Art Corner / Art of Animation
BACKSTORY (Sept. 5, 1955–1966): The original location of the Art Corner on opening day was in the alley-way between The Red Wagon Inn Restaurant and the Plaza Apartments. Once Tomorrowland was completed, it was moved to a building next to the Flight Circle and Moonliner. The interior was decorated with a whimsical French looks, as if you were browsing through the streets of Paris for original art bargains. Merchandise at the Art Corner included postcards, flip books, artist prints, art supplies, Walt Disney Animation Kits, and original hand-painted Disney animation cels priced at 75¢ and up. The Art of Animation exhibit opened in May 1960 next to the Art Corner; it had been part of an international exhibit used to promote the release of “Sleeping Beauty” that showed how animation worked. Jack Olsen was a Disney Studio background artist in charge of the studio’s retail venues within Disneyland. Olsen turned “trash into treasure” by selling thousands of Disney cels at the Art Corner instead of letting them be destroyed. Each cel had a gold seal placed on the back of the cel with the words: “This is an original handpainted celluloid drawing actually used in a Walt Disney production. Released exclusively by the Art Corner at Disneyland. Anaheim, California. Copyright Walt Disney Productions.” A number of Disney Studio artists such as Roy Williams (also a Mouseketeer) drew sketches and caricatures for park guests from the late 1950’s until the early 1960’s. The Art of Animation exhibit next to the Art Corner opened May of 1960. When the “New” Tomorrowland construction began in 1966, the Art Corner became history. Olsen’s nephew, Scott, recently contacted me with these memories: “We used to get a lot of sample Disneyland stuff in the 1960’s, then Disney World stuff in the ‘70’s. We had a lot of Art Corner stuff, too—mostly pens and pads. I remember my uncle got my parents a gold embossing machine and they embossed ‘Disneyland’ on pocket comb cases. My have times changed!”
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