Herman Schultheis

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Herman Schultheis
Born Herman J. Schultheis
(1900-02-11)February 11, 1900[1]
Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Disappeared May 21, 1955 (aged 55)
Petén, Guatemala
Status Missing for 63 years and 3 months
Residence Los Angeles
Education Ph.D. in mechanical and electrical engineering.
Occupation Technician
Employer Walt Disney Studios
Ethel Wisloh (m. 1936)

Herman Schultheis (11 February 1900 – 21 May 1955) was a Walt Disney Studios photographer and technician in the Special Effects Department best known for his work on the feature films Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Bambi.[2][3]


Schultheis emigrated to New York City from his native Germany in 1927 working jobs in sound-recording. He then went to Los Angeles in 1937. In February 1939, Schultheis joined Walt Disney in Special Effects department. He left Walt Disney in June 1940.[4]


On 20 May 1955, Schultheis disappeared near Petén while on a trip to the Mayan temples at Tikal in Guatemala.[5][6]

Schultheis notebook[edit]

Schultheis documented advanced special effect techniques used in Disney films in a notebook titled Special Effects[4] It is on display at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California.[7] His notebook, once offered to Disney for the sum of $400 in 1939 (equivalent to $7,037 in 2017), was discovered by Disney historian Howard Lowery hidden away in a Murphy bed in his Los Angeles residence upon his widow's death in the early 1990s.[8]

John Canemaker’s book, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic is a partial reproduction of Herman Schultheis notebook. Canemaker called Schultheis book "the Rosetta Stone of Disney animation."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mills, Chris (21 January 2013). "Herman J. Schultheis (1900 - 1955) - Find A Grave Memorial". Find a Grave. Retrieved 13 August 2017. 
  2. ^ Canemaker, John (11 March 2014). The Secrets of Disney's Visual Effects: The Schultheis Notebooks Hardcover. Walt Disney Family Foundation Press. p. 256. ISBN 1616286121. 
  3. ^ Rice, Christina (2 May 2012). "The Los Angeles of Herman Schultheis: One Photographer's Look at a Depression-Era City". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Herman J. Schultheis and His Lost (And Found) Notebook". d23. The Walt Disney Company. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Jacobs, Horace (July 1955). "Schultheis Disappears in Guatemala Mystery" (PDF). Librazette. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Preview: "The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney's Movie Magic". cartoonbrew. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Schultheis Notebook - Second Story". archive.secondstory.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "Michael Sporn Animation – Splog » Search Results » Schultheis". www.michaelspornanimation.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.