This book is outstanding! The covers are of thick, slick paper and the inside pages are slick paper with quality thickness. There is color throughout the book and the color is sharp and bright. The printing is very clear and readable.
Although this art and story from the 1930s/1940s Good Housekeeping Magazine is unknown to casual Disney fans, it is an important part of early marketing efforts of the small Disney company of that time. I've known about these art and story treasures for decades and I'm thrilled to now own them in this book!!
The information in the book appears to be thoroughly researched and is presented in an entertaining manner.
I have bought previous books from Gemstone Publishing, so I knew their quality work - but the quality of this book surpasses even my expectations.
I feel that any Disney fan, especially those interested in the early cartoons and the early animated films, will love this book. This book is a bargain at its full suggested retail price, but it is a bargain deluxe at Amazon's reduced price!!!
I have spent hours pouring over this book and expect to get weeks of pleasure reading it. It is the type of book that I will return to read in the future again and again and again.
One note of warning ... Gemstone Publishing's books usually don't have large print runs. If you decide you want this book, I would suggest ordering it as soon as possible while it is still available for sale.
Marvelous, fascinating compendium of Disney lore2005/12/24
This sumptuously handsome volume reprints - in full, and then some - the famous Disney pages that ran in Good Housekeeping magazine from 1934 to 1944. Many of these pages, which married rhyming text to gorgeously drawn and colored illustrations, were "adaptations" of Disney short cartoons that were either in production at the time or had just been released. As editor David Gerstein reveals in intricate detail, the word "adaptation" could literally mean anything from a fairly accurate précis of the cartoon's plot to an extremely early version of the project -- later to be changed extensively, but preserved for the young readers of the GH feature like a prehistoric creature encased in amber. On occasion, the feature even presented summaries of cartoons that never saw ultimate release. The GH pages have been discussed on occasion by various authors, but Gerstein's work is likely to remain the definitive discussion into the foreseeable future - not least because he "eggs the pudding" with reprints of press releases, trade reviews, original storyboard art, related comic-strip and comic-book material, and text adaptations that spun off from the GH pages and appeared in children's books and such contemporary periodicals as Mickey Mouse Magazine, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, and the British Mickey Mouse Weekly. This mass of additional material places each page firmly in its historical perspective and lends strong credence to the thesis, presented by Gerstein in the book's foreword, that the GH pages served the important historical function of "standardizing" the appearance of characters for promotional purposes. (Reprints of several frankly hideous visual interpretations of the Disney characters from British and Italian sources serve as silent testaments to just how significant an accomplishment this was.)
The rather rigid nature of the book's organization - cartoon plot summary, critique of the GH page, additional material - does get a bit tiresome after a while, especially after we reach the war years, which saw a gradual decline in the feature's overall quality. When the feature becomes "New Tales from Old Mother Goose" in its final incarnation, Gerstein metaphorically throws in the towel and lets the individual pages pretty much speak for themselves. But even if you "bleep" over the cartoons and other features that don't interest you (for my part, I chose to skip GH's lengthy and overly familiar tellings of the plots of Snow White and Pinocchio), you're likely to find something of interest on virtually every page. Gerstein writes well and flavors his commentary with a dash of humor that will be familiar to anyone who has read his scripts for American Disney comics. As to his accuracy, I've found only one (date-related) error in the book on the first reading, a fairly remarkable feat given the amount of material presented herein. Any Disney fan will simply have to have this book. Hopefully, if Gemstone can get the book distributed to the big chain bookstores and Disney stores, it will reach the wider pop-culture audience it manifestly deserves.
A GORGEOUS PRODUCTION BY GEMSTONE!2006/3/7
In 1934, Good Housekeeping Magazine and Disney began a partnership that would last ten years and prove very beneficial to both parties. Good Housekeeping would publish a Disney page in each issue of their magazine, taking advantage of the ever-growing popularity of the animated characters that Disney was creating. On Disney's side, it gave them an opportunity to publicize their upcoming animated short features in a magazine that had a readership of over two million. Thus with the April 1934 issue, Disney's Silly Symphonies would make their first appearance with "The Grasshopper and the Ants". The Disney page would tell the story of each cartoon in verse with all new illustrations provided by Disney staff artist Tom Wood.
This lavish book by David Gerstein reprints all ten years worth of the Disney pages from Good Housekeeping in an over-sized, breathtaking format, printed on heavy glossy stock. But the book is much more than just the Disney page reprints. The book also features a synopsis of each of the animated shorts featured on the Disney Page, as well as excerpts from interviews with Disney talent, pictures of rare presskit material, storyboard sketches, reprints from newspaper and foreign adaptations of the shorts, and even vintage merchandise made to coincide with the release of the films. For "The Tortoise and the Hare", the book reprints 8 pages of the newspaper strip that adapted the story.
Mickey Mouse makes his first of many appearances in January 1935 with "The Band Concert". Other Mickey shorts featured in the book include "Alpine Mickey", "Mickey's Magic Hat", "Clock Cleaners", "The Brave Little Tailor" and "Mickey's Magic Lamp". Not to be outdone, Donald Duck is featured in numerous Good Housekeeping pages for his shorts like "Donald's Ostrich", "Good Scouts", "Donald's Gold Game", "The Hockey Champ", and many more. Throughout the book the reader will be treated to rare illustrations from such great Disney artists as Al Taliaferro and Carl Barks. The book provides readers the unique opportunity to peer into the past at Disney's creative and marketing process for these shorts.
When Disney was planning the release of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", Good Housekeeping realized that a mere one page with verse and a few illustrations would not do justice to this full-length feature and thus in November and December of 1937, the page count was increased for the Disney page and instead of verse, a complete text novelization was published. The story was written by Dorothy Ann Blank, one of the screenwriters for the film and featured illustrations by renowned Swedish illustrator Gustaf Tenggren. Tenggren was already a well known artist and had done previous illustrations for Good Housekeeping prior to the Snow White novelization. Good Housekeeping would again expand their page count for the Disney section in October and November 1939, this time for the upcoming release of Pinocchio.
The wonderful aspect of "Mickey and the Gang" is its broad appeal. It will be a book that fans of Disney animation, comics, memorabilia, and history will all be able to appreciate. David Gerstein has helped shed the spotlight on a forgotten and yet very important period in Disney animation history. Gemstone has truly produced a fascinating and beautiful book for Disney fans everywhere. My highest recommendation!
Reviewed by Tim Janson
Hail, hail, the gang's all here.2007/7/4
From 1934 to 1944, Good Housekeeping magazine included a legendary series of Disney one-page features. Disney cartoons were adapted into beautifully illustrated rhymed verses. Almost all of these pages are great. In addition to that, the book includes a lot of other material. The plots of the actual cartoons are synopsised, with differences between the cartoon and the GH page being noted. And other merchandise based on the cartoons is featured; including toys, presskits, comic strips and much more. This is truly a treasure trove for Disney fans.
A loving tribute2008/3/5
As a collector of Good Housekeeping magazine for many years I can not think of a more fitting tribute to the classic Disney pages that ran in Good Housekeeping from 1934-1944. Good Housekeeping editors wisely hired the Disney Studio to create these pages and here they are in all of their glory. Anyone interested in Disney or who loves the classic magazines of the past will love this book. This book is truly a look not only the pages themselves but at the creation of the pages and the relationship between the pages and the shorts and features films they were intended to promote. I love this book!