An Evening with Disney Archivist Dave Smith

"Dave Smith"

Illustration © Disney.

My wife, son and I were lucky enough to meet Dave Smith in his office at the Archives this summer. It was the first time for our son, but my wife and I had previously introduced ourselves to Dave Smith at one of the Official Disneyana Conventions.

In 1997, in the persona as “Mickey,” I had the pleasure of hosting Dave Smith for a special evening online as he discussed his career with Disney and talked about all the Disney history in the Archives. I hope you enjoy reading it…

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Mickey says, “AmberThree Productions and the FANtasEARS Disney Fan Club are proud to present the sixth in our series of Special Invited Talks with our special guest, Mr. Dave Smith.”

Mickey says, “Dave is a world-renowned Disney expert and known as the final authority on Disney history.”

Mickey says, “He is the director of The Walt Disney Co.’s archives and is in charge of collecting and preserving all aspects of Disney history.  ”

Mickey says, “Dave is the author of the official Disney encyclopedia “Disney A to Z.””

Mickey says, “And he co-authored with Kevin Neary “The Ultimate Disney Trivia Books 1, 2 & 3.””

Mickey says, “Dave, thanks for joining us this evening!”

DaveSmith says, “You are welcome”

Mickey says, “And to all of you out there in the Arbordale Auditorium, thank you all for joining us, too.  ”

Mickey says, “Let’s give a big EMuck welcome to Dave Smith!”

Mickey says, “Now, we can’t hear you while we’re up on stage at the podium, so that is why there is the REQUEST feature in the auditorium…”

Mickey says, “…To leave a question, just enter the word REQUEST and you’ll then be prompted to enter one line for your question.”

Mickey says, “Note, it is possible to enter a question that is longer than 80 characters, in this way:”

Mickey says, “If your question is longer than one line, just keep typing before you hit your <Return key.”

Mickey says, “Also, we’ll present the questions in the order they were left in the  REQUEST queue, so please be patient.””

Mickey says, “If there is a need for a follow-up question to an answer just do PAGE MICKEY=MyMessageHere and I’ll pass it on to Dave Smith.”

Mickey says, “Note: Only questions about the history of The Walt Disney Co. and its archives will be presented to Mr. Smith, not (for example) film availability or Disney company policy.”

Mickey says, “Transcripts of tonight’s chat will be available at EMuck’s web site and ftp site in a few days.  We’ll announce when the transcripts are ready.”

Mickey says, “We have a lot of questions lined up, so let’s get right to the first one…””

Mickey says, “Dave, does it feel strange to be called “Mr.” like I did in the introduction, since you work for Disney?”

DaveSmith says, “Yes; it certainly does.”

DaveSmith says, “Disney is a first name company and for 27 years now I have been called Dave.”

Next question:

(Mickey) Walt Disney was quoted in the book “Film Pictorial” (in 1933) as well as John Grant’s 1993 Hyperion book “Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s Animated Characters” as saying that Mickey and Minnie are married. Did Walt actually say this, or was the quote made up?

DaveSmith says, “The quote in the Grant book and the Film Pictorial quote are actually from British writers.”

DaveSmith says, “It is not the policy of Disney that Mickey and Minnie are married.”

DaveSmith says, “That story was simply written by a British writer and does not reflect company policy.”

Mickey giggles, “Boy, Minnie is going to be surprised Walt didn’t really say that!  Huh-hah!”

Mickey says, “Follow up from Rufus, about the Mickey and Minnie married question…”

Mickey says, “How much time past before the company denied the marriage?”

DaveSmith says, “Was there ever a denial?”

DaveSmith says, “People have to remember that these are fictional characters, and they have no “biographies” like real people.”

Mickey grins.

Mickey says, “Before I move on to the next question, I hear that there are many out there in the Auditorium saying “NOT!” as to the Characters being fictional.”

Mickey winks.

Next question:

(Mickey) What did it feel like on your first day working for Disney, in charge of the Disney Archives?

DaveSmith says, “It was quite daunting, because they showed me to an office in Walt Disney’s office suite, which had been closed up since his death.”

Mickey says, “Did you get your pick of what desk you wanted to use?”

DaveSmith says, “I did not use Walt’s desks; they went on display in The Walt Disney Story in Disneyland in 1973.”

