University Press of Mississippi has two great new Disney books coming out in the next few months. Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records by Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar, is an appreciative overview of the oft-overlooked Disney record company.
The book chronicles for the first time the fifty-year history of the Disney recording companies launched by Walt Disney and Roy Disney in the mid-1950s, when Disneyland Park, Davy Crockett, and the Mickey Mouse Club were taking the world by storm. The book provides a perspective on all-time Disney favorites and features anecdotes, reminiscences, and biographies of the artists who brought Disney magic to audio. Authors Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar go behind the scenes at the Walt Disney Studios and discover that in the early days Walt Disney and Roy Disney resisted going into the record business before the success of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” ignited the in-house label. Mouse Tracks reveals the struggles, major successes, and occasional misfires. Included are impressions and details of teen-pop princesses Annette Funicello and Hayley Mills, the Mary Poppins phenomenon, a Disney-style “British Invasion,” and a low period when sagging sales forced Walt Disney to suggest closing the division down.
The book is loaded with performer biographies, reproductions of album covers and art, and facsimiles of related promotional material. It’ll be out in May.The other book, Carl Barks and the Disney Comic Book: Unmasking the Myth of Modernity by Thomas Andrae, will be published in July. This is a critical study of Barks’s work from a cultural perspective. Andrae analyzes all phases of Barks’s career from his work in animation to his postretirement years writing Junior Woodchucks stories. Barks is one of America’s greatest storytellers and, Andrae contends, “lifted the comic book form to the level of great literature.”