Friday, 25 November 2011

"DEAR MR STOKOWSKI..."

Sorting through more treasures for boxing-up, I stumbled on a photograph that brought back a flood of memories...

It was 1977 and Fantasia, that Disney film that has been such an obsession of mine for so much of my life, was once more being re-released – this time with a simulated stereo soundtrack.

Swept away yet again by the amazing combination of great music and amazing animation that had done so much not only to secure my passionate devotion to Disney but also to introduce me to classical music, I sat down and wrote a fan letter to the film's maestro, Leopold Stokowski.

Not knowing where to send it, I wrote care of the Disney Studio, an unnecessarily circuitous route as it happened, since by then he was living in Hampshire, England!

Months passed without a reply. Then, in September 1977, I read of Stokowski's death at the age of 95. I had waited too long; had written to my hero too late.

But no, that was not the case: the very next day, I received in the post what must have been one of the last photographs the conductor ever signed...

Leopold Stowkowski

The 'W' shaped squiggle at the end of the signature represents a lyre and was a characteristic flourish with which Stokowski finished many of his autographs.

6 comments:

Steven Hartley said...

About 3 years later, Bob Clampett made a spinoff of "Fantasia" called "A Corny Concerto", and Deems Taylor was ... Elmer Fudd.

elizabethanne said...

Oh my stars. What a treasure! And what a story! You seem to attract amazing stories and fantastic serendipities.


the one with the ever changing, ever lengthening name...

Anonymous said...

I think Gandalf would say that you received that photo because you were meant to. (R)

Andy J. Latham said...

Wow, what a great story! I bet you treasure that one Brian!

Brian Sibley said...

Steven Hartley – Thanks for the reminder of A Corny Concerto. Great fun! As is Bruno Bozetto's wonderful Allegro Non Troppo.

elizabethanne – I do, that's true!

Anonymous (R) – Yes, I think he would! *

Andy J Latham – Again, I do!

* R: Thanks for the letter. I'd love to have your e-mail now that you find yourself in the Age of Machines! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll send you my email address when I've got a bit more proficient at using it! (At the moment this IT world is sheer gobbledegook to me.) By the way, I hope your boxing up of treasures is a tidying-thing, and not a getting-ready-to-move-because-we-couldn't-extend-the-lease thing? (RGP)