DaveSmith says, “However, the Archives did get Walt’s desk from the Hyperion Studio in the 1930s, and my asst. Robert Tieman has been using that one.”

DaveSmith says, “We are moving the Archives this week, and will be putting the desk on display in our reading room; Robert finds it too small for his needs.”

Next question:

(Double_D) How did you go about creating the Archives in the first place? Was there a need for it at the time?

DaveSmith says, “The company asked me to start the Archives a little over three years after Walt’s death when they realized that the company has a constant need for information about its history, and Walt and the oldtimers weren’t always going to be there to answer questions.”

Mickey says, “So you were the first to get in and organize as well as maintain them?”

DaveSmith says, “Some departments had saved file sets.”

DaveSmith says, “For example, the Publications Dept. had lots of their old books; the Music Dept. had a lot of old records; the Publicity Dept. had some old posters.”

DaveSmith says, “But there was no organization to the company’s history, and that is where the Archives came in.”

Mickey says, “Where are the Archives being moved to?  Where are they now?”

DaveSmith says, “The Archives is currently in the Roy O. Disney Bldg. at the Disney Studio in Burbank.”

DaveSmith says, “We are moving to a new building on the Studio lot, named the Frank G. Wells Bldg.”

DaveSmith says, “We will have a little more space, and have it configured better for our needs.”

Mickey says, “Pi, in the audience, wants you to know he has plenty of room if you’d like to store the Archives at his house.”

Mickey grins.

DaveSmith says, “You may be too late; Bill Cotter, author of the new book on Disney TV, has been threatening a tunnel into our storeroom for years.  ”

DaveSmith grins.

Mickey says, “Was there a problem in the Archives after the last big L.A. area earthquake?”

Mickey says, “Will the new building be more secure?”

DaveSmith says, “Regarding the earthquake, there was little damage in the Archives itself.”

DaveSmith says, “We had a few figurines break, but they were repairable.”

DaveSmith says, “Our biggest problem was that the building itself was damaged, and we had to move out for 8 months while they strengthened it.”

Next question:

(Double_D) What did you do before the Archives were created?

DaveSmith says, “I was trained as a librarian.”

DaveSmith says, “I worked at the Library of Congress in Washington for a year and a half, then at the UCLA Library.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Did you ever know or meet Walt?

DaveSmith says, “I met Walt once as a kid of about 15 visiting Disneyland.”

DaveSmith says, “He was walking through the park, and I recognized him.”

DaveSmith says, “I wanted to get his autograph, but had nothing to write with, so I rushed into the nearest shop and bought a 2-foot long pencil, which was all they had.”

Mickey grins.

DaveSmith says, “But when I asked Walt, he refused; he said if he started signing autographs he would be mobbed and wouldn’t get his work done.”

DaveSmith says, “Instead he told me to write him at the Studio, and he sent me an autograph.”

DaveSmith says, “I did take his photo that day, but, dumb me, I didn’t pose with him.”

DaveSmith says, “I have this great photo of Walt posing with someone else’s kid.”

Mickey says, “Did you ever meet him again? Did you get to shake his hand and tell him anything?”

DaveSmith says, “Sadly no.”

Mickey says, “Do you still have that pencil?”

DaveSmith says, “That is a no also.”

Next question:

(Double_D) What goes on during a typical day at work for you?

DaveSmith says, “There is no typical day, and that is what makes work in the Archives so enjoyable.”

DaveSmith says, “Generally, I’ll check my e-mail when I get in, then work on the correspondence I have received.”

DaveSmith says, “We will get phone calls all day long, primarily from people within the company, needing information.”

DaveSmith says, “The questions that are really interesting are the ones that take a bit of detective work to find the answer.”

Next question:

(Double_D) I would really like to work at the Archives. It sounds like a very interesting job. Is there any information you can give me on how I could get a job there?

DaveSmith says, “Actually we have a very small staff; we have 5 in the Archives and 3 in the Photo Library, which we administer.”

DaveSmith says, “Since it is a small staff, there is rarely any turnover.”

DaveSmith says, “When hiring, we do like people who have library and history training.”

Next question:

(Phil) When you go to the train station at New Orleans Square at Disneyland, there can be heard the sound of a telegraph clicking. Is it a real message?

DaveSmith says, “Actually it is.  ”

Mickey says, “And it says?”

DaveSmith says, “It is Walt’s speech from opening day (the plaque text), in land-line telegraphy, not Morse code.”

