One of the first assignments of Hugo Wilmar in Service with the Walt Disney Company is at the shooting of the movie Perri. This is a Disney “True Life Fantasy” movie about the life of a young squirrel and her family.
The film is shot in a studio in Murray, near Salt Lake City, Utah. In a letter to his wife-to-be Mary, he writes:
“As I feared, the Studio wanted me to go back to Salt Lake and evaluate the possibilities of a complete still coverage of their motion picture“ Perri ”which the boys around here started on December last year”Letter from Hugo Wilmar to Mary Eddy, September 25, 1954
Hugo Wilmar's activities
On the set, Hugo has to investigate whether it is possible to also make a photo story of the film. In the same letter to his fiancé, he writes the following about the film:
Arrived in Salt Lake - or rather Murray, which is a suburb - on Monday. I have been working very hard until late at night (as practically everybody else out here) ever since.
I felt very small and very green when I first entered the Studio here. Believe me, this is the strangest, most remarkable and sometimes most awe-inspiring set-up that you and I and probably everybody else has ever seen. In fact, it's unique:
The indoor studio is successfully hidden from the public “Studio idea”. It is a huge and abandoned coal mine which they rented. No visitors or newspapermen are allowed to get in, in fact nobody knows that these are Disney boys at work. Likewise, all information I give you here is not to be advertised in broad circles. This is called “Wasatch Enterprises” (named after the Wasatch mountain range - we had our little first snow on top of the peaks today), which is “private, independent organization taking some animal pictures”. In stead of a “True Life Adventure Film” this is going to be the first True Life Fantasy ”never done before. It is like Bambi but no animation but real animals. Perri is a red pine squirrel-land its Nature's own story of all red squirrels, their jois and sorrows, hopes and fears, friends and enemies. ”
More information about Perri
Detailed information about the film can be found on the site Perri: a one of a kind Disney Adventure. The entire film can be viewed online at Disney +. The trailer gives a good impression of the tone and design of the film: