldn’t keep up the pace. As the years progressed, there was a definite decline, not just in his work, but even in his movements. In his words, Tim was “shuffling along every day, walking like I was 90 years old.”

In 2021, Tim’s neurologist started working with experts at Stanford, and she brought one of his books to Stanford University and showed it to some doctors. They were inspired and invited Tim to do a Zoom call. After a series of tests, including observing him both on and off his meds, the doctors at Stanford decided they wanted to see him in person, and they loved him!

Tim brought some original paintings of his to show the doctors. The head doctor said, “Do you understand the magnitude of what you’ve accomplished?! This is nothing short of a miracle!” They praised his attitude and explained to him that they felt he would be a perfect candidate for a deep brain-stimulation operation.

Shortly before Tim’s six-hour brain surgery.

Through a series of events, Tim met a man named Jonathan from New York, who told him, “Tim, I got the operation six months ago. You’re going to love it. It’s life-changing! You’ll do great with it. You’ve got to do it.” Tim felt like a guardian angel was sent to him. After that he never ever thought about it being a six-hour brain surgery.

The operation was in August, 2021 and Jonathan was right, it gave Tim his life back. He’s even drawing with his right hand again! Talking with Tim after the operation is like talking with the same Tim I worked with at Disney in the ’80s! He sounds the same, and has that same spirit that I was so “drawn to.”

Tim realizes his operation was not a cure, but it’s buying time, and he sees that as nothing but a positive! And who knows what will happen with that extra time, because they are making all kinds of headway with Parkinson’s!
In 2014, Tim completed another book, “Shaken Not Broken: An Artist’s Journey Through Hell,” telling a story through his watercolor art, and hell it was at times. There was the insomnia, the constipation, the agony over the loss of control. Sometimes he would get very frustrated with his art and rip it up, and sometimes he wanted to just end it all.

It was Tim’s art that really got him through, and continues to give him the strength to fight. It is the same drive Tim had since he first discovered animation on his grandparent’s television and was determined to make a career of it. Nothing, not even Parkinson’s was going to keep Tim from doing what he loves, and that passion is saving his life today!

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Interview: Renie Bardeau (Disneyland/Walt Disney official photographer)

Renie Bardeau, and two of his well-known photos of Walt Disney
Renie Bardeau, and two of his well-known photos of Walt Disney

Renie began working as a photographer for Disneyland in 1959 and remained for 40 years. He became the chief photographer for the park, and in addition to shooting countless celebrities and dignitaries that would visit Disneyland, such as Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Prime Minister Nehru of India, and a number of US Presidents, Renie also photographed some of the most well-known photos of Walt Disney. He captured all the shows, parades, attractions and special events at Disneyland during his time there. Renie also took some of the most well-known photos of Walt Disney himself. Perhaps his best known photograph is of Walt, walking alone through the castle, an image that has later been dubbed “Footsteps,” and in a fire truck in front of the castle, which turned out to be Walt’s last visit to Disneyland.

Walt's last visit to Disneyland
Walt’s last visit to Disneyland

Renie's first photoshoot, the opening of the Monorail, 1959
Renie’s first photoshoot, the opening of the Monorail, 1959

Walt surrounded by children
Walt surrounded by children

Walt at the Creole Cafe (Now Cafe Orleans)
Walt at the Creole Cafe (Now Cafe Orleans)

Pinocchio's Daring Journey in Disneyland
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey in Disneyland

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson

Sleeping Beauty Castle with fireworks
Sleeping Beauty Castle with fireworks



2:06 Charlie Nichols, Disneyland’s first chief photographer; Renie’s start at Disneyland; He began summers only, and then began working full time

4:35 Walt Disney; A story of Walt at the Hills Bros. Coffee shop in Disneyland; “It’s not Mr. Disney, it’s Walt”; Renie first met Walt at the opening of the Pack Mules attraction at Disneyland; Walt’s philosophy on the Disneyland Guest; Everybody in the photography department took pictures as a team, they did not get credit

10:38 Renie watched Walt buy popcorn for the ducks; Renie photographed Walt under the castle, the photo now known as “Footsteps”