Mickey says, “Where could we find that speech?”

DaveSmith says, “Look in some of the Disneyland photo books, where the plaque is pictured.”

Mickey nods.

DaveSmith says, “It starts out, To all who come to this place, welcome; or some such wording.”

Mickey says, “I think our next question was meant to start with “Where”…”

Next question:

(LudwigVonDrake) are the archives?

Mickey says, “…and where can we write you if we have a question about Disney history, Dave?”

DaveSmith says, “Our mailing address, with the new change, is Walt Disney Archives, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521-3040.”

Next question:

(Rufus) How many people work at the Archives, and what’s the turnover rate? (Read: do I have any chance of getting hired?)

Mickey wonders how many “Give me a job” questions we’ll get tonight.

Mickey grins.

DaveSmith says, “I have already answered that one; very little turnover.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Could you please sign my copy of “Disney A to Z?”  If so, how?

DaveSmith says, “I do periodic book signings.”

DaveSmith says, “During the first week of September I did signings at Walt Disney World during the Disneyana Convention.”

DaveSmith says, “Last Saturday, Kevin Neary and I signed for two hours at The Disney Gallery at Disneyland.”

DaveSmith says, “The books are really too heavy and awkward to mail to me, and we’d rather not have to worry about returning them.”

Mickey says, “One member of EMuck in our audience tonight was there when you signed them, Dave.”

Mickey says, “He says he enjoyed meeting you very much.”

DaveSmith says, “Yes, I know; he introduced himself to me.”

Next question:

(SunniGummi) Mr. Smith, how long did it take to create the show Gummi Bears, I have heard it was 3 yrs?

DaveSmith says, “Disney Television is one area where I am not an expert; but I would certainly think it altogether possible that shows can take 3 years to create.”

DaveSmith says, “For the Gummi Bears, the idea for the show came out of a meeting Michael Eisner held shortly after he came to Disney; a meeting where lots of people threw out ideas.”

Next question:

(Mickey) Mary Kay Bergman, who was here on EMuck for a previous special guest chat session, told me to pass along her “hello” to you.

DaveSmith says, “Thanks; Mary Kay is a fun person.”

Next question:

(Rufus) As one of the world’s most prominent archivists, what special obligations to the profession do you feel and how do you respond to them?

DaveSmith says, “Wow; deep question.”

DaveSmith says, “Business archivists are different than most archivists, who tend to work for governmental organizations, like the National Archives or State Archives.”

DaveSmith says, “They have different responsibilities than I do.”

DaveSmith says, “My main responsibility is to serve my company.”

DaveSmith says, “Luckily for students and others, Disney has seen fit to open its Archives to qualified users outside the company.”

Mickey says, “Follow-up from Twilight: Are class field trips allowed to the Disney Archives?”

DaveSmith says, “Sorry, but we don’t have a lot of space, and we are located in the middle of a working movie studio.”

DaveSmith says, “So, we are not available for tours, except for Disney employees and their guests.”

Mickey says, “Belle just said, “So folks, you’ll have to suck up to our Alice to get into the Archives.”

Mickey grins.

Next question:

(Rufus) Does your department archive only the creative material, or are you also involved in a company-wide records management system?

DaveSmith says, “Disney has a separate records management program, so I don’t have to worry about preserving day to day business records.”

DaveSmith says, “The most important items we have are the informational items–correspondence files, documents, press releases, guide books, etc.”

DaveSmith says, “It is a misconception by many that we save the artwork; that is saved by a different department, the Animation Research Library.”

DaveSmith says, “Also, we do not save one of every Disney merchandise item; that would be an impossibility.”

DaveSmith says, “We try to save representative samples.”

DaveSmith says, “Since we have been going for 27 years, we pretty much know by now what kind of questions we are going to get.”

DaveSmith says, “So, that helps us know what to save.”

Next question:

(Rich) My wife, Carol, noticed tonight that the country music Disney album recently released is up for a country music award. Have there been any other country artists who recorded Disney music which won popular music or country music awards or is this the first?

DaveSmith says, “We have won a lot of Grammy awards, but most of them have been for soundtracks.”

DaveSmith says, “I cannot remember any country music awards, unless John Denver got one for a song he wrote for us.”

Mickey says, “Follow up from g.Figaro: What did John Denver write for Disney?”

