The Glad Family Trust Collection
Is Truly Remarkable

by Karl Cohen

Mike Glad. Photo by Jerome Muller. Courtesy of Mike Glad.

Imagine a museum with an animation art collection big enough to create large exhibits on almost any topic: Disney, World War II propaganda cartoons, Russian animation art, or...the list continues. Probably the only collection of this kind in existence is not in a museum. It is a remarkable private archive in northern California known as the Glad Family Trust Collection.

A Wonderful Collection
Mike Glad, the owner of an auto muffler chain, has spent the last 20 years assembling an exceptional collection that covers the entire history of animation. He has been loaning major animation art exhibits to the Cartoon Art Museum in Boca Raton, Florida (formerly in Rye Brook, New York), the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles and other institutions. These have been large shows on a variety of topics including: Disney villains; the Gems of Disney; art from Fantasia; art from Snow White; art from the Fleischer Studio; watercolor studies for Bambi; a Bugs Bunny show; animation art from WW II; and a selection of rare cartoon posters for animated shorts and features. A Dumbo show in Florida featured storyboard art from each scene in the feature. "The Best of Soviet Animation" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences featured rare items from the 1920s to present. "The Gems of Disney" was a pre-War selection that ranged from 1920s Alice shorts to Dumbo.

He is presently working with a museum curator on a show of material from stop-motion productions. The exhibit will contain material from several countries and some will date back to pioneers including George Pal and Lou Bunin. The show will also feature modern masters like Henry Selick.

Mike Glad got the collecting bug when he was a kid. He collected stamps, Lincoln head pennies and "a few works by obscure artists." He bought his first cels on a trip from Florida to Disneyland in 1956. He purchased three from the Disney Art Corner that were priced between $2 and $5. He tried to find more of these bargains on his next trip to Disneyland, but they were gone.

Glad thought about collecting animation art again around 1980 when he saw several Sleeping Beauty cels in a gallery window in San Diego. He didn't buy any because he couldn't see himself spending $300-400 for a cel, but he did ask his sister-in-law if there were places to buy animation art in Los Angeles. Eventually she introduced him to Collectors Bookstore and an employee named Howard Lowery. Glad's first purchase from their catalog was a cel of Sleepy from Snow White. More importantly, Howard Lowery recommended that Glad read Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic (1980). Glad says he has read the book several times and it and Frank and Ollie's Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (1981) should be basic reading for anybody thinking about collecting animation art.

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