Noted Disney historian Jim Korkis’ new book, The Vault Of Walt: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, Uncensored Disney Stories Never Told is set to lift the lid on a number of never before revealed anecdotes when it is made available from from October 3. A review of the book will be posted on this site soon; full details on the book’s contents and its author may be read here:


The unofficial, unauthorized and uncensored Disney history stories that have never been told will finally be revealed with the release of the new Ayefour book, The Vault of Walt by internationally renowned Disney Historian Jim Korkis.

This unique Disney history companion features a lengthy foreword by Diane Disney Miller, the eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, who praises the writing as “honest, and well written…so authentic, so true to my dad’s spirit, so unprejudiced and non-judgmental that as I read it I could see the twinkle in dad’s eye, hear his laugh.”

The book is divided into four sections: stories about Walt Disney’s life, stories about the Disney Films, stories of the Disney Theme Parks and finally stories about out of the ordinary Disney History from the Mickey Mouse radio show of the Thirties to why the FBI was upset with Walt and everything else in between. Each section is composed of chapters that are self contained stories featuring anecdotes, quotes and facts that have never before appeared in print.

Discover the forgotten agonizing month-by-month tale of legendary Warner Brothers animator and director Chuck Jones as he struggled at the Disney Studio when he was teamed with iconoclast Ward Kimball. The co-creator of Roadrunner and Coyote as well as Pepe Le Pew the skunk and known for many memorable classic Warner cartoons soon discovered why he couldn’t have the one job he really wanted at the Disney Studios no matter how good he was. For the first time, read what Walt thought about Jones’ work at Disney.

In addition, there are lengthy chapters on the premieres of Snow White and Song of the South told from the memories of the animators who were there witnessing history happening. Even more obscure animation stories include the forgotten contributions by Walt Disney himself to the original version of The Aristocats, a summary of the script by Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World) for the never made Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, and the story behind the unknown Disney Three Little Pigs short made in 1962 for free for Mexico. Of course, there is also a chapter devoted to Imagineer John Hench’s work with Salvador Dali on Destino in 1946 and many other hidden surprises for animation fans.

Jim Korkis is a well known and respected Disney historian who has been researching and writing about Disney history for over thirty years. He interviewed and created long lasting friendships with Disney Imagineers, animators, entertainers and other Disney cast members, always checking the information with obscure documents he located through painstaking time, effort and expense.

“I became deeply concerned that this unique history was disappearing with the deaths of those people who actually knew Walt and who first shared many of these wonderful stories with me,” stated Korkis. “There is something for everyone in the book from the most knowledgeable Disney fan to the casually curious reader.”

Rough drafts of these essays have appeared on websites during the last few years so that Korkis could solicit corrections and additional information before finally committing the stories to print. The result was that every chapter in the book was extensively rewritten to make it as complete and accurate as possible using a multitude of original sources.

“The book is called The Vault of Walt because these are the ‘lost’ stories that have been locked away for decades and forgotten. Now is the time to open that vault and share them with a wider audience because they provide a fascinating perspective on Disney achievements and events,” said Korkis. “In addition, they are an awful lot of fun.”

Over thirty-six chapters covering over four hundred pages offer new insights and new information about the many worlds of Disney. Walt Disney originally wrote the idea for the live action movie, Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. on the back of an air sickness bag. A voice actor named Joe Twerp performed the voice of Mickey Mouse for the episodes of the Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air radio series because Walt was too busy completing Snow White. Singer Frank Sinatra told entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. that Walt had developed a new system of making films that would make all other movies obsolete. Try to find those stories in other books about Disney history.

Although not currently a Disney cast member, Korkis has worked for the Disney Company as a performer (Merlin in the Magic Kingdom), animation instructor (including teaching animation history to interns at Disney Feature Animation Florida), writer (for various Disney magazines and special projects), facilitator (for backstage tours, convention groups and corporate clients) and in many other capacities. A full page of some of his many credits is available upon request.