DaveSmith says, “Sweet Surrender, for The Bears and I; I ran into John at the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World, and he was surprised I remembered.”

Next question:

(Belle) How do you fend off all the Disneyana collectors from the Archives? <smile

DaveSmith says, “We don’t fend them off.”

DaveSmith says, “We answer lots of questions from them, by phone and mail.”

DaveSmith says, “The things we do not do are: appraise items or authenticate items.”

Mickey says, “Pi wonders if you collect Disneyana collectors. Heh-heh!”

DaveSmith says, “I have a lot of friends who are Disneyana collectors, but I wouldn’t say I collect them.”

DaveSmith says, “And I probably wouldn’t hire a Disneyana collector in the Archives–too much temptation.”

Next question:

(Pi) Have you ever met the actors that play the disney characters?

DaveSmith says, “Pi: are you talking about the voice actors for the cartoons, or the cast members at the parks who portray characters?”

Mickey says, “Well, how about both?”

Mickey grins.

DaveSmith says, “yes and yes”

Mickey says, “Follow-up from Pi: “Which of the Characters/Character Voice Artists have you met?””

DaveSmith says, “At the Disneyana convention in early September, I got to talk with Lucille Bliss (Anastasia), Pat Carroll (Ursula), Jonathan Freeman (Jafar), Mary Costa (Sleeping Beauty).”

DaveSmith says, “Tony Anselmo, voice of Donald Duck, is a good friend of mine; he is a Disney animator.”

DaveSmith says, “I have done a lot of interviews with Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, who are the voices of Mickey and Minnie.”

Next question:

(Belle) Uh, Walt wouldn’t happen to be frozen in the Archives, is he?


Mickey smirks.

DaveSmith says, “The Disney family hates that question; it would be nice wouldn’t it to bring him back, but unfortunately, he is gone forever.”

Next question:

(Zeus) Earlier you mentioned that Walt’s Desks were at DL… how much of the display there is authentic?

DaveSmith says, “The Walt Disney Story at Disneyland is authentic, right down to the panelling on the walls.”

DaveSmith says, “That was one of my first tasks–to completely inventory his offices, and have them photographed from all angles.”

DaveSmith says, “Then, it was possible to recreate the offices at the park.”

DaveSmith says, “We carefully labelled and packed up everything at the Studio.”

DaveSmith says, “I recall suggesting that we wanted to keep Walt’s actual telephone, and I was told that it belonged to the Phone Co. and we couldn’t have it.”

DaveSmith says, “Later, one of the workmen helping me pulled it out of the wall and handed it to me, saying “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”

DaveSmith says, “So we do have even the actual telephone instruments.”

Mickey says, “Follow-up from the audience: “Wasn’t the cigarette removed from his image in that display?””

DaveSmith says, “You are talking about the photo of Walt with Laurel and Hardy at the WDW Walt Disney Story, and the answer is yes.”

Next question:

(Belle) How often would Walt be found in public strolling around Disneyland when he was around?

DaveSmith says, “From what I am told, Walt went to Disneyland frequently; he would stroll around and see how people were enjoying themselves, and notice anything that needed to be done around the park.”

Next question:

(Beast) Have there been any high-profile articles stolen from the archives over the years?

DaveSmith says, “I am glad to say we know of nothing having been stolen from the Archives.”

Mickey claps.

DaveSmith says, “However, things were stolen from the company before the Archives was established.”

Mickey says, “Like what? Do you know?”

DaveSmith says, “Included were some scenes from Steamboat Willie, and the story sketches for several sequences of Snow White.”

Mickey is shocked!

Next question:

(JoseCarioca) Dave’s email address?  Also, will there be any more trivia books?  :

DaveSmith says, “Sorry, I have not published my e-mail address.”

DaveSmith says, “Kevin says he is working on Trivia 4; it will depend on how well Trivia 3 sells. ”

DaveSmith says, “The first trivia book has sold over 100,000 copies!”

Next question:

(Tarka) How do you think that Disney.. both the man and company.. might be remembered in a 100 years?

Mickey says, “He goes on…(Tarka) Or how might Disney be remembered a 1000 years from now? Like Aesop?”

DaveSmith says, “I think the answer about the man would be that he is going to be perceived as a 20th century genius in knowing what the public wanted in family entertainment.”