13:40 Renie never visited Disneyland before working there; The photography department at Disneyland, which was located above Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln; His first photoshoot was the grand opening of the Disneyland Monorail in 1959

15:40 The camera equipment, flash bulbs and film, and the photographing process; Missing shots

17:48  Some of the people that Renie photographed include Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Buck Owens; James Garner, Johnny Cash

20:38 Renie took over 10,000 photos in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle; Maintenance assignments included photographing pigeon poop on the castle; Photographing inside attractions and the Main Street Electrical Parade; Daily duties, a fish bowl filled with things to photograph; Uses of the photos included advertising, newspapers, magazines, etc.; Photographing fireworks

31:31 Walt Disney’s last photo in Disneyland, Walt and Mickey in the fire truck in front of the castle; Walt told Renie, “If you don’t have the shot in the can, you don’t have it.”

Interview: Dave Smith (Founder of the Walt Disney Archives)

Dave Smith, receiving Disney Legends Award
Dave Smith, receiving Disney Legends Award

Dave Smith founded the Walt Disney Archives in 1970, and continually developed the system for preserving Disney’s history and making it easily accessible.  Dave was a recognizable face and household name to Disney fans through his personal appearances at fan events, and his appearances on television programs and documentaries. He effectively gave the public access to the Archives through his priceless books, such as the Disney Encyclopedia A-Z, and his “Ask Dave” columns first in print magazines and later online.

As usual, I apologize for the quality as I never intended these to be heard. I originally was just posting text transcriptions of interviews.

2:57 Enjoying Disney when growing up; Before Disney he was a librarian and an intern at the Library of Congress

5:11 How he ended up working for Disney and forming the Walt Disney Archives; While at UCLA, Dave worked with the Disney Studios to create a Disney bibliography; Took a two-month leave of absence from UCLA to see what was available at Disney for the formation of an Archives

8:22 Dave began working as the Archivist in the 3H wing of the Animation Building; How he gathered materials; The purpose of the Archives and how it has grown; Collecting materials of Disney’s acquisitions; The types of materials the Archives keeps

14:02 The things Dave gets excited about finding; What Dave enjoys about the job; About The Disney Encyclopedia A-Z; How Dave gets the new facts about Disney

18:08 From the beginning, Dave hoped to make a career as the Disney Archivist; How Disney fans have changed since 1970; There was no organized Disney fan base yet; Favorite aspects of his job, meeting some of the Disney Legends; Inspiring others and mentoring those with a big interest in Disney

20:53 Favorite memories of working for Disney; Roy O. Disney hired Dave to compile the Disney genealogy and sent him around the country for it; Dave describes Roy; Roy told Dave that it was Roy’s idea, not Walt’s, to change the Disney Bros. Studio name to Walt Disney Productions

Interview: Miriam Nelson (Disneyland opening day choreographer)

Legendary dancer/choreographer Miriam Nelson
Legendary dancer/choreographer Miriam Nelson

Miriam Nelson was a legendary dancer/choreographer, working on numerous classic movies and television shows. She worked in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and on Broadway, and her work, and even choreographed a number for the Academy Awards. Miriam choreographed various shows for Disneyland over the years, including many of the dances on the televised opening day of Disneyland.


2:07 Enjoyed working with Ingrid Berman in “The Cactus Flower”; Taught Bette Davis the Can-Can; Worked on Art Linkletter’s Hollywood Talent Scouts; Choreographing “The Jolson Story” and doubling for Evelyn Keyes in the movie

8:08 Miriam was involved in the development of the traveling arena show Disney on Parade

12:17 Choreographing the live televised opening day of Disneyland; Producer Sherman Marks asked Miriam to choreograph a cast of hundreds; Choreographed the Davy Crockett number in Frontierland; Had to run from land to land for the opening; The same dancers were used in the various lands;

15:17 Dancers once got lost backstage during the Disneyland opening day event; Surprised when an unexpected number of kids entered Fantasyland; A small boy dancer was supposed to dance and was nowhere to be found; In Frontierland, Miriam was surprised when the ground was not paved as it was supposed to be

19:41 Miriam choreographed a lot of shows in Tomorrowland in following years; A note from Walt Disney; Directors were very frustrated and threatened to walk out; Was put up in a motel the night before the live broadcast

Interview: Marc Davis (Disneyland and Walt Disney Imagineering)

Disney Legends Alice and Marc Davis
Disney Legends Alice and Marc Davis

Walt Disney considered Marc Davis, one of his core animation team of “nine old men”!  Not only an animator, Marc designed many  characters such as Cruella De Vil and Tinker Bell, before moving on to WED, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering, where he designed many of the scenes for classic Disneyland attractions such as it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise.


