Mary Blair now has her own website. This is a giant leap forward for a woman whose name was virtually unknown to the general public during her lifetime, but whose reputation has grown with each passing year. Walt Disney had the highest regard for her work, and her bold use of color and charming character designs had a profound influence on a number of movies we all saw (including Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan) and attractions we attended at Disneyland, notably It’s a Small World. Insiders and colleagues knew how talented she was, but it’s only in recent years that her name has come to the forefront among animation aficionados. John Canemaker’s book The Art and Flair of Mary Blair (Disney Editions, 2003) had a lot to do with that; nowadays, her original artwork commands lofty prices at animation auctions. She was also part of the Disney tour to—
This is a momentous week for me: we’ve just finished the new edition of my annual paperback Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide—the 2011 Edition, to be specific. In this era of instant communication the process of writing, editing, and preparing a book seems quaint at best, and cumbersome at worst, but our book is still alive and well, and (I’m happy to say) has a healthy audience around the world. (I use the editorial “we” advisedly, since this has always been a team effort. Some of my collaborators have been working on this book for thirty years or more. If I didn’t have their input I’d be lost.)
Every spring becomes a high-stress period for me and my colleagues as we become mired in fact-checking details (the spelling of a Czech actor’s name, the running time of an unrated DVD version of a popular hit, etc.) and making sure someone on our team has seen every major new release. Then there are additions, corrections, and changes to the existing entries, which never end.
But when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, sometime in early May, I start to breathe. I’ve actually—
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