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Walt’s Scrapbook – The Beachcomber, August 1941

Walt sketches a friend in Miami Beach, August 13th, 1941 (AP Photo)

Perhaps it’s fitting that, with Walt & El Grupo now out on DVD, we pause before we head South America-way to make a stop in Miami Beach, just like Walt did in 1941.

The above photo was taken at the Pancoast Hotel in Miami Beach on August 13th, 1941. That day, nine of the Disney staff would head off for Brazil, with Walt and his party following on Friday the 15th. Maybe our high-waisted mogul was working the rust off of his sketching skills as he prepared to draw Mickey and other characters for adoring audiences in South America?

The Pancoast Hotel, in better days

The Pancoast Hotel, designed in the then-popular Mediterranean Revival style by architect Martin L. Hampton, was built in 1923 and catered primarily to the wealthy. During World War II it, and the other large oceanfront hotels in Miami Beach, would be taken over by the government to serve as barracks for the Army Air Corps. After returning to civilian use in 1945, and having fallen out of architectural vogue, it was demolished in 1953 and replaced by the Seville Hotel.

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