Two (Mickey Mouse) Thumbs Up for “A Disney Childhood: Comic Books to Sailing Ships – A Memoir”

A Disney Childhood: Comic Books to Sailing Ships - A MemoirFirst of all I write comics for Disney. So, of course, I’m going to be interested in Cathy Sherman Freeman’s life—growing up with a father who was in charge of Disney comic books (long before my time.)

Of course, I’d be interested in hearing about her dad (George Sherman), Carl Barks, Del Connell and other legends in my business.

She spent her childhood living just down the street from Disneyland; knew “Uncle Walt”; acted as a child guide for various dignitaries visiting Disneyland; and got to help decide which comic book stories were published? Heck, yes. You bet I’m interested—and jealous!

But I was also predisposed to like this book because I liked Cathy immediately when she wrote to me and asked if I’d be interested in reading the book. Not because she offered me a free copy (although that helped), but because she just seemed so nice, down-to-earth, friendly and chatty.

And that’s exactly the writing voice she has in her book  “A Disney Childhood: Comic Books to Sailing Ships – A Memoir.”You feel like you’re reading a letter from a friend. (Assuming, of course, you have friends who lead exciting lives and do great jobs writing about it.)

From l to r: Cathy’s dad George Sherman, legendary Uncle Scrooge comic book artist Carl Barks, and Disney comic book art director Tom Golbert.

There’s a lot more to this book than amusing Disney anecdotes. Her fairy tale (and zany) childhood ends when her father dies of a rare tumor disease. Now she’s battling that same disease. In between she led a full and varied life. There’s a lot about her family’s sailing adventures. (What happens when a yacht hits a whale? The whale wins!) Plus, you learn what it’s like to be an attractive coed roaming Europe on your own; launch a career in theater; have anorexia; and fall in love.

This would be a warm, touching story even without the Disney aspects!

Cathy wearing the finest in rodent haberdashery.

This Uncle Scrooge painting by Carl Barks was a present to Cathy’s dad. To help pay for one of her tumor surgeries, Cathy sold the art at an auction. An unexpected bonus—news of the sale put her in touch with many of her father’s Disney associates and friends.

You can buy the book on Amazon here.

(Disclaimer: If you click on one of the above links and go to Amazon and buy the book, I do get a small percentage of the purchase prize since I’m an Amazon Affiliate member.)

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1 Comment

  1. In the early 1970s through his efforts Carl Barks was granted permission to create and sell oil paintings of the Donald Duck clan. Sherman also gave permission for Barks’ ten page story from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #126 to be reprinted in Les Daniels ‘s book Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America. This was one of the first attempts outside of comics fandom to mark Barks as being among the pantheon of comic book legends.


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