Lot 299

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Walt Disney "Fantasia"-Era Boldly Signed TLS Re: "Special Effects Department," PSA Certified Authentic & With Phil Sears COA

A 1p typed letter boldly signed by pioneering animator Walt Disney (1901-1966) as "Walt Disney" near center-right. March 4, 1940. N.p. On a single leaf of "Walt Disney" letterhead, the signature measuring 3.125" x 1.5' alone. Encapsulated and PSA/DNA certified authentic. Expected wear including flattened transmittal folds, isolated minor smudges recto, and mounting traces verso, else near fine. The letter measures 7.125" x 10.5" while the slab measures 9.75" x 13.25" overall. Accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Phil Sears Collectibles (Laguna Niguel, California) dated February 1, 2022.

Walt Disney wrote this flattering recommendation letter for a former Walt Disney Productions employee, in part: "Mr. Robert Neuschotz was employed on a contractual basis to do research work in our Special Effects Department. While in this capacity, he was of great assistance in devising and developing devices that have proven to be of value to this organization. In addition to being a fine workman, he has a personality which enables him to work with others successfully…"

Animation technology at Walt Disney Productions underwent a phenomenal transformation in the 1930s-1940s. Eustace Lycett, a British special effects artist at Disney, defined special effects in the age before computer-generated imagery as: "any technique or device that is used to create an illusion of reality in a situation where it is not possible, economical, or safe to use the real thing." Disney implemented ingenious special effects during this era such as stop-motion animation, the use of different color filters, and the use of multiplane camerawork. Further special effects innovations including forced perspective and color screens would be developed in the 1950s.

Robert Neuschotz's contract work at Walt Disney Productions coincided with work completed on "Fantasia," Disney's third feature-length animated film released in November 1940. Robert Neuschotz may have been the same person mentioned in Leonard Maltin's "Selected Short Subjects: From Spanky to the Three Stooges" (Reprint, De Capo paperback, 1972). Maltin mentions Neuschotz in the context of a trio of freelance filmmakers who sold a 3-D film to MGM's short filmmaker Pete Smith in the late 1930s.

Walt Disney was a talented animator and voice actor who co-created the character, Mickey Mouse in 1928. His interests and entrepreneurial spirit later led him into full-length sound-synchronized animated films, amusement parks, and consumer goods.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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February 1, 2023 11:00 AM EST
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000