DaveSmith says, “I have not given any thought to how the company will be perceived, but obviously the name Disney means something to people, and the company is not going to want to damage that.”

Next question:

(Belle) Do the Archives have a public web site, and if so, what is the URL? Otherwise, how can the public contact the Archives?

Mickey says, “You gave the mailing address earlier, but what about a web site?”

DaveSmith says, “There is an Archives presence on Disney’s Daily Blast, one of the Disney websites.”

DaveSmith says, “It is possible that there will be more in the future.”

Mickey says, “You also write regularly in the Disney Magazine.”

Mickey says, “I enjoy that a lot.”

DaveSmith says, “Thanks; the magazine wants to make sure that old Disney is featured along with new Disney.”

DaveSmith says, “I enjoy answering the questions from readers.”

DaveSmith says, “Plus, I am their “research consultant”; they send their articles to me for fact-checking.”

Next question:

(JoseCarioca) Does the Columbia ship flags have a message in them too?

Mickey says, “He’s referring back to the telegraph sounds at the train station having a message, and wonders about the Columbia’s flags.”

DaveSmith says, “Sorry, I don’t know, but with the Disney search for quality, I wouldn’t be surprised; we need a naval expert to answer that one.”

DaveSmith says, “There may be something in the file at the Archives; we have separate files set up for every park attraction, with press releases, interviews, etc.”

Next question:

(Rufus) What must a potential archives user do to get ‘qualified’ to have access?

DaveSmith says, “We are open to students writing papers on Disney subjects.”

DaveSmith says, “We request that they exhaust the resources available in books and in their local libraries first.”

DaveSmith says, “We are sort of a court of last resort.”

DaveSmith says, “If someone is doing a report on Walt Disney in general, the Archives is not the place to come for research.”

DaveSmith says, “But if someone is researching how Snow White was reviewed in newspapers when it came out, we have scrapbooks full of articles.”

DaveSmith says, “We are also open generally to those writing magazine articles.”

DaveSmith says, “People writing books need to clear their projects first with Disney Publishing, to make sure their projects do not conflict with things we are doing.”

Mickey says, “Lots of people in our audience are making up “research topics” right now. ;-)”

DaveSmith says, “Of course, the problem is that you have to come to Burbank.”

Next question:

(Alice) I know there is an effort to get images from all the classics into a digital archive form; will other films follow (live action, shorts, etc.) for a more long-lasting archival system?

DaveSmith says, “The Photo Library is working on digitizing images for the internal websites for the company.”

DaveSmith says, “The project will be expanded as needed, and as we have the time to do it.”

Next question:

(JoseCarioca) As the companmy has gotten bigger, as with the acquisition of Capitol Cities, has it become more difficult to keep up with current / ongoing history, and has it forced you to become more selective?

DaveSmith says, “We have not begun keeping the archives of ABC, except for newspaper and magazine coverage.”

Next question:

(LudwigVonDrake) I heard of a Ludwig Von Drake Record from 1961. Do you know anything about that?

DaveSmith says, “You will have to send me that question at the Archives; it is very possible because he was created that year for our TV show.”

Mickey says, “You don’t generally answer questions about collectibles, right?”

DaveSmith says, “Historical questions we answer, but not values.”

Next question:

(Belle) Does the Archives contain any of Walt’s (many, many) Oscar statuettes?  If so, do you remember which ones?

DaveSmith says, “We have had from time to time many different Oscars in the Archives; right now, we have only one, the Oscar for White Wilderness.”

Mickey says, “What was ‘White Wilderness’?”

DaveSmith says, “True-Life Adventure feature.”

Mickey says, “Year?”

DaveSmith says, “from 1958”

Mickey says, “Boy, you *are* good!  Huh-hah!”

Next question:

(SunniGummi) Are you able to provide collectors with a list of items that were made for a show or movie?

DaveSmith says, “No, that information is not usually available; we have the press books for the old films, but usually they only list licensees that made merchandise; they don’t detail WHAT merchandise.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Where is the film vault?  And does the Archive help in restoring films?

DaveSmith says, “There are film vaults at the Studio, where work prints are kept, but protection prints, negatives, etc. are kept in a salt mine in Kansas.”

DaveSmith says, “We are of course interested to see that all films are preserved, and we offer advice, but the company has a man whose job it is to do this–his name is Scott Macqueen.”

