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'Balloon Land' Animation Cell By Ub Iwerks, estimated at $300-$500 at Abell.

Abell presents the David Iwerks collection of vintage Disney history April 16

LOS ANGELES — Ub Iwerks (1901-1971) is as important a figure in the history of cartoon animation as his friend and employer, Walt Disney (1901-1966). Together they launched Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood and co-created Mickey Mouse and the Silly Symphonies, the first sound cartoons in the post-silent era.

Ub’s son, David Iwerks, would also go on to have a distinguished career at Disney, including creating the legendary animation visual effects for Tron (1982), while also becoming one of Hollywood’s leading portrait photographers. David (b. 1933-) has decided to bring his family’s collection of Disney-related historic items to market at Abell Auction in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 16, marking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Disney collectors worldwide. The complete 178-lot catalog is now available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s top-estimated lot is a circa-1930s Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse plush doll signed by Walt Disney on its foot with a message from Walt written on the other. It reads To Miss Alice Howell / De Votre Ancien Chauffeur / De La Croix Rouge / A He Ubchateau _____ / Sincerely / Walt Disney (‘From your former driver from the Red Cross’). Walt had forged his date in order to be hired by the Red Cross as a World War I ambulance driver, having been rejected by the Army as too young. The plush doll carries a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.

Carl Stalling (1891-1972) is best remembered as the composer for Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies, but he got his start writing for animated shorts after he was discovered by Walt Disney playing improvised soundtracks at a silent movie theater in his native Kansas City. Walt convinced Stalling to move to Hollywood to work with himself and Ub Iwerks, and Stalling would go on to write scores for many of Disney’s early shorts. The Iwerks collection includes Stalling’s original, hand-written score for Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo, the original Mickey Mouse theme song. It’s estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

A collection of celebrity portraits taken by David Iwerks is like a who’s-who of Hollywood Golden Age greats. The set of 19 works includes Maurice Chevalier, Dick Van Dyke, Edgar Bergen, Peter Lorre, Ed Wynn, Peter Ustinov, Boris Karloff, Walter Pigeon, Burl Ives, and Fred Astaire, some accompanied with letters of release. The set is estimated at $800-$1,200.

The sale includes a number of vintage posters from Ub Iwerks-directed animated shorts. In addition, there are numerous animation cels from projects Iwerks directed for Disney with modest estimates that should be easily met by Disney collectors.