Saturday, June 14, 2014

#109) My review of Disney's new book about a Libravet

My last post (#108) announced the publication of a new book about Herman Schultheis, an unusually talented Libravet that previously worked at Disney on their very early animated films. During Herman's time at Disney he, unknown to anyone else at the time, meticulously documented Disney's proprietary animation techniques in his private notebooks. These notebooks were not discovered until long after his death and are now treasured by Disney who has put them in their museum.  Disney also sponsored the publication of this book about these notebooks and Herman's life.

Following is my brief review of this "5 Star" book on Amazon:

This magnificent book by John Canemaker covers in captivating detail Herman Schultheis' life, including the period of time after he left Disney and worked for Librascope in Glendale, CA. It was while working at Librascope in the 1950's that Herman mysteriously disappeared in the Guatemalan jungle.

While doing his amazingly thorough research, the author discovered the Librascope Memories website, which fortunately included copies of all the Company's old newsletters (Librazettes). Over a year's time, the Librazettes reported on Herman's initial disappearance and the subsequent search. As the self-appointed Librascope historian and webmaster, I had the privilege of helping John Canemaker research Herman Schultheis' time at Librascope. However, this part of Herman's life is not described in unnecessary detail, and so it does not detract from the book's primary subject; i.e., his work at Disney.

Herman's work at Disney was fascinating, but I was also impressed with how each facet of his life reflected his intelligence, diverse interests, and overall curiosity about life. This book certainly provides the foundation for Disney to make a documentary film of Herman's life experiences.