Mousetalgia link


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thomas Lee “Tommy” Kirk

I think of one of my favorite part of my Disney journey of discovery is having the Walt Disney Family so close. The Museum has regular monthly events, or as I call them sessions, where various Disney luminaries, legends and expects come and speak for about an hour, then answer some questions, and finally if time allows sign memorabilia, or books. Thanks to Ms. Donna for all her hard work creating an amazing visitor experience
The Museum is an incredible collection of Walt Disney artifacts currently arranged in 10 galleries that take you through Walt’s life during defined periods. No matter how many times I tour the galleries, I always discover something I hadn’t seen to before, and Gallery 10 is now, and probably always will be, the hardest gallery for me to transit. But that is not the subject of this blogisode, which, by the way, I checked and so much for copy writing.

This last weekend my oldest, who normally accompanies me on these excursions, and I had the opportunity to listen to Tommy Kirk talk for an hour about his years as a Disney movie talent. Tommy has starred in over 30 films in a career that spanned 6 decaded, and I believe more than half of them for Disney, including one that was the subject of this month’s movie at the WDFM Theater – The Swiss Family Robinson, hence the name of this session, “Inside the Tree House.” There is a great write-up of Tommy on Wikipedia that provides his complete filmography, if you are interested. However, who, over the age of, never mind, doesn’t remember with tearful eyes, the young boy with tears in his eyes forces to pull the trigger of the rifle that ended his cherished friend and companion – “Old Yeller”? There is a tear in my eye as I write this sentence.

As the session started, Donna, the Director of Visitor Experience introduced the afternoon’s moderator – Jeff Kurtti. Jeff is a Disney luminary in his own right. Author or contributor of several (an understatement) books on Disney, Renowned Disney historian, and as we were told, very involved with the creation of the Museum. He has this member’s eternal gratitude for his effort at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Tommy is as personable today, as his characters he portrayed. After giving a few opening remarks about our guest, Jeff surprised us and turned the floor over momentarily to another well known guest and benefactor of the Museum – Ron Miller. For those not aware, Ron Miller is the husband of Walt’s daughter Diane, and a former Director, Producer, and Executive at the Walt Disney Company.

Ron told us how he came to be employed at Disney. In the 50’s, after servicing in the Army, Ron play a season as a tight end for the Los Angeles Rams, and anyone who has played football (high school running back here) will tell you, the tight end is one of the positions which takes the most punishment on the field. As Ron told us he was no exception, and got laid out on a couple of occasions. He explained that on play he was knocked unconscious in the 1st quarter and didn’t wake up until the 3rd. This happened to be a game that his father-in-law was in attendance. After the game Walt came to him and told him that he(Ron) was going to get himself killed if he continued to play, and he(Walt) did not want to be raising Ron’s children. Walt suggested that Ron come to work for him at the studio, and Ron agreed. Walt arranged for Ron to join the Director Guild, and Ron started as an assistant director. Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with Tommy Kirk? Well, Ron first job as an assistance director was to collect a young Tommy Kirk from the studio and escort him as the sole human actor for the day to a shooting location. They were filming “Old Yeller” and that was the first meeting between the two. They worked together many times after that and became close.

While the session was called “Inside the Tree House” we didn’t hear a lot about “Swiss Family Robinson.” Tommy did talk about not knowing who John Mills was and wonder why they did get a more famous actor. But, admitted afterward, he couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the father better than John. He also talked about being on location on an island in the West Indies for 7 months, and being terribly home-sick. One of the things Tommy really missed while on location was brownies. He spoke warming of his movie Mom in Swiss Family Robinson – Dorothy McGuire, who also played his Mother in “Old Yeller”, and you could truly hear the affection for her in voice. He said how he really liked her and felt she like him. Whereas, Jane Wyman, who played his Mother in “Bon Voyage”, he said, while she was nice and professional, he got the impression she didn’t like him all that much.

