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Vintage Historical Disneyland Photography Books ...
Photographer Mell Kilpatrick - Disneyland Photography book's 

Disneyland The Beginning  Book


Purchase unsigned  Disney Editions Books

Disneyland Homecoming Destination Disneyland  Book


Disneyland A Photographers Life with Disneyland Under Construction


Disneyland Seen Through a Photographers Lens 


Disneyland Early Years Seen Through the Eye of a Photographer


      Disneyland Early Years 

            Through the Eye of a Photographer


Written by: Carlene Thie

Photographer: Mell Kilpatrick

Soft bound book

apx size 11x8.5



 This is the second of three black and white 1950's Disney picture book. There are dates and captions for each photo, along with some text listing general information. This book marks the introduction of visitors to the park along with construction and aerial photos. You will find photos of Matterhorn, E.P Ripley, Walt Disney, Fess Parker, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Skull Rock, Rainbow Ridge, Casa de Fritos to list just a few of the shots. 

       A Photographers Life         with Disneyland under Construction 


Written by: Carlene Thie

Photographer: Mell Kilpatrick

Soft bound book

apx size 11x8.5


This picture book contains over 60 black and white photos showing the construction of Disneyland in the 1950's. There are both aerial and ground shots of the construction. Captions and dates are provided for each photo. Also, there is written text of what the 1955 rides and amusements for each area were (Main St, Tommorrowland etc.). 

A wonderful historical books for anyone's collection.


              Disneyland                    Seen Through a Photographers lens


Written by: Carlene Thie

Photographer: Mell Kilpatrick

Soft bound book

apx size 11x8.5



This picture book contains over 60 black and white photos showing the construction of Disneyland in the 1950's. There are both aerial and ground shots of the construction. Captions and dates are provided for each photo. Also, there is written text of what the 1955 rides and amusements for each area were (Main St, Tommorrowland etc.). 

A wonderful historical books for anyone's collection.

Disneyland The Begining Book, Bob Gurr, Rolly Crump, Sam McKim, Carlene Thie, Diane Disney, Blaine Gibson, Harriet Burns,Vintage Disneyland Photos

Disneyland The Beginning  


Written by: Carlene Thie

Photographer: Mell Kilpatrick

hardbound book

apx size 11x8.5


"Disneyland... The Beginning: Collector's Edition". As the fourth and most elaborate of Thie's Disneyland photography series, the edition features many rarely seen and never-before-published photographs of famed Southern California photojournalist, Mell Kilpatrick. Featured throughout the text are full sized (6" x 8") photographs in both black & white and color of Disneyland's earliest years (1954 - 1960). The excitement of Disneyland's grand premiere is captured from several angles, providing an historical record to the events of the day that may clarify some of the blurred recollections of those who were there to experience the inaugural event. Along with many of the early construction photographs of the familiar Disneyland buildings, also included are several forgotten exhibits and attractions,

This beautifully designed hardcover edition features a foreword by Walt Disney's eldest daughter, Diane Disney Miller. Early Disneyland designer and Imagineer Sam McKim provided the introduction for the text, and several other key figures in Disney history have offered their own unique perspectives including: Art Linkletter, Harriet Burns, Margaret Kerry, Bob Gurr, Blaine Gibson, Rolly Crump, and Alice Davis. Art Linkletter: As a showman, host, interviewer, producer, entrepreneur and businessman.

 Homecoming Destination Disneyland Book



Written by: Carlene Thie

Photographer: Mell Kilpatrick

Hardbound book

apx size 11x8.5

Limited amount left $ 70.00 

Brand New ~ Homecoming Destination Disneyland Book to Celebrate Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary To commemorate Disneyland's Golden Anniversary, A collection of vintage photographs by veteran news photographer Mell Kilpatrick, narrative tributes from a host of celebrities, and exclusive artwork by legendary Disney artist Sam McKim, (also art by, Walt Disney, Floyd Norman, Willie Ito, Brian McKim, & Ron Dias). Narrative tributes include brief recollections from people involved with Walt Disney and the Disneyland Park during its early years. Many former employees of Walt Disney Productions, including former cast members, celebrities and imagineers, contributed personal recollections of Walt and his dream. Homecoming Destination Disneyland includes select reproductions of the original Disneyland press releases from the 1955 press kit, which had been saved by the author’s grandfather, photographer Mell Kilpatrick. More than a dozen movie stars, television personalities, Disney cast members and other entertainment industry personnel lend tribute to the Disney dream in the new book. A foreword by Keith Murdoch, City Manager of Anaheim during the 1950s, shares a fascinating look at the search for the perfect location for the Magic Kingdom. Keith guided Walt through the miles of Anaheim orange groves, in search of parcels which could accommodate Walt’s dream park. Ron Dominguez, second-generation Anaheim native shares the story of how his family came to sell their ancestral home and orange groves to a buyer with mysterious plans for the property. Dominguez recalls his teen years working at the park and eventually rising to the position of Executive Vice President of Disneyland. Also featured in Homecoming Destination Disneyland are narratives by veteran TV personality Art Linkletter, actors Fess Parker, Dean Jones, Tim Conway, Don Knotts, and Wally Boag, artist Brian McKim, director Richard Fleischer, illusionist Teller (of Penn & Teller), Matt McKim, and Sam McKim, Walt Disney's secretary Lucille Martin, former Disneyland president Jack Lindquist, Disney creative director David Pacheco, animators Ollie Johnston (the last of Walt's nine old men) and Ron Dias, Floyd Norman, Willie Ito, voice talents Lisa Davis, Ilene Woods, imagineer Yale Gracey (written by his wife).