4:46 After 101 Dalmatians, Marc was working on a concept for a film on Chanticleer, and in a strange meeting was told he couldn’t do that; After Chanticleer Walt asked Marc to work for WED and he started on the Mine Train attraction; Marc added some humor; He placed a fox shaking his head left and right next to a fox nodding his head up and down so they were looking at each other; Marc didn’t like the seat placement in the trains, feeling that people were looking at each other in the attraction rather that at the scenes, it was more important for people to see what was ahead, not what was behind you; Created a scene in the Mine Train which would be an earthquake, rocking the cars, but after some earthquakes he realized it would just scare people, the job wasn’t to scare people, but to entertain people

13:32 Adding humor to the Jungle Cruise including the elephant pool, the African veldt, later added the safari camp that the gorillas took over; Marc designed the trapped safari chased up the pole by the rhino because Walt wanted Marc to do things for the attractions that could be seen by the Disneyland Railroad, the safari was so good Walt wanted it in the ride; Walt was going to see a new elephant scene in the Jungle Cruise, a scene which didn’t work well for long; Tommy Walker was in charge of entertainment at the park and dressed in an elegant suit and played a practical joke on Walt in the elephant scene – Marc never saw Walt laugh like that

18:35 When Alice met Walt Disney at the Tam O’Shanter restaurant, and he told her he was going to hire her; The first job Alice did for Disney was making the costume live action costume for Briar Rose reference for Sleeping Beauty, she later worked on Toby Tyler, and then she was asked by request of Mary Blair to do the costumes for it’s a small world; designed the scenes for the attraction and met with the United Nations

23:28 Walt did not want a storyline in the Haunted Mansion; some artists were working on a storyline about a bride who was stood up at her wedding, but Walt didn’t want that; the appearance of Haunted Mansion exterior and Walt’s decision to keep “everything on the outside of these buildings should look neat and clean.” Bringing humor into Disneyland, and the trapped safari in the Jungle Cruise.

26:03 Marc Davis learned that Walt Disney wanted to do a Pirates of the Caribbean walk-through attraction; Alice Davis talks about creating the costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean; How realistic to be with pirates, and that the truth is that most died of venereal disease than in battles in bawdy houses. No characters were caricatures of Walt Disney, the staff or anybody except one who was a janitor.

34:20 Talking about the last show Marc worked on, America Sings

Interview: Tim Conway (Disney movies; Carol Burnett Show)

Tim Conway
Tim Conway

Tim Conway is not only a Hollywood Legend, but a comic genius. His work ranges from starring in the classic television series’ “McHale’s Navy,” and “The Carol Burnett Show” to playing the voice of Barnacle Boy on the animated series “Spongebob Squarepants.” He also appeared in a number of Disney films including, “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” “The Apple Dumpling Gang,” “The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again,” “Gus,” and “The Shaggy D.A.”

2:32 Tim’s start in comedy; He was interested in horse racing and wanted to be a jockey; Went to Bowling Green State University; Went into the army; Worked at a radio station and took over for performer Jack Riley, who had been writing promos; Tim got into acting in promotions and then directing television; Directed a morning show with host Ernie Anderson; Rose Marie discovered Tim’s work and brought it to Steve Allen; Tim worked on the Steve Allen show; Was offered the role of Ensign Parker on McHale’s Navy and ultimately took the role; Tim voices the role of Barnacle Boy with Ernest Borgnine of Spongebob Squarepants; Worked with Don Knotts a lot including some Disney movies

9:02 The Carol Burnett Show; Carol didn’t believe in incorporating political or religious humor so it always had wide appeal; Harvey Korman; Tim was a writer on the show and then performed something other than what he wrote

