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MousePlanet Mailbag for February 17, 2005

We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot publish them all, the following may be of interest to our readers.

Feedback for David Koenig

Hearts and words poured out from our readers at “Fond Farewells,” David's touching tribute about those special to Disney who had passed away in 2004.

Robert writes:

At the end of every year we have the sad yet everpresent reminder of the marching of time. The short pieces about those we have lost that made our lives at least a little bit better are all around us. Your piece however, really made me stop for a few moments, literally. I couldn't believe how much of “Disney” we had lost (or in the case of Mr. Lincoln, may lose)! And in having known some of them yourself, I'm sorry for your loss as well.

There is one little point I want to thank you, and other journalists for. It went unsaid because it is so well known. That without you, and your friendships with the “Old Timers,” their stories wouldn't reach those of us not as lucky to have formed those relationships. I'm sure you agree that it is “better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” In a way, it is a sacrifice that you do this, but imagine it is one with far more rewards than disappointments.

Ruth writes:

Just a note to thank you for this wonderful yet heartfelt article. I appreciated your brief eulogy to those that have gone away. I particularly agree with you about the demise of the Feature Animation group. It is a shame that something that has helped build an industry can be merely tossed aside like a missing pair of socks. I am saddened by this lost art form.

Klark writes:

It is a complete shame that Disney has forgotten its legacy and those who made it happen are forgotten too soon.

I have been on a quest to find out about those who created Walt's Disney, and what saddens me most is that I find out about them after they are no longer with us.

Long live the spirit of Walt, and those dreamers and doers who created magic!

Bradley writes:

I saw your article on those we lost in 2004, and you're right. It always hurts when a cultural legend leaves us. Whether they're in the 70s, 80s, 90s, or even 100s, it always seems as if they left us too soon.

I was really upset when Frank Thomas died. He left us only two months before he made his final (animated) appearance in Brad Bird's The Incredibles, along with his friend, Ollie Johnston. This continues the number of old-school animators who are leaving us every year.

I tried to contact Frank and Ollie two years ago thru their Web site,, but their e-mail server was down. It looks like now I'll never get to speak to two of Disney's best legends.

I couldn't have described the passing of Disney Feature Animation any better myself. Traditional animation was what gave birth to what became The Walt Disney Company over 80 years ago. This is the very thing that made Disney and all that it stood for. Without it, you've got a studio without its heart or soul.

Hopefully, things will be looking brighter for the year 2005. As the years go by, people around the world will learn from the masters, and continue to nurture and preserve the legacy of Walt Disney, bringing joy, laughter, and wisdom to people for many generations to come.

Dennis writes:

I first became aware of one of your books while working on the Mike and Maty Show. I was the talent coordinator, and your first book of Mouse Tales came through the talent office. I quickly grabbed it up and read it.

I share the same feelings of loss as you do with the passing of Disney icons, especially Club 55 members. What a marvelous time you must have getting the chance to meet some of the people instrumental in bringing Disneyland to life. I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles. Keep it up!

Stephen writes:

What a beautiful and touching tribute you have given to these “unsung heroes” of a place and an art form that many of us love and cherish, and run to find the child in us over and over again. Your thirst for knowledge and deep respect for the people you have mentioned is a great gift that you gave them, just as they gave to us.

Your final sentence in reference to 2-D animation was extremely poignant. I know all of your readers agree with you 100%, but I'm sure you feel as though you are preaching to the choir.

Thank you for enlightening us all with this wonderful article.

Tara writes:

Enjoyed your kindly and thoughtful tribute to all the hardworking and visionary people who worked to make Disney what it was. Yes, it's sad to see them passing on, but I couldn't help notice now amazingly old so many of them had gotten to be. If happiness and satisfaction in their life's work have any impact on longevity, then rest assured these men made the most of their time with us.

Tim writes:

That is a wonderful tribute to the ones we've lost in the past year. It's amazing that only one of the Nine Old Men is still with us.

In 1996 I was fortunate to meet Marc Davis, his wife, and X. [Atencio] at an autograph litho signing for the Pirates [of the Caribbean] ride. That was one of my most memorable moments in the park.

Keep up the great stories.

Shayne writes:

Phenomenal article. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for helping to keep the legacy of these wonderful individuals alive.

I was born at the same time Gordon Cooper was blasting off on the Mercury-Atlas 9 rocket in 1963. I've always felt a connection to him but never knew of his connection with Disney.

Thank you again for sharing your passion.

Reader Glenn wrote to add a name to the list—Kenneth A. Kerr Jr., who died July 24, 2004, at age 61.

He spent five years with Walt Disney Imagineering beginning in 1978, in charge of graphics and signage development for Disney theme parks, including Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland's New Fantasyland.

Paul writes:

I loved your article on “losses.” Nice job, as usual.

I was wondering if you had seen, and if so what you thought of, Steve Wesson's “Adventure thru Inner Space Virtual Ride-Thru” over at He has been working on it for several years, and I think it is absolutely amazing! As someone who loves Disney as much as you do, I think you would enjoy it very much. I am not trying to sell you one. I am just curious as to what you thought of it, if you have seen it.

Anyway, I look forward to your response. Thanks for yet another year of fantastic articles and such. I have been a fan of yours for a long time, and I hope that I can continue to enjoy your insight and personalized storytelling for many years to come.

Paul – Funny you should ask! I watched the DVD just last night and I can only say… Wow!

Well, that's not all I can say, I can also say Steve did a spectacular job!

I never thought I'd have the opportunity again to step back in time 20 years and experience Inner Space again, but he somehow pulled it off. I just kept shaking my head, unable to believe how dead-on everything was. I especially loved all the little details. It had me dying to climb into the screen and ride in of his PeopleMover cabins next!

I've seen plenty of videotaped attraction ride-thrus, but this is the only one that delivered any meaningful sensation of riding the actual ride again. I highly recommend it.

Jeremiah writes:

I can't wait for the 50th version of Mouse Tales. I have been holding off rereading it till I get the new one. But what moved me to write to you was how great today's piece was, you have always done interesting and moving pieces but today's was by far one of your best. I loved the way it was a tribute to those we have lost over the past year and a good statement about how [troubled] Disney is right now without being a [trash] piece.

Please let me know what the plans are for the future with the books; you know I will be one of the first in line.

Jeremiah – I am in the middle of a series of appearances to promote the Golden Anniversary Special Edition of Mouse Tales. Since the print run is limited to 4,000 and will not be reprinted, it is being sold almost exclusively at special events and online through venues like

Thoughts, questions, or comments for David? Contact him here. To send general comments or queries to MousePlanet's Mailbag, contact us here.


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We welcome your questions and comments, but keep in mind that all questions submitted to MousePlanet become property of this Web site. Letters of interest to the readership may be published, and may include your full name unless you specifically request that your last name not be published. They may be edited for length or style and in consideration of a family readership. Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site as well.



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