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What did Walt Disney really think about religion and prayer? Why did the FBI keep a file of memorandum about the original Mickey Mouse Club? Was Uncle Remus really banned from attending the movie premiere of Song of the South? Were there dozens of feral cats living in Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? All of these true tales and more are waiting to be discovered between these covers. Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney Historian whose hundreds of articles and presentations about all things Disney have been enjoyed by people world wide for decades. Utilizing over thirty years of his personal interviews with Disney animators, Imagineers and associates as well as obscure and long forgotten documents and many years of research, Jim weaves timeless tales and fascinating secrets about the "lost" world of Disney.
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Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles about all things Disney for over three decades. He is also an award winning teacher, professional actor and magician and author of several books about animation. He grew up in Glendale, California, right next to Burbank, the home of the Disney Studios. His third grade teacher at Thomas Edison Elementary School was Mrs. Disney, the wife of one of Walt Disney’s brothers. Upon discovering this fact, Jim took a large sheet of easel paper and drew a huge picture of Jiminy Cricket, his favorite Disney character at the time. He gave it to Mrs. Disney in the hopes that she would immediately take it to the Disney Studios where he would be offered a job and not have to learn his multiplication tables. He was not hired and still has trouble with math to this day. As a teenager, Jim wrote down the names he saw on the credits of Disney animated cartoons and went to the Glendale-Burbank phone book and cold called some of them. Many were gracious enough to ask him to visit them with the resulting articles sometimes appearing in the local newspapers or various “fan-zines” and magazines. Over the decades, Jim pursued a teaching career as well as a performing career but was still active in writing about Disney for various magazines. In 1995, he relocated to Orlando, Florida to take care of his ailing parents. He got a job doing magic and making balloon animals for guests at Pleasure Island. Within a month, he was moved over to the Magic Kingdom, where he “assisted in the portrayal of” Prospector Pat in Frontierland and Merlin in Fantasyland for the Sword in the Stone ceremony. He has pictures, videos and pay stubs to prove it. In 1996, he became a full time salaried animation instructor at the Disney Institute where he taught every animation class including several that only he taught. He also instructed classes on animation history and improvisational acting techniques for the interns at Disney Feature Animation Florida. As the Disney Institute re-organized, Jim joined Disney Adult Discoveries, the group who researched, wrote and facilitated backstage tours and programs for Disney guests and Disneyana conventions. Eventually, Jim moved to Epcot where he was a Coordinator with College and International Programs and then a Coordinator for the Epcot Disney Learning Center. During his time at Epcot, Jim researched, wrote and facilitated over two hundred different presentations on Disney history for Disney cast members and corporate clients including Feld Entertainment, Kodak, Blue Cross, Toys R Us, Military Sales and more. He was the off camera announcer for the syndicated television series Secrets of the Animal Kingdom, wrote articles for Disney publications like Disney Adventures, Disney Files (DVC), Sketches, Disney Insider and more. He worked on special projects like writing text for WDW trading cards, on camera host for the 100 Years of Magic Vacation Planning video, facilitator with the Disney Crew puppet show and countless other credits including assisting Disney Cruise Line, WDW Travel Company, Imagineering and Disney Design Group with Disney historical material. As a result, Jim was the recipient of the prestigious Disney award, Partners in Excellence, in 2004. Jim is not currently an employee of the Disney Company.
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