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In the Shadow of the Sign - My Life in Pictures (hardback)
BearManor Media

In the Shadow of the Sign - My Life in Pictures (hardback)

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In the Shadow of the Sign by Renée Patin Farrington

Lavishly illustrated with almost 1000 photos, many seen for the first time, including vintage images dating from the twenties and exclusive photographs    from the Walt Disney archives.

Renée Patin Farrington has given us a highly personal, evocative picture of growing up in Los Angeles as the daughter of a Disney animator. She parallels her own story with that of her dad, who went on to launch his own commercial studio in the 1950s. This candid reminiscence manages to capture the dreams and realities of two generations.

Leonard Maltin, Renowned film critic/historian/author

This richly illustrated memoir is not only an extraordinary journey through a family’s history as reflected through the eyes of its daughter in her golden years, but it shows the breadth and depth of the creative force of Hollywood’s animation community, the central role played by The Walt Disney Studios, as well as how everyday people lived almost like bit players in Southern California’s real-life world that was as beautiful as a movie set. There real people went to a high school attended by Debbie Reynolds and had a best friend who married a movie star. Our author was a baby at the Disney strike, taught in a boarding school in Switzerland, built a boat with her husband and sailed from coast to coast. By drawing on a rich set of home movies, photo albums, and illustrations from Ray Patin’s work, Farrington allows readers to discover an enchanted time and place in the American past while taking them on a magical personal journey through it.

Vanessa Schwartz, Professor of Art History and Director of the    Visual Studies Research Institute, USC and author of Jet Age Aesthetic: The Glamour of Media in Motion (Yale UP, 2020)

Ray Patin is a name many outside the animation business haven’t heard of, but his career in the field is filled with many accomplishments during the medium’s golden age. From Krazy Kat to the Disney Studios, and then onto Warner Bros. cartoons, Patin later became a pioneer in the burgeoning field of animated TV commercials in the 1950s. He quietly made his mark but left a legacy of indelible memories. His daughter tells his unique tale from her front row seat.

  Jerry Beck, Author and animation historian, www.cartoonresearch.com

The golden age of Hollywood animation was driven by an army of immensely talented artists, all of them human beings with lives and loves of their own. Ray Patin was part of that legion of talent, and in this lively, playful biography his daughter brings him to life on the printed page, along with the world he lived in. This is an engaging read, filled with warmth, affection, and a wealth of delightful visual surprises.

   J.B. Kaufman,  Film historian and author, www.jbkaufman.com


The Hollywood Sign is a beacon to all who seek the glitz and glamour of the tinseled town it shines down upon. To little Renée Patin––nicknamed Potsy––growing up in Burbank on the “wrong” side of the mountain that bears the fabled Sign meant that she lived in the shadow, far from all the sparkling treasures her future could offer. Those dancing klieg lights seen from her front yard did not shine for her…or so she thought.  Now in her eighties, Renée Patin Farrington has created a highly entertaining, illustrated memoir of her journey out from under that shadow. She writes with the childlike wonder and humor inherited from her fairy tale-loving artist mother Maxine and cartoonist father, Ray Patin. Every page is filled with illustrations, many from the movie camera Ray focused on his only child and on his career animating Donald Duck at the Disney studio just blocks from home. One scenario features little Renée riding the full-sized train in the backyard of Ward,  a family friend. She had no idea he was the creator of her first conscience, Jiminy Cricket, until she spotted the beloved bug and Ward Kimball’s name on a train at Disneyland where she worked in its earliest days. Ray’s art from high school in the twenties and cartoon-covered love letters to Maxine during their life together add a touch of fun throughout. The pioneering mid-century commercials from Ray Patin Productions on Sunset Boulevard illustrate a career worthy of Mad Men. The book is sprinkled with nostalgia such as war on the home front and teen-tempting magazine ads. From grade school classmate Natalie Wood to dreamy teen idol John Wilder to Miss Burbank Debbie Reynolds, you’ll encounter a who’s who of stars from the “right” side of the Sign. Readers are invited on a guided tour of the hidden highlights of La La Land and of Santa Barbara, home of the twenties movie studio that rivaled Hollywood. There, as a college student, Farrington dated a fellow student who became America’s most famous sculptor.

After studies at the Louvre in Paris, teaching movie stars’ kids near Beverly Hills and the children of jet setters in Switzerland, several careers including toy design, cruising from coast to coast in a hand-crafted yacht, and travels around the world, Renée Patin Farrington is back in California. She is far from the shadow of the Sign, sharing the journey that proves that T.S. Eliot was right: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”