Gene London remembers Disney and early Hollywood Glam

I spent last evening at the Franklin Institute for the Phila Film Society’s Friday Animation Festival (see Sherri W’s previous post for schedule) listening to Gene London, raconteur and local celebrity who hosted a children’s show here during the 60’s, reminisce about the origins of the legendary Disney’s cartoon empire and the birth of Mickey Mouse (inspired by a field mouse that boldly ate sandwich morsels from Disney’s hand one day). Interspersed with all the anecdotes were a series of clips including, of course, “Steamboat Willie,” Disney’s first cartoon with sound. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of the cartoon from the simple black and white shorts of the ’30s to the more “sophisticated” technicolor ‘toons of the ’50s. As a side treat apart from all the cartoon history, Mr. London also filled in some of the empty gaps (there were some technical difficulties a couple times) with his own personal memories of the fan mail correspondence with Joan Crawford (Joan was Genes fan–she loved his show) that blossomed into a lifelong friendship and Myrna Loy’s guest appearance on his show. The Friday night series continue thru Sept 1st.

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