10:56 Working for Disney, starting with “The World’s Greatest Athlete,” and “The Shaggy D.A.”; Working on the Disney backlot; Getting pies in the face

13:20 Tim talks about Don Knotts and some of his comedy heroes; The Steve Allen show; Tim describes himself and reflects on his career

Interview: Marc Davis (Disney animation)

Two Disney Legends: Marc & Alice Davis
Two Disney Legends: Marc & Alice Davis

I’m so excited to share this interview with you, despite it’s poor quality. A 1997 conversation with the amazing Marc Davis, one of Walt Disney’s “nine old men”! Walt was so fond of Marc, whose work includes everything from designing characters such as Cruella De Vil and Tinker Bell to designing story and character concepts for such Disneyland attractions as it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise, Marc was a major part of Walt Disney’s success.

It was always a treat to receive the Christmas cards Marc drew
It was always a treat to receive the Christmas cards Marc drew


3:11 Marc taught life drawing at Chouinard Art Institute for 17 years; Alice Davis was one of Marc’s students in the class and started going out together

4:33 Started working for Disney on December 2, 1935, due to his knowledge of animals and anatomy; Began working as an assistant animator for Grim Natwick on the character of Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; With his knowledge of animals and anatomy, Marc became part of the story team on Bambi; Moved from studio on Hyperion to a studio on Seward St. in Hollywood; Marc was part of the first creative group to move to the new Burbank Disney Studios; Walt was so intrigued with Marc’s drawings of the Bambi character that Walt said he wants Marc to animate; Story director Perce Pearce would say “Man is in the Forest” to indicate that Walt was coming down the hall

8:47 Marc remembers Walt Disney, “What a tremendous man he was”

10:53 As a treat for the assistant animator, Marc got to animate on Snow White, the scene with Dopey dancing on top of Sneezy

11:46 On Bambi, Marc worked on the design of the characters, Bambi, Thumper and Flower, animated a lot on the film as well; Marc did a photographic study of human babies and put those expressions into young Bambi

12:49 Walt Disney had relied on his foreign revenues from the worldwide distribution of his films, probably more than any other studio, and during World War II, he suddenly was not able to access his money, from England in particular. Walt was asked by the United States government to do films that would help the war effort and Marc worked on some of those and those films helped Disney survive the wartime; Marc worked Alexander P. de Seversky’s Victory Through Air Power, for Disney, despite being overlooked on screen credit; Marc ran in to Seversky at the New York World’s Fair that Disney had attractions in

17:42 Due to the war, Disney could not do full-length feature films so they did short subjects that they would tie together; Cinderella was the first full-length animated feature Disney did after the war; Marc animated the first sequence on Song of the South and also worked on story on it; Disney wasn’t capable of doing a full-length animated film which is why the film was live-action with only some animation; Marc and Alice attended the 30th anniversary of Song of the South After the war Marc worked on some of the films such as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians; Walt like that Marc could do anything – Alice tells a story of when Walt called Marc a genius

23:52 Marc designed Tinker Bell and animated the close-up scenes with her; Peter Pan was written as a stage play, not a book, and in it, Tinker Bell was only a spot of light so Marc had to develop the character, and some people complained about his version

QUIZ- So you think you know Walt Disney World?


Correct answers will be displayed at the end of the quiz.

What attraction is this?
Who is this?

What is this?
What attraction is this?
What attraction is this?
What attraction is this?
What attraction is this?
What attraction is this?
Who is this?
What attraction is this?