Tommy worked with Fred MacMurray (Disney 1st Legends inductee in 1987). We were told how Mr. MacMurray was always such a professional on the set, and how when off camera, he’d sit quietly off to the side, read his newspaper and drink his coffee, when he was needed on camera, he’s fold his paper, come onto the set and slip into character and perform his part. He told a funny story about one movie the two work on together. I don’t recall all the particulars, but they want someone on the set who would do Groucho Marx impressions, and that kind of stuck with Tommy. During one scene, the camera angles for the shot were changed, and Tommy, in his best Groucho voice, claimed jokingly that they changed the angle to shoot the back of his head to give the star more camera time. Tommy said that was the only time he ever saw Fred get really mad. Fred told him when he’d been doing this along as he had, he could worry about who got the most camera time. Tommy did say that after the incident, Fred didn’t appear to keep it with him or hold a grudge. They worked on several films after that one. Tommy also commented that Fred had great toupees. He and Jeff talked about the fact that Fred, Bing, and Frank all had great hair pieces. As the session went on, Tommy talk about acting with then Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, and how she got more fan mail than Marilyn Monroe. He talked about being in “The Monkey’s Uncle” and how it was not one of his favorite films, in fact he really hated it. He was also not fond of “Bon Voyage” either.

At the end of session we had an opportunity for few audience questions. One question from a younger member of the audience asked how Tommy liked working with the animals on “Swiss Family Robinson”? Tommy told us how he had to be careful around the ostrich and make sure that he stayed to the side or behind the animal because when they kick, and they can kick very hard, they do it to the front. The same young audience member followed up with a question asking if he got the play much with the baby elephant. Tommy said no, the baby elephant was pretty much Kevin (Moochie) Corcoran’s animal. The two most notable questions came at the end. A certain audience member from the top row of the theater ask Tommy if he’s reconsider his position on “The Monkey’s Uncle”? The audience member happened to be the movies producer and none other than Ron Miller, and received a resounding laugh throughout the audience. The final question asked a similar question for “Bon Voyage” from the associate producer, also Ron Miller and receiving a similar laugh from the audience.

After the session, Tommy, as is the case with most session guests, agreed to sit a sign autographs and memorabilia for audience members. As we waited in line, I notice a pin on the lady standing in front of me. It was a Club 33 pin, and I had to comment on it. She smiled so brightly at the recognition at I was sure she in got while actually dining at the Club. That’s pretty cool, and one of my dream goals for the future. As we continued to wait in line she noticed that my daughter had nothing to be signed and produces a “Swiss Family Robinson” postcard from her bag and handed to Sam. I am, now days not surprised, grateful that there are so many friendly Disney devotees. We have met many at the Museum, and continue to meet them at various Disney events. It is one of the reasons I looks forward to going to Museum as often as I can. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it.

Edited:  August 30, 2010

I had to come back and make a quick addition that I missed in my initial posting, because I thought it  was important tidbit and insight into Walt Disney the man.

Tommy told us of a very special event in his career with Disney.  One day he happened to be at a local establishment and ran into Walt Disney, who was having lunch that day with Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, two well known Hollywood columnists of the day.  Walt introduced young Tommy to his lunch guests as Tommy Kirk, his lucky charm.  Even to this day, you could hear the pride and joy in his voice, at hearing such praise from Walt Disney.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Disney Brothers Studio is Created

Originally posted August 23, 2010

I think it was Horace Greely who said, “Go West Young Man!” Well that is exact what Walt Disney did after the failure of his Laugh-O-Grams animation studio. Some have claimed that he went to Hollywood with the intention of starting another studio, but I cannot find any real data to support this claim. Quite to the contrary, and by his own words (which can be found in gallery 2 at the Walt Disney Family Museum), Walt feeling the sting from the what he thought scheming distributors, felt that he had missed his opportunity in animation, and so went to Hollywood to find work as an actor or director. He really thought his work at FilmAd qualified him to direct, but none of the studio in Hollywood at the time agreed. Finding no opportunities to direct, Walt’s brother Roy suggested that he re-examine his chances in “that” cartoon business.
During the life of Laugh-O-Grams, Walt and his animators had begun development of a story based on “Alice in Wonderland” using a combination of live-action performance with animation, called the “Alice Comedies.” He began shopping the idea around to a couple of distributors in New York, using a partially completed reel of the first story that he managed to arrange permission to use as a demo. You see, because of the bankruptcy of Laugh-O-Grams, he no longer actually owned the footage. When Margaret (M.J.) Winkler expressed an interest in distributing “The Alice Comedies”, Walt immediate went to his Brother Roy’s bedside at the VA Hospital to ask his advice. Roy left the hospital, against doctor’s advice, the two young men pooled their meager resources; and along with some seed money they receive from their Uncle Robert, they form a new company. The Disney’s arrange for Virginia Davis, the young star of the “Alice Comedies, and her family from Kansas City to Hollywood. Ub Iwerks and his family also moved from Kansas City at this time, and the Disney Brothers Studio was born, later to become Walt Disney Productions, and even later the Walt Disney Company.
Everyone knows about Disney and animation, there are dozens of books on the subject. I quite honestly possess only a cursory understanding of animation. I will say that I have learned a great deal more on the subject in the last year, and have a new found appreciation of animation of all kinds. It is an expensive, painstakingly laborious, and time consuming process even to do a mediocre job, but, to accomplish the quality that Walt demanded, even more so. Hence my new found appreciation for the ‘cartoons’ I have always enjoyed. I now more readily recognize and appreciate the intricacies of the animation process and the adoring touch of the artist as I view these films. A recent example of the caring and thoughtful efforts of the artist occurred to me while watching Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.” There is small and really inconsequence scene where Sully has just come to rest at the bottom of a snow covered slope, after crashing the makeshift sled he had just moments before been careening downhill on. Lying there on his stomach in the snow recovering for his harrowing ride, the animator had the presences of mind and care for his craft to show the breeze blowing through the valley by showing the hair on Sully’s back bristling in the wind. It is this attention to detail that I believe Walt himself would have appreciated. But, animation was only one aspect of the man’s talent. I’d like to focus more on those other talents.