Mickey says, “Double_D asks a follow-up: “Is it true that they found a second film of Walt doing Mickey’s voice?”

DaveSmith says, “I only know of one.”

Next question:

(Twilight) Do you, on request, travel to local schools to talk about your career?

DaveSmith says, “No, in the early days of the Archives when I had lots of time, I did a lot of talking to service clubs, but it started taking too much of my time.”

DaveSmith says, “But, that is not to say that I do not encourage students.”

DaveSmith says, “I love to have young people write me.”

DaveSmith says, “It has been one of the joys of my life to see so many young people that I have encouraged eventually become employees of Disney.”

DaveSmith says, “Many first contacted me when they were 14, 15, 16 years of age.”

Mickey applauds.

Next question:

(Panic) Has there ever been a Disney character named Carlotta, and if there has, what is she from?

DaveSmith says, “Isn’t Carlotta the image Ursula takes on to fool Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid?”

Mickey says, “Guest4, who is Timothy, and he says he’s from a few years back, says that it was the maid in TLM, he thinks….”

Mickey says, “Called herself “Vanessa” he thinks.”

Mickey says, “Here comes another question…”

DaveSmith says, “Vanessa is right, sorry.  ”

Next question:

(Double_D) What ever happened to the DL Time Castle from the 40th B-day party?  I heard that the items in the ceremony were not buried.

DaveSmith says, “I have not heard.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Is it true that Walt locked himself in his Apt. before DL’s opening? Accidentally, that is.

DaveSmith says, “Not that I recall, but I guess it is possible; but there was always a phone there, or he could call out the window.”

Next question:

(Phil) Why did Disney made me a satyr, and why did I end up with my role? In mythology, I was a young human-archer-friend of Hercules, having only taught him one thing: archery.

Mickey says, “That’s Phil, the character in Hercules.”

DaveSmith says, “Is there an answer in the Art of Hercules book?”

DaveSmith says, “That is usually where you have to go for answer like that.”

DaveSmith says, “The animators obviously changed the Hercules story to one they felt would make a better movie.”

Mickey says, “Not sure about what it says in the book, but I’m sure we’ll have someone who’ll find out for us and let Phil know.”

DaveSmith says, “The new edition of John Grant’s Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s Animated Characters has been written, with info. up through Hercules, and it should be out early next year.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Have you seen the storyboard for “Plane Crazy” at the Museum of Cartoon Art?

DaveSmith says, “I have seen pictures of it; we have the one for Steamboat Willie, and most of the other films.”

Mickey says, “Follow up from Double_D: Didn’t Walt keep the Steamboat Willie storyboard in his office?”

DaveSmith says, “I found the Steamboat Willie script in Walt’s office; which surprised me since everyone told me he wasn’t interested in the company’s past, only the next project.”

Mickey says, “Rufus wants to know if the CD edition of Grant’s Encyclopedia will be coming out”

DaveSmith says, “It ran into problems and has been shelved.”

Mickey says, “How about a CD version of your A to Z book?”

DaveSmith says, “I tried to interest people in it, but I guess there really isn’t the market for CD-ROMs yet.”

Next question:

(Double_D) Is it possible that you could join us here on Friday nights for our trivia night?

Mickey grins and hopes so!

DaveSmith says, “Perhaps we can work it out sometime.”

Mickey says, “That’s swell, Dave.”

Next question:

(g.Figaro) Do you use a clipping service, or cut up your own newspapers?

DaveSmith says, “We have clipping services at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and for movie reviews.”

DaveSmith says, “We check the local papers to make sure we get all the Disney articles.”

Next question:

(Alice) Do the archives have a list of where all the Hidden Mickeys are in the parks?  (I realize that would be a big feat!)

DaveSmith says, “A lot of people have asked that; the problem is that most of the “hidden Mickeys” were not put there consciously and are sort of figments of people’s imaginations.”

DaveSmith says, “Kevin Neary has suggested a book on the hidden Mickeys at WDW, and has enumerated over 100 of them.”

Next question:

(Twilight) Is your job on a 9-to-5 basis, or whenever you feel like going in? <smile

DaveSmith says, “Actually, I work 7:45 to about 4:45.  ”

DaveSmith says, “Right now, with our move occurring, I sometimes am there for up to 12 hours.”

DaveSmith says, “I was going to work this weekend, but our shelving installers are slow, and we can’t start putting things away until they finish.”

