Some of you may recall my post on March 30 in which I posted the above photo of Walt directing and Red Lyon filming the Cowles children for what I believed to be one the child filming services Laugh-O-Grams offered at the time.
Funny thing happened, I got a response from a Cowles family member regarding said photo:
I have this photo and others. this and other photos were taken at my granfathers home The childern are Minnie Jeanett Cowles ( my mother) John V. Cowles 11 and Virginia Cowles. My Grandfather Dr. John Vance Cowles took the photo of Walt & Rory Disney(actually Red Lyon)
I heard from Dr. Cowles grandson via e-mail and not only that he was kind enough to send me scans of the other photos he mentioned with the following note:
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. about my mothers birthday party in Kansas Mo., at my Grandfathers home my mom said Truman is in one of the photos as Grandfather was also Truman's Doctor as you know my uncle designed a portion of Disneyland in Ca. I was there while it was under construction my grandmothers name was Minnie as in Minnie Mouse. I believe the photos were taken in 1922, while he (Walt) was still involved in Laugh o gram.
Looking at the photos it's almost easy to imagine it being in the warmer months in Kansas, Walt's got his sleeves rolled up probably doing this as a favor to Dr Cowles who was by then Treasurer of Laugh-O-Gram Films. In the back of his mind are the cartoons back at the studio which he's eager to finish, Rudy Ising and Hugh Harman could be over there at that moment working.
Of course I am only assuming that these photos were taken prior to September 1922 as Dr Cowles was in New York with Leslie Mace when the deal with Pictorial Clubs was closed on September 16 according to Tim Susanin's research. If so then Walt's filming of the Minnie Jeanett Cowles' birthday must have been a favor rather than a service since he didn't advertise the child photographing service until October 1922. Of course it is always possible to still be reasonably warm in October, though I get the impression we are looking at summer here.
It's remarkable to see these photos, here's Walt at the very begining, in just over a year he would begin his upward journey in Hollywood.
Tim Susanin's WALT BEFORE MICKEY is a must read for more information on Dr Cowles and Walt's time in Kansas. I also recommend Merritt and Kaufman's WALT IN WONDERLAND and Michael Barrier's THE ANIMATED MAN (and his website) are also full of solid research into Walt's formative years. And finally, several volumes of Didier Ghez's WALT'S PEOPLE series contain interviews with people who knew Walt at that stage.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this photos as much as I have. Thank you very much to the owner, Dr Cowles' grandson for sharing.