As is the providence of many famous figures in history, I think Walt Disney is a personaliy who has been excessively romanticized by many of his fans and admirers, and likewise overly demonized by his critics and detractors. Enthusiastic fans claim he was a masterful artist, animator, and the brilliant businessman responsible for success of The Walt Disney Company, critics would have you believing his success was solely derived from his egotistical drive to exploit the talents of those around him for his own gratification. As is the case with most historical accounts, the story is jaded by the views and experiences of the teller, and truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Walt was neither a masterful artist nor animator. He was not a bad artist, as I don’t think anyone is a bad artist, as art is truly in the eye of the beholder. I have seen many ‘artistic’ pieces lauded be my contemporaries as spectacular for which I wouldn’t pay a dime, so I don’t think anyone can say who is or isn’t good. Walt’s genius, from what I’ve been able to discern, was in his ability to visual and construct a story that others would want to see. Walt was truly visionary in this area, early on in animations infancy, he saw more and explored techniques no one else considered. He smart enough in beginning to realize his limitations and to foster relationships with individuals that could help make his vision come to life. He would guide them toward the end product of that vision, now with genius come a certain degree of ego, the greater the genius, normally the bigger the ego.

Listening to and reading many accounts of both admirers and detractors, I think is safe to say that Walt was not immune to this condition. Many have said in vary degree of frustration that it always came down to Walt’s answer, that he would not listen to or consider other ideas. Yet, I have heard as many say that yes it was always Walt’ way or no way, but, that if you understood Walt, you could present your ideas in way that didn’t not challenge his vision, and he would listen. I have had the opportunity to work with a few different artists in different disciplines and that experience has left me with the feeling that most artists are very possessive of their work. I would imagine that Walt would not have gotten much real work done if he’d had had to salve all the egos that work on his productions. So, I would posit that if you had an idea that fit within Walt’s vision and did not directly challenge him as the boss, you did okay. Those who could deal with this position you did okay, if not, you probably moved on. While even the great Walt Disney had his failures, his ideas and visions were “on the money” more often than not.

Walt Disney, a brilliant businessman? Understanding his craft, and leading in a way that manages to get the most out of the people that work for you, in that aspect he was masterful. He always seemed to know how to put people together that would produce well, but, Walt as the fiscally responsible business administrator, not so much. Walt made any number of comments indicating his distaste for jobs of the “sharp pencil boys.” While he understood that he had to deal with limited budgets, he considered the quality of the end product over the costs.

We’ll leave it here for this blogisode, as my last was quite long and the last paragraph is liable to evoke some emotion from the fan base. Next we’ll start exploring the real financial master of the Disney operations, and relationship between the brothers and how I think it played in the success of the company.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Mousetalgia Podcast

Originally posted August 24, 2010

This blogisode is another side trip on the Disney trail. I decide to do a shout out here because the Crew at Mousetalgia shamelessly asks for reviews on iTunes, and I don’t have an iTunes account. The podcast is free, so I don’t have to sign up to get it, and I am trying desperately not to open an iTunes account. I want to give them a good review, because I’ll really like the podcasts, and I (being equally shameless) hope they might plug my blog sometime.
So here’s to Mousetalgia crew, I’ll write you a review on my blog.

