1959 Yearbook Request to Disney for Artwork

by Hank Miller

I was the 1959 Marcello Yearbook editor and had an idea to use a Disney theme for the book. The year prior I was the assistant under June Vardiman who edited an outstanding 1958 Marcello. I wanted to continue the excellence and contacted Disney Studios for layout assistance and ideas. Since Walt and Roy Disney had dedicated our swimming pool and held the premier of Walt’s movie, The Great Locomotive Chase in Marceline in July 1956, I anticipated that Disney Studios would be responsive to sponsoring our 1959 Marcello and provide artwork of Disney characters.

Unfortunately, that did not occur. I received this letter advising me that the studio had too many requests, and we would need a copyright. I discussed the idea with my Publications teacher, Erma Dunham, who agreed that to obtain copyrights was beyond our reach. Today, I doubt if Walt ever saw my letter. I think he would have approved it.

Text of the letter:

January 3, 1958

Mr. Hank Miller
220 East Chicago
Marceline, Missouri

Dear Mr. Miller:

Because of the great volume of requests, we have had to discontinue the occasional practice of supplying special art for college and high school yearbooks.

The procedure now is for our Studio to grant permission to yearbook artists to adapt as their themes the particular Walt Disney creations they desire to use.

If you want to design your theme and title pages around a Walt Disney character or characters, please let us know, then we will be glad to instruct you in the proper copyright procedure.

Sincerely yours,
Books and Comics

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