Mickey says, “Some follow-ups, Dave: First, Guest4, who is last year’s TDS champ, asks if you have this year’s questions yet.”

DaveSmith says, “I have written the questions for the Disney Store’s district finals, which will take place next Sunday, but I haven’t written the ones for the finals yet.”

Follow-up from Double_D: Does the Archives collect from Imagineering?”

DaveSmith says, “Imagineering saves all their own artwork and photography, but we have the basic history of the place.”

Mickey says, “One last follow-up, from Beast: “Are you on salary or hourly wages?”

Mickey smiles.

DaveSmith says, “Thank goodness I have been a salaried employee for 27 years.”

Mickey says, “Our final question comes from me. What, to you personally, is the most treasured item in the Disney Archives?”

DaveSmith says, “I think my favorite items in the Archives are those that relate to Walt Disney himself, because these are items that few collectors can ever hope to own.”

DaveSmith says, “We have a drawing of Mickey by Walt, which is one of our most prized possessions.”

DaveSmith says, “And if you have read the current Sketches magazine, you will read about a tin box we recently acquired; want to know about it?”

Mickey says, “Yes, please tell us about the tin box!”

DaveSmith says, “I got a call from Roy E. Disney a couple months ago.”

DaveSmith says, “He had found this old tin strongbox in the back of his garage, not realizing it was there.”

DaveSmith says, “This was the box in which Elias Disney, Walt’s father, kept his important papers.”

DaveSmith says, “And, wonder of wonders, many of them were still there.”

DaveSmith says, “There was Elias and Flora’s marriage certificate from 1888; they were married just about 50 miles north of the WDW site.”

DaveSmith says, “There was Walt’s baptismal certificate.”

DaveSmith says, “But the item I liked the most was a post card Walt had written to his mother in 1917 when he was 15 years old.”

DaveSmith says, “She was over in St. Louis visiting her brother.”

DaveSmith says, “Walt says he has gotten 100 in his grammar test that day.”

DaveSmith says, “As a PS, he noted that it was 10 below zero..”

DaveSmith says, “And on the back, he did a wonderful drawing of a man in a heavy coat looking at a thermometer registering 10 below.”

Mickey says, “That’s quite a collection of Disney treasure! Thanks for telling us about that, Dave.

Mickey says, “Dave, on behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank you very much for coming by for the chat tonight…”

Belle comes onstage from the Auditorium.

DaveSmith says, “You are very welcome”

Mickey says, “Here is Belle.”

Belle says, “Yes….Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a big round of applause for Dave Smith, head of Walt Disney Archives!”

Mickey says, “Dave, please join us for a few minutes in the audience, to meet your fans.”

DaveSmith leaves the podium and heads through the door to the Arbordale Auditorium.

Mickey leaves the podium and heads through the door to the Arbordale Auditorium.

Belle says, “We will have transcripts of this talk available in a few days on our website.  We’ll announce it on ‘news’.”

Belle leaves the podium and heads through the door to the Arbordale Auditorium.

You leave the podium and head through the door to the…

The Arbordale Auditorium

This large auditorium has room for everyone on EMuck and is where special chat events with celebrity guests take place.

Current Topic: Disney History & The Walt Disney Archives

Current Moderator: Mickey

Current Guest Speaker: DaveSmith (Disney Archivist Dave Smith)

This place is where special chats with invited guest celebrities take place.

Chat with Mr. Dave Smith, archivist of The Walt Disney Co.’s Archives, Saturday, September 20th starting at 10 pm Central Daylight Time (8 pm Pacific, 11 pm Eastern).  NOTE: Only questions about the history of The Walt Disney Co. and its archives will be presented to Mr. Smith, not (for example) film availability or Disney company policy.

To ask a question of anyone at the podium, enter ‘request’ (without quotes) and your question will be stored in line with the other questions to be answered. Anyone at the podium will not hear what is said in this room, so use ‘request’.


Doorway to the [Podium], Mickey’s Cyber Diner [MCD], Arbordale [C]enter


Air Daves, Mice Dice, Phil Action figure, Plush Beast, p.LilBear


Zeus, Double_D, Ashlee, g.Figaro, Rufus, Twilight, Scooter, Nabiki, Alice, Gusto, Panic, g.Tweety, JoseCarioca, Tarka, Dodger, SunniGummi, Aladdin, guest4, Angela, DaveSmith, Mickey, Belle

Mickey claps loudly!

