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

One thought on “Interview: Dave Smith (Founder of the Walt Disney Archives)”

  1. This is such an incredible interview! Thank you for sharing this rare glimps into the history of this iconic man and also in Disney History itself! Wonderful! I thought the audio was great! Almost like I was on the call as well!

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