"Design Just For Fun" Disney Book

The most thorough behind the scenes stories ever told about Themed Entertainment design at America's favorite destination resorts - Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Tour, Spectacular Las Vegas and more.

Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr, as Principal Designer for hundreds of Themed Entertainment projects, takes the reader behind the scenes:



Only 1000 were made of the blue & 1000 Red books.

These book will not be re-printed



"Design Just For Fun" Book

Written by, Bob Gurr Disney (Disney Designer)

Published by Ape Pen Publishing & Gurr Designs.

        In service To The Mouse


Written by: Jack Linquist

& Melinda Combs

Hardbound book


Signed By Jack Lindquist


Hello Maggie Book

Signed By Author Willie Ito



        Dream It ! ~ Do It ! Book


Written by: Marty Sklar

Hardbound book



Signed By Marty Sklar - Sold Out

Walt Disney's / Golden Book

Peter Pan Vintage Book

Signed By : Illustrator Ron Dias 



Disney Legend Sam Mc Kim


Sam McKim inspired many a Disney film and theme park attraction with his imaginative drawings. But the actor-turned-artist is probably best known to Disney fans today as the creator of the Disneyland souvenir maps, issued between 1958 and 1964. Even today, his intricate and fascinating maps remain among the most sought-after pieces of Disney memorabilia. In 1992, Sam encored his cartographical genius when he created a new map in his unique style to commemorate the opening of Disneyland Paris.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 20, 1924, Sam moved to Los Angeles with his family during the Great Depression. At 10, he was spotted by a casting director while visiting a relative at MGM and began work as a movie extra. He became a child actor under contract to Republic Studios, working in a slew of western serials and B-pictures; over the years he appeared alongside Hollywood legends such as Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, Rita Hayworth, and Gene Autry.

But even then, Sam had a knack for art. He later recalled, “I was always drawing something or other. I’d draw caricatures of the actors and they would sign them for me.”

During high school he submitted some of his drawings to The Walt Disney Studios and was offered a job in the traffic department, with an explanation that “the breaks would happen… later.” Instead, Sam enlisted with the United States Army where he served in the American Infantry Division during World War II. Upon his return stateside, he enrolled at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and graduated in 1950; the day after his graduation he was drafted into the Korean War. After serving 14 months, during which his decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, he returned to the United States and attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

In 1953, Sam found himself having to decide between accepting a role in renowned director John Ford’s The Long Gray Line or a job with 20th Century Fox making story sketches for films. He happily accepted the latter, because “working behind the camera was what I really wanted to do.”

After layoffs at Fox in 1954, Sam joined Disney to create inspirational sketches for Walt’s new theme park, Disneyland. Among his first sketches was Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland.

He later contributed to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion. Eventually, every land at the Park benefited from Sam’s magic touch.

Sam also contributed to Florida theme park attractions such as the Magic Kingdom’s The Hall of Presidents and Universe of Energy in Epcot Center. Sam also developed inspirational sketches for the Disney-MGM Studios.

From time to time, Walt also asked Sam to storyboard Disney films. Among his projects were Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, Big Red, Bon Voyage, and The Gnome Mobile. He also developed storyboards for episodes of Disney’s television series Zorro.

Sam McKim passed away on July 9, 2004, in Burbank, California.



About: Disney Author, Carlene Thie

She’s never worked a day for the Walt Disney Company, but make no mistake — 

Carlene’s Disney roots run deep, much like California’s legendary sequoias, back to the mid-1950s, when her grandfather began a years-long working relationship with Walt Disney himself. And her Disney pedigree has continued right up until today, thanks to her dedication to keeping her grandfather’s legacy alive.


When the acreage between Katella Avenue, Ball Street, Harbor Boulevard and West Street in Anaheim was in the process of being transformed from lush orange groves into Disneyland, the world’s first theme park, Walt invited one of southern California’s most well-known news photographers to record the development of his Magic Kingdom.


That photographer was Mell Kilpatrick, who captured just about every phase of the project with his trusty “wee-gee” camera, even though photographing destruction, not construction, was his forte.


Kilpatrick “worked relentlessly to capture on film Walt Disney’s dream,” explains his granddaughter Carlene. “He climbed atop scaffolding, crawled into tunnels, even hung out of a light plane 5,000 feet above Disneyland to snap the perfect shot.”