Rufus rubs against DaveSmith’s legs and purrs.

Alice exclaims, “Oh, hello, Meecelet!”

Sunni says, “It was very nice to meet you Mr. Smith”

Mickey and Meecelet wave to Alice.

Gusto says, “We greatly appreciate your visit, Mr. Smith.”

Panic says, “thanks for coming Dave”

JoseCarioca says, “I have an informal q…   How did you find out about Emuck, nice Mr Dave?”

DaveSmith says, “I heard about eMuck from Mickey”

Mickey bows

Belle offers her hand to DaveSmith…as head game admin on AmberThree Productions’ EMuck, she’d like to thank you for sharing an evening with us tonight!

Twilight appreciates the talk a bunch!

Zeus shouts in a booming voice, “Thank you for coming!”

Plush Beast eeps a plush eep!

Sunni says, “thank you very much for coming Mr. Smith”

Double_D hugs Mickey.

Dodger shakes paws with Dave

Alice hands Dave an Honorary Scooby Snack.

Twilight says, “Thanks for Coming, Mr. Smith, we appreciated it whole bunches!”

JoseCarioca says, “Thank you Dave  :”

Zeus smiles and nudges Mr. Smith: “Remember me from Disneyland?” 😉

Mickey says, “Dave, you don’t know how happy I am that you were able to join us tonight.  I will certainly keep in touch to discuss you coming on for one of our Disney trivia nights, at your convenience!”

Belle smiles. A couple of days ago, Plush Beast wanted to ask if there were any Scooby Snacks archived at the Archives, but he couldn’t work the request feature.  🙂

DaveSmith says, “Those of you back East: It is past your bedtime.”

Twilight is in Orlando, FL! 🙂

JoseCarioca says, “Night chip….. it’s past your bedtime”

Mickey shoos those back East off to bed.

Rufus says, “That’s OK, Dave. I’m at WDW and the parks are all closed now anyway.”

Double_D asks, “If you can’t sign my book in real life, can you sign it in here?”

DaveSmith signs

Angela asks, “the person who answers questions at the back of Disney Magazine?”

Gusto says, “Dave, Ralph Castaneda, Lumiere here wanted me to say Hi again to you if he wasn’t here himself… You and he talked for a bit last Saturday at Disneyland.”

Belle says, “well, this place doesn’t sleep much anyway.  :)”

Double_D says, “thank you.”

Twilight lookies at Rufus. “Maybe we can meet! ;)”

Double_D reads.. “Um, what’s it say?”

Gusto asks, “Sleep?  Belle, what is that ‘sleep’ stuff you just mentioned?”

Mickey holds his Disney trivia book up to the screen for Dave to sign, too.

Twilight laughs

Sunni hands PB another box

guest4 has left.

Belle vanishes in a puff of smoke to the Welcome Center Lounge.

Zeus asks, “Sleep? That’s where I’m a viking!””

guest2 comes in from Mickey’s Cyber Diner and takes a seat near you.

Belle has arrived.

Belle runs up to you, her skirts blowing behind her.

Belle says, “guest2 was guest4.”

Angela says, “I’m addicted to the computer.”

Mickey says, “Dave, please come back anytime. Your account here is yours to keep.”

Plush Beast eeps a plush eep!

DaveSmith says, “Thanks for coming, all; I am signing off now.”

Mickey wiggles his nose and loudly exclaims, “Goodnight!”

guest2 ( asks, “who amI?”

Twilight yay’s!

Belle says, “yes.  Please feel free to join us whenever you want, formally or informally.  Goodnight!”

Zeus waves. “Bye!”

Sunni says, “good nite DAve”

Gusto waves bye to DaveSmith.

Double_D says, “good night”

JoseCarioca exclaims, “Gnight!  Good luck withn the move!”

Rufus exclaims, “G’nite, Dave!”

Alice asks, “Dave, do you happen to know whether events at the lot are filmed and/or photographed and kept in the Archives for posterity?”

guest2 ( exclaims, “Bye, Dave!”

Angela exclaims, “Bye, Dave!”

Alice says, “oops”

Twilight waves!

Alice exclaims, “Good night, Dave!”

DaveSmith has left.

[End of transcript.]

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