“No one knows more hidden nooks and crannies in the vast history of Disney animation than Jim Korkis. I’m delighted that he’s gathered his fact-filled columns in this book,” states Disney Authority Leonard Maltin, author of The Disney Films and host and consultant of Disney Treasures DVDs.

The Vault of Walt is both a valuable supplement to any Disney fan’s personal library and also an entertaining introduction to the many worlds of Walt for anybody who loves great storytelling and behind-the-scenes stories about how some legendary milestones were created.


Who is Jim Korkis?

Jim Korkis is a well respected Disney Historian who has written hundreds of articles and done hundreds of presentations about all things Disney for over three decades. His personal research has received international acclaim for documenting the previously unexplored areas of Disney history. His extensive expertise and knowledge has been used many times by the Disney Company itself for special projects. Jim is not currently a Disney cast member. For a period of time, he also wrote Disney history articles under the pseudonym “Wade Sampson”.

Are these really unofficial, unauthorized and uncensored stories?

Yes, but don’t expect to find scandals, rumors, urban legends and fanciful psychological assumptions in these pages. The history of Disney is so rich that despite all the books that have been written about the subject, many great stories have never been told. Sometimes these stories are missing simply because there was no more space in a book to explore these interesting little tangents. Often, they were missing because the author had no clue that these stories even existed or had no access to the necessary research or people involved to tell the story.

Can you give a few examples?

What did Walt Disney really think about religion and prayer? Why did the FBI keep an extensive file of memorandum about the original Mickey Mouse Club? Was Uncle Remus really banned from attending the movie premiere of Song of the South? Were there dozens of feral cats living in Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? All of these questions and many, many more are answered in the comprehensive research Jim did for this book.

How is this book different from other Disney books?

Each chapter in the book is a self contained story of some different aspect of Disney history so readers can select what they want to enjoy. The book is divided into four sections: Stories about Walt Disney and his life, Behind the scenes stories about the making of Disney animated and live action films, Stories about Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions and events, and finally a collection of Disney stories that are difficult to categorize like Khrushchev being denied a visit Disneyland, tales of the first real Tinker Bells who flew over the Disneyland castle and how Walt’s housekeeper and studio nurse influenced him.

The biggest difference is that many Disney history experts refer to “the Disney stories only Jim Korkis knows” and over three dozen of the best ones are included in this book, the first he has written since 1992.


• “Jim’s vast knowledge of Disney has constantly amazed me and he understands how the Disney Studio, Theme Parks, and Disneyana all tie together. Jim is an excellent Disney Heritage writer and speaker, and it’s about time he put together this collection of stories he has gathered over the years.”–Disney Legend (2005) Tom Nabbe who was Disneyland’s original “Tom Sawyer”

• “Jim’s story telling has always mesmerized me. Now, some of his Disney tidbits are in a book! Let me put it this way. Chatting with Jim is a delicious nine course meal. Hours with his book will be a mouthwatering feast.”—Author and actress Margaret Kerry, original reference model for “Tinker Bell” in Disney’s Peter Pan

• “No one knows more hidden nooks and crannies in the vast history of Disney animation than Jim Korkis. I’m delighted that he’s gathered his fact-filled columns in this book.” –Disney Authority Leonard Maltin, author of The Disney Films and host and consultant of Disney Treasures DVDs.

• “Disney history is full of unexplored byways, and no one has done a better job of mapping many of them than Jim Korkis. Even the most knowledgeable Disney buffs will be surprised and delighted by what they find in his book.” –Disney history expert Michael Barrier, author of The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney

• “Disney stories are insightful as well as fun, and no one tells them better than Jim Korkis. Jim truly loves his material, and so will you. I heartily recommend his new book and I guarantee you’ll love every page.”–Artist and writer Floyd Norman, whose career at Disney spanned from Walt’s era through Eisner’s reign.

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