History paints Walt Disney, among his many artistic talents as one of the world’s greatest story tellers. And few would dare to dispute that. But coming in at second place would be none other than internationally known Disney Historian and author Jim Korkis. Jim is a staple in the Disney community, anyone connected with Walt’s world knows the man. But Jim’s main accolade is his knowledge of UNTOLD AND UNWRITTEN Disney history. Think back to the dawn of civilization. Long before books and paper, and even before written language, tribes of our ancestors sat around the fire, telling stories and tales of long ago deeds and happenings, passing the history of the family to the next generation. If not for these stories, the history would be lost forever.
Jim Korkis is performing this exact task. While most historians and archivists report on known, archived Disney knowledge, Jim’s expertise is in the conversations and stories told among many famous Disney animators, story men, workers, musicians, even Disney family members. This knowledge which was never recorded in any form would be lost to the ages if not for Jim and his amazing ability to archive this information himself. Even notes, memos, pictures and other information, now long gone and destroyed, would be lost. It is this fascinating information and history that Mr. Korkis keeps alive.
I attended a recent Disney meet a few weeks ago at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge, hosted by another Disney luminary, Tim Devine of the Magic in Pixels website. (Look for an in-depth interview with Tim coming soon!) Tim had as a surprise speaker on tap for his guests…Jim Korkis. In addition to being a wonderful vault of Disney lore and knowledge, Jim has an infectious sense of humor, that in addition to his story-telling prose, keeps his audiences in rapt attention. I consider myself a fair Disney history and trivia buff, but when Jim talks about a subject I already am cognizant about, he makes me feel I am hearing about it for the first time!
Jim’s relationship with Disney goes back to his childhood in Glendale California. He ate and slept Disney. As a youth, he would actually contact artists and Imagineers who worked at Disney and ask questions! Jim Korkis’ extensive resume includes a B.A. and M.A. from Occidental College in L.A. to professional show director, actor, professional magician, writer and director. He taught animation at the Disney Institute, was a designer, trainer at Disney Adult Discoveries at the Disney Institute and just so much more.
Jim has also written a book, which in my opinion should be on the shelf of any Disneyphile, or anyone who might be curious about the life and story of Walt Disney. This book, “The Vault of Walt” contains 450 pages of unwritten and undocumented stories about Walt, the Disney Company, Imagineers and Disney films, all gleaned from Mr. Korkis’ over 30 years involvements with Disney. You can order the book on Amazon.com and on a publishing site called Createspace.com, and soon in Barnes and Nobel. Disney is reviewing the book also for sale on property since it is not an expose.
For a sample of how fascinating and informative one of Jim’s lectures can be, click on the following link…http://youtu.be/Bz3PcD9MZ2g and listen as Jim Korkis explores some amazing history, tales and trivia of one of Disney’s most beautiful resorts, the Fort Wilderness Lodge.
Contributed by: Bill I. (NDH #35). Bill is our resident historian.