I recently met a group of characters (I didn’t just how much at the time ) at the Disneyland 55th Anniversary celebration at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Dave, Becky, Jeff, and Kristen, collectively known as Mousetalgia, run a weekly podcast (which can be found on iTunes) or their website @

We were sitting in the row in front of the crew for the Saturday presentation by Tony Baxter, Jack Lindquist, and Matt Ouimet, moderated by the incomparable Marty Sklar. As sat waiting for the presentation to start, I heard a comment behind me that I just had to respond to… I don’t even remember what it was, but, as my daughters will tell you, if it Disney, I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone. So as we sat there waiting and talking about Disney, I had the most fortunate experience of being “penned” by Kristen, and it’s not as painful as it might sound.

I’ve since started listen to the weekly Mousetalgia podcast. I just finished listening to episode 95, and I’m working my way back previous episodes, current back to #87. I’ve got to say the podcasts is great, and it is a lot of fun to listen to Dave, Becky, Jeff, and Kristen discuss the current week’s topic. They are funny and informative, and provide a lot of current and historical information. But, even if I am (some times) not really tuned into the topic of the week (I’m going to catch hell for that one), the podcasts are worth the opening sequence, and updates, and the closing sequence. I don’t know how anyone can listen to the music and come away feeling anything but HAPPY. GREAT Music!

So if you are a Disney junkie, I highly recommend the Mousetalgia Podcast. And if you get a chance to meet Dave, Becky, Jeff and Kristen, all or individually, so much the better. As I have gotten the opportunity to meet more people in the Disney community, I am always pleased and no longer amazed that Disney fans and luminaries are so friendly.

Thanks guys and keep up the great work.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

D23 Walt Disney Studio Tour

Originally posted August 28, 2010

In this week’s blogisode we are going to take another little trip off the reservation. This time, unlike last, I think the story is going to be a lot more fun. As I was writing it, I didn’t realize how much I had to say, so this one is rather verbose.

As I had said in my original posting, this whole process started as the result of a trip to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. That was our second trip to the Studio, the first being the attendance of the Prince and the Frog Premier last November. This second trip was for the Roy E. Disney Tribute in May, where we got to witness the rededication of the Feature Animations Building to the ROY E. DISNEY ANIMATION BUILDING, and attend a screening of Roy’s True Life Fantasy (the only one ever made) Perri, and Fantasia 2000, one of Samantha’s favorites. We got to eat in the Studio Commissary, where I had the opportunity to sample the famous Walt’s Chili. No disrespect to the culinary staff at the commissary, but, it tasted like Hormel’s Chili for a can. Not bad, but nothing to rave over. It was, though, Walt’s favorite, so there may have been just a bit more enjoyment then one might expect. On this trip I discovered that my oldest daughter is braver than even I knew. During the intermission, she marched herself done to the front of the theater and asked Don Hahn for his autograph, which he most graciously obliged. It was on the drive home from this event, it’s amazing what runs through your mind on a 6 hour drive with no one to talk to, that I realized just know much there was for me to still learn about Disney.

Well, this weekend was another step in that learning process, a lot of fun, and thank you Disney for the creation of D23. On Saturday, Sam and I made a low attitude, high speed run down to Burbank to partake in one of D23’s Walt Disney Studio Tours. Getting tickets to a studio tour is an experience unto itself, as these tours are very popular among the Disney faithful, err maybe fanatic would be better choice. You need to park yourself out at the D23 website about 5 minutes before tickets go on sale, and start clicking on the link as soon as it appears, a feat which I have been unable to complete before now. Well on this particular day I lucked out because all five tours being offered for August 14th were waitlisted within about 10 minutes, but I managed to get in early enough to get two tickets for the 1:00 PM Tour.

