“Think of this book as a Disney History companion filling in some of those nooks and crannies that may only be mentioned in a brief sentence or two, if at all, in other Disney history books. These chapters truly are the forgotten but fascinating Disney stories.” With this line, Jim Korkis lays down the foundation for what his newest work, The Vault of Walt, is truly about. Through the compilation of the wide array of articles that he has written through the years, Korkis presents a work that provides his readers with little known histories and stories about Walt Disney and the empire that he created.
The book is divided into four categories: stories focusing on the life of Walt Disney, stories about some of the many Disney Films, stories following the creation of Disneyland and then other stories that don’t quite fit anywhere else. Each section is then further subdivided into Korkis’ individual articles. The time and attention spent writing and researching every story is clear as each presents quotes and information from those that knew Walt Disney personally, like his eldest daughter Diane Disney Miller who wrote the introduction, and those who were involved in the creation of his dream.
The stories that grace the pages of The Vault of Walt not only tell of the high points in the history of Walt Disney and his company, but many of the low ones as well. Korkis recounts the story of Walt’s love of polo gained when the sport was popular during the 1930s. Walt devoted a great amount of time and effort to polo and derived a great amount of enjoyment from the sport. However, it was an injury caused by a polo accident, a fall from his pony, which was treated incorrectly, that became a constant source of pain that plagued Walt for the rest of his life.
By including stories that tell of the ups and downs faced since the company’s beginning, Korkis presents a rounded image of Disney, an organization that often appears infallible to the untrained eye; not every film produced has gone according to plan, not every Disneyland attraction created has been up to par. Yet Korkis details these little known missteps and accomplishments in a way that encapsulates their importance as stepping stones for the next great adventure in the world of Disney.
Jim Korkis has spent much of his life working, writing and teaching about various aspects of Disney, whether it was working as an entertainer at the Magic Kingdom or as an animation instructor at the Disney Institute. Today, Korkis continues as a well known and respected Disney historian. For many, the wide world of Disney has been a constant present in the framework of their childhood, but for others, like Jim Korkis, it is much more than a passing fancy, Disney is a way of life.
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