Kilpatrick was a well-known figure in and around Anaheim during the 1950s. His wee-gee camera — a cumbersome, box-shaped device with a large flash bulb attached to the side — was more known for taking photos of deadly fires, gory crime scenes and horrific car accidents as chief photographer for the Santa Ana Register than it was for snapping shots of a more sedate, if hectic construction site.


But when Walt invited Kilpatrick to take photos of Disneyland — literally from the time the orange trees were leveled in 1954 to opening day about a year later — he was more than willing to lend his photographic expertise, becoming the park’s the main chronicler in the process.


Thus began a relationship between Disney and the Kilpatrick family that has lasted for decades and is still going strong today, thanks in large part to Carlene Thie and her Ape Pen Publishing Company.


Carlene has written five books about Disneyland, featuring hundreds of vintage, never-before-seen photos of the park snapped by her grandfather. Indeed, the five works — “Disneyland ... the Beginning,” “Disneyland Under Construction,” “Disneyland’s Early Years,” “Disneyland Seen Through a Photographer’s Lens” and “Homecoming: Destination Disneyland” — were the first outside, self-published books to be sold in Disneyland’s souvenir shops.


She also assisted legendary ride designer Bob Gurr with his seminal masterpiece, “Design: Just for Fun.” And she’s produced a number of informative DVDs, including “Meet Bob Gurr” and a Disneyland 50th anniversary work.

When you talk to any Disney executive, they’ll tell you emphatically that The Story is the most important element of anything Disney does. The story of Carlene Thie’s family is as fascinating as it is steeped in Disney history.


It began in 1948 when Mell Kilpatrick became a news photographer for the Santa Ana Register. He was so good at what he did that he was named the paper’s chief photographer. His specialty: The life and times — both good and bad — of Orange County, Calif


“He covered Orange County in every possible manner — by air, on foot, by car ... even by boat,” Carlene said. “He even attached a small camera to the dashboard of his car that was pointing out the front windshield.”

As the Register’s chief photographer, he took pictures of everything documenting the Santa Ana-Anaheim area. Little League games, airplane shows, car crashes, crime scenes. He was one of those nose-for-the-news guys who would often show up at the scene of a crime, fire or accident before the police.


He took so many photos that he needed a suitable place to store them. That place turned out to be the darkroom in his home.

“His darkroom was a little office which actually had two parts,” Carlene said. “The first part was bookshelves with a desk on either side, and the very back part was the darkroom.”


In the darkroom were boxes — actually, boxes atop boxes atop more boxes — of all the photos he had taken for the Register.

“When I was a kid, we’d go in the darkroom and say, ‘Oh cool,’ but my grandmother would always tell us to leave. Grandma wanted to keep that as his little shrine because that was his darkroom with his little office in there.


“She didn’t let us in very often and if we did, we kind of snuck in until we were told to get out.”


Kilpatrick’s reputation as an ace photographer in and around Anaheim obviously caught Walt Disney’s attention, which led to the plum assignment of taking photos of Disneyland under construction amid the noise, dust, heavy equipment and hot sun.


Mell’s relationship with Disney was further cemented when he generously allowed Disney’s staff photographers access to his personal darkroom since there wasn’t yet a place for them to develop their photos at Disneyland.


[Interestingly, some of the photos Mell snapped during this time included Curtis Sissel — his son-in-law and Carlene’s dad — a skilled craftsman who worked on Sleeping Beauty Castle and many of the buildings located on Main Street USA.


And Mell’s wife, Kathryn Kilpatrick, was a cast-member at Disneyland for 18 years. She held a number of positions, including working on Tom Sawyer’s Island, in the model shop, at the Bait Shack in Frontierland and in several shops on Main Street.]


“Walt often called Mell to photograph special days during construction, as well as granting him unlimited access to Disneyland,” Carlene said. “Along with dozens of the nation’s photographers, Mell was invited to Disneyland’s press premiere on July 17, 1955, as well as Disneyland’s golden opening day, July 18, 1955. “History buff that he was, Mell saved every piece of memorabilia from that day, including the official Disneyland press kit.”


After the park opened, Mell was on hand to document a number of Disneyland special events, including that memorable day in 1959 when the monorail, Matterhorn Mountain and the submarine voyage all debuted.


It was Mell who snapped those classic photos of then-Vice President Richard Nixon trying to cut the ribbon to officially get the monorail off and rolling. Of historical significance: The man at the controls of the monorail as it pulled into the station for the ceremonies was none other than Bob Gurr, who not only designed the monorail, Matterhorn Mountain and the submarines, but was called on to serve as the monorail pilot during that eventful day.]


Mell continued to photograph the now-flourishing park for a few more years, but in 1962, at the age of 60, he died of a heart attack.

Following his death, his beloved darkroom — with all those boxes of death, destruction and Disneyland negatives — was locked and left undisturbed for 30 years, gathering dust but never too far from the thoughts of his widow, Kathryn.


After those 30 years passed, though, granddaughter Carlene Thie came into the picture.


Written By Chuck Schmidt


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