So, at 3:00 AM Saturday morning Sam and I are in car headed south on 101, Sam sleeping contently in the co-pilot’s seat, awaking occasionally to my prodding to, “please refill Dad’s coffee cup.” Yes I know, I5 is faster, but I hated I5. It is nothing but mile and mile of mile and miles of nothing, and even traveling 101 we could have been in Burbank hours earlier then our 1:00 PM tour time. But there is a method to my madness, my grandparents and a cousin reside permanently of Camarillo at the Conejo Mountain Cemetary. Since I am the only member of the family to travel south with any regularity, I have taken on myself to stop in with flower and to make sure their gravesites are being well maintain. Besides I have some friends in Burbank, and arrived with enough time that we were able to stop and have breakfast with them and visit for awhile. It’s always a pleasure to sit and talk with the ‘tods’, both being ex-Disney employees and very knowledgeable about most things Hollywood. After taking caring of family in Camarillo, another 40 minutes drive to Burbank, and a couple hours visit with the ‘tods’ at the landmark Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank (or it might be Toluca Lake, I’m not sure where the city boundaries run), we arrive at the Walt Disney Studios Buena Vista Street gate.

On arrival, we are ushered to the Hyperion Bungalow, a building we are to discover later is one of two buildings moved to this lot from the original Disney Brothers Studios on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. Here we are checked in and ask to wait in the shade of the room to our right. There are two rooms to this bungalow, and imagine my amazement to find out they are named the Hyperion Room and the Silver Lake Room. I wonder why these names? :smile: At about quarter to 1 a lovely young lady named Laura comes in a lets us know that we will be gathering outside in just a few minutes to start our tour. About 10 minutes later she has us gather in a shady shot on the lawn to begin the tour. As she is describing how the tour is going to work, she tells us to ask questions at any time and if she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find it. To this a cute little blond pipes up and says, “or you can just ask him.” There is my daughter Sam pointing right at me, the little smart alec.

The first stop on our journey of discovery, a topiary of Mickey Mouse sitting just off the patio seating for the Commissary. For those who may not know, the commissary is the equivalent of the cafeteria in most other company, albeit probably much fancier fare the most companies. Laura explains that the Mickey topiary was a gift to the studio for Mickey 60th (as I recall) birthday from Walt Disney World in Florida, probably the topiary capital of the world. Michael Eisner, then the head of the Walt Disney Company, thought that Walt Disney Studios should become the west coast capital for topiaries, however a problem should arose. After a few weeks Mickey started browning and dying off because as it turns out, topiaries are much better suited to the humid environment of Florida and not the drier southern California weather. Well, the home of Mickey Mouse well couldn’t have his likeness perishing on the property, so all efforts were made to assure plant Mickey’s survival. A fairly expensive misting system was devised to water Mickey from the inside, and you can often see Mickey dipping water early in the morning after his drink. And thus ended all thought of Walt Disney Studios becoming the topiary capital of the west coast.

Next on our stop is the street sign at the corner of Mickey Ave and Dopey Drive. This sign post claims to point the direction to Animation, Multiplane, and Ink & Paint on Mickey Ave, and Inbetween, Special EFX, and Layout Dept on Dopey Drive. Not so quick, none of these places are located in the directions this sign post claims. The sign was place there during the filming of the behind the scene part of ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ as a joke to confuse the actor filming these scenes. I recently obtained DVD copy of ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ and now have even more reason to watch it. All these years later, the sign remains along with evidence that this corner was where Pluto took his breaks. Pointing over our shoulders to back patio and trellis of the commissary, double for Medfield College in the ‘Absent Minded Professor’ and ‘The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes’ with several shots being filmed down the street toward the Animation Building and Theater, the theater being the same theater where Sam and I first saw ‘Princess and the Frog’. The theater is designed with a sound board which gives it the acoustic appearance of being about 2/3 full. This allows sound editors to achieve the best possible sound for the movie we all go and watch.

As we stop outside the entrances to the Animation Building, Laura explains that this is not the current animation building, that is now cross the street on Riverside Drive, the Animation Build here is now used to provide space for some of the production companies that work with Disney, and that Marty Sklar kept his office in there before he retired last year. The Animation Build is build with the Main Hall running north and south with 8 sections built off the main hall. These sections contain the offices for the animators, their assistants and inbetweeners. These sections are built so that each animator has a window to allow natural light into his work area. I say his because at the time only men were animators. Interesting fact, all the north facing windows are sans awning because northern light is considered perfect light for animation. All the other window have adjustable shade awnings which can be control from inside the offices to achieve perfect lighting. Another interest anecdote from Laura was how the animators who worked on the third floor where Walt’s office was on the north end of the building would listen for the tell tale cough that would indicate the Walt was still at work and in his office. If they were leaving for the evening and really needed to go and they heard that cough, they exit down the hall to the southern staircase instead of the northern one to avoid being waylaid by Walt with additional ideas and work for the evening. While not visible from the grounds outside, there is a fourth floor to the building. The 4th floor was called the penthouse, where such perks as small dining room, a health club and masseuse, and an open deck that looked over the lot. The penthouse was a perk for Walt’s top animators and business executives.

