Friday, March 28, 2014

Walt at the Colonel Swope Memorial

 It's been a long time since I've posted, I've been busy working on storyboards and squeezing time into my film inbetween leaving me with very little time for anything else.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about Walt's early days and got to thinking about the photos I have and which we've seen many of him and the Laugh-O-grams staff clowning in Swope Park Kansas. I typed Swope Park into the e-bay search and immediately found the above 1919 post card of the Colonel Swope Memorial also the grave site of Colonel Thomas Hunton Swope (Kansas real estate magnate) who passed away in 1909 under mysterious circumstances and was finally laid to rest in Swope Park (land which he donated in 1896) on April 8, 1918.

Here was an easy landmark to identify from the Laugh-O-gram photos which would have been taken around 1922 probably the fall since the trees are bare yet no snow is visible. The photos look like they've been inscribed with a date April 1922. Seems kind of odd to be playing on what's essentially a tomb, yet I've seen photos of weddings being held on the tomb itself which is at the foot of the plaque.
 I'm still not sure who is sitting on the lion which  is to the left of the memorial. My guess is Red Lyon.
 Here's Walt, I'm not sure if this is at the memorial, seems like it could be.

 My favorite photo with Walt and Mary? (unknown) on the forth step from the top in front of the plaque.

 Walt with friend  up high, possibly somewhere near the memorial which I should add is on a hill overlooking the Swope Park Zoo.
Walt stands on the left side urn.

Looking at some of the photos I found on Google it's easy to imagine, Walt, Red Lyon, Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising playing and posing around the place on a long forgotten afternoon before any of them were ever known to the world.

 THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, now this is utter speculation but could the photo below be the location? The slope of the ground behind the boys could be a clue, there is also a trail visible behind them which can be seen in the modern day photo. There are trees nearby as in the modern photo, obviously 90 years of history would have seen them grow.

It's possible, the modern day photo would have been taken from the right side of the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH photo. Fun to imagine.


David said...

Just a great post, mark. You have a phenomenal collection of images. Thanks for sharing them!

Silicone Vibrator said...

I love the pics!

Anonymous said...

Hi. It seems to me that the guy on the lion is Fred Harman, who worked with Disney at the Kansas City Slide Company. I'm not sure about the other people.

Unknown said...

Mr. Sonntag,  I am very interested in your photos of Walt and friends taken back in 1922 at Swope Park here in Kansas City. I think it may be possible to pinpoint the actual location of the cabin if you could provide a high resolution scan of the Walt and friend high on roof" photo. I can almost make out rock formations in the background.  I've compiled a series of clues I have gathered into a sort of narrative, and am willing to share in return for your opinion.

Hoping this interests you,

Thanks,  -Ron Willard

Anonymous said...

Hi. In the picture where Walt and another guy are eating, I think his friend is wearing almost the same shoes, socks and pants that Carman Maxwell has in the picture 'The fountain of youth' (and in 'Gang at buzzard's roost', since they were taken the same day). Even his cap looks the same, look at the wrinkles. It's possibly him, but I cannot assure it.
As for the girl called in the picture 'Walt and Mary' of April 2nd, 1922 (or so it seems), I think she looks similar to the girl that appears on a Laugh-O-gram photo of a car, with Walt on the back seat, Rudy Ising and Leslie Mace. I am sure you know which one I mean.

Christopher Williams said...

For all who are interested, please join our Facebook group.
Search Magic in K.C.,and if you can't find it, I can post a link.

I am interested in locating some of these sites in photos as well. Would live to know where cabin once stood.