Interview: John “Doc” Anello (Disneyland band leader and educator)

John "Doc" Anello leads his band "Doc Anello and the Swing Machine" at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland
John “Doc” Anello leads his band “Doc Anello and the Swing Machine” at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland

John “Doc” Anello started working at Disneyland in 1975. After a brief stint filling in for talent booker Sonny Anderson, John became the park’s production manager, ensuring Disney quality at all entertainment venues. He later became the manager of Disneyland entertainment’s education department.  For several years after retiring he would conduct his own big band, “Doc Anello and the Swing Machine” at at Carnation Plaza Gardens in Disneyland.  (See below for more photos and audio index)

Larry Billman (also hear my interview with Larry) and John Anello work on the Disneyland "Fun with Music" show
Larry Billman (also hear my interview with Larry) and John Anello work on the Disneyland “Fun with Music” show

Doc Anello and the Swing Machine
Doc Anello and the Swing Machine


3:07 John had a band before working for Disney; He started working for Disney in 1975 as production manager for entertainment; Took over the All-American College Program from 1976 until 1980; Taught at College of the Desert in Palm Desert from 1980 until 1988; He had a performing group that traveled all over the United States; He started his band again in 1989; Stan Freese was working at Disneyland and hired him in 1991 to play at least once a month at Disneyland; Moved to Florida to help write a book with Ron Logan (who headed Disney live entertainment for the whole company)

4:48 Working on a Disney intern program which would have been similar to “Dancing with the Stars,” but years before that show was created

6:48 Started his band again and played at Disneyland, but first played in a band at the age of 15 in New Jersey; Also had a trio and quartet he performed with outside of Disney; About John’s band, the Doc Anello and the Swing Machine, and some of the band members;

8:27 John was discovered by Disney talent booker Sonny Anderson when he was performing at the Disneyland Hotel with bandleader, Bernie Bernard, who often performed there and Sonny, who was playing the drums; Director of entertainment Bob Jani hired John as a temporary talent booker when Sonny Anderson was ill; Went on leave of absence from where he was teaching to work for Disney; About Bob Jani

11:47 John became in charge of the All American College Program, which original was the All American College Band and the All American Singers and Dancers for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World; From 1977 through 1980 he would travel the country auditioning talent for the program

16:02 John went back to teaching college and leading a group of talented students

Interview: Randy Thornton (His career with Disney Music)

Randy Thornton with Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
Randy Thornton with Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman

Randy Thornton is a Grammy Award winning record producer for Walt Disney Records. In addition to producing many of their albums including tributes to the Sherman Brothers, Annette Funicello, the Disney pavilions of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and Disney theme park official albums, Randy is also responsible for not only producing but restoring, preserving, and in some cases, saving the original Disney classic soundtracks that were produced by Walt Disney himself.  Enjoy additional images below.


Randy Thornton at work at Walt Disney Records
Randy Thornton at work at Walt Disney Records

Some of the Disney albums Randy worked on
Some of the Disney albums Randy worked on


2:49 One of Randy Thornton’s favorite Disney memories – it involved Scott Wolf, Michael Leon, Robbie Sherman and the Academy Award winning songwriter Robert B. Sherman

3:33 Randy’s start with Disney at Walt Disney Records; After studying at Art Center, he began working as a clerk in the music department I 1987; A little about Ron Kidd, director of product development

8:53 Characters at the studio on Randy’s birthday; Accessing the master tapes in the vault, being told to throw them out

11:40 Disney’s read-along albums, writing the stories for the “Alf” read-alongs, based on the television comedy series; “Alf” producer Tom Patchett likes Randy’s stories

15:24 CD technology was new; Randy was determining quality of Disney audio tracks for new Disney Classics CD releases, two of Disney’s earliest CDs; Inspired to do a “Mary Poppins” soundtrack CD; Discovering Sherman Brothers demo of songs intended for the “Mary Poppins” movie; Randy takes unique measures to get best quality audio on the first “Mary Poppins” CD and getting to remix the original music tracks for it; Possibly the first remastered soundtrack ever

25:23 Randy produces his first album, the “Jungle Book” CD in 1990; Began working with the Sherman Brothers; Working with Tutti Camarata; A little history about Tutti; Disneyland Vista Records becomes Walt Disney Records, and then for a year splits into Walt Disney Records for music and spoken word would be Disney Audio Entertainment

27:44 Michael Leon was producing “Pinocchio” soundtrack CD; Discovering original “Pinocchio” original music sessions including “When You Wish Upon a Star,” despite that many of the original soundtracks got destroyed; Collaborating with the film restoration on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

35:02 Creating listening experiences out of film soundtracks; The start of all the classic Disney soundtracks getting restored

Randy Thornton with Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
Randy Thornton with Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman