A Real Find
updated 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/21/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT
The son of a shopkeeper and a homemaker, Wyatt, who is single, began collecting silent films when he was 10. At a liquidation sale in 1978, he says, "I didn't have the money to buy all the films I wanted—or a car to bring them home." Still, he did nab Granny Steps Out, which turned out to be the title given by a British distributor to Little Red Riding Hood, a cartoon Disney, then 21, drew in 1922. Disney soon lost rights to it after declaring bankruptcy, and the film, presumed lost, was soon forgotten.
In 1996, after reading an interview with Wyatt in a history of Disney's early work, Scott McQueen, head of restoration at Disney, realized that Wyatt owned a gem. He contacted him and, in exchange for a restored 35-mm version of the cartoon, got to make a duplicate negative for the archives. "We'll make sure," promises McQueen, "that Little Red Riding Hood won't get lost again."