One last tidbit about the Animation Building, some believe that the Magic Kingdom is where the utildor was first used. Not familiar with the term, well in case you didn’t know, the Magic Kingdom is actually built about fourteen feet about ground. Below that is a complex of utility corridors (utilidors) where all cast member move around the park. Well the real original utilidor is located below the Animation Building leading to the Ink & Paint Department. As it turns out, it is better to keep animation cels out of the weather while in transport from the animators to Ink & Paint. Apparently one of the uses for old cels was run and jump on cel to see how far one could slide on the slippery cement utilidor floor, and one story was told of animators helping a young Roy Patrick Disney (Roy O’s grandson, Roy E’s son) use the cels as a slide in this utilidor. The building that housed the Ink & Paint Department also contained the Layout and Camera Departments. These two buildings connected by the utilidor where laid out in such a way that the animation process could easily move from the animators, to the Ink & Paint girls, to layout out and setup, to the camera in kind of a U shaped flow.

As I said earlier, there were two buildings move over from the Hyperion lot. That second build was the Shorts building. This is where most of the short animation cartoons were produced, and also where a majority of ‘Snow White’ was animated. As we walked through this building we were greeted by Gus the football kicking donkey. I don’t know, but he looked a little stiff to me. We walked around the back lot area where the sound stages are located. Laura told us about some of the current production being done, and since none of the stages were open we were unable to see inside. We did get some tidbit like the 20,000 gallon tank under the floor of Stage 3 where ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ was filmed, and the mound of dirt under a sub floor in Stage 4, one of the largest sound stages in the world, if I heard correctly. Laura told us a story about how they were having a really hard time filming the squid fight sequence in ’20,000 League’ where control wiring for the squid kept showing thru among other problems. When Walt came in and learned for the problems, he suggested changing the fight scene from day to night, and viola problem solved. It was at this point that I got an opportunity to demonstrate my Disney prowess and relay a story I’d learn during a session and the Walt Disney Family Museum. The story was one told by Lee Topes, the surviving production crew member from ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ about the studio browning out all of Burbank one morning early in the production. All the special lighting need for filming the special effect required several large DC generators. Early one morning Lee went out and started flipping the switches to turn on all the generator at once, and the electrical draw was too much for the Burbank electrical grid to handle all at once. After that, the generators were turned on in a very controlled and careful sequence to assure that this brown out never happened again. As we transited the back lot, Laura explained where certain facades where located, where the lagoon was where scenes from “Lt. Robinson Caruso” were filmed, and where the business street façade, which is still used, was as we walked by. As we were coming back around to the campus part of the lot, we stopped at a brick façade building which turned out to be the back of the Ink & Paint Department. Laura note that the stairs on our right lead to a small deck on top for the Ink & Paint girls, which was nowhere near as elaborate as the penthouse on the building next door.

Next we went into the Frank G. Wells building. This is the build which houses the Archives and Dave Smith, and was named for the former President & COO of the company during the early half of Michal Eisner’s tenure as Chairman of the Board & CEO. We got the opportunity to meet with Dave Smith, the Founder and Director of Walt Disney Archives. Dave Smith is probably the primary individual responsible for saving the Disney history, along with much of Hollywood, for, before him, not much attention was paid by any of the studios to the preservation of their history. After the Walt Disney Archives were created in 1970, many other studio approached Dave for advice on how they too could accomplish what he had done for Disney. Laura, earlier in the tour, told us of Dave being given a key to every door on the lot when he started with Disney, and being told go anywhere you want to explore for historical treasures. Can you imagine that ‘Treasure Hunt?’ Laura relayed a story of Dave one day entering the janitor’s closet in the animation and finding a very significant artifact. Upon ask the janitor where he had obtained the item, he was told he, the janitor, had found it lying around somewhere and just put it in his little closet here. Dave thanked the janitor for his contribution to the Archive. That artifact was the snow global Julie Andrew was holding while singing ‘Feed the Birds’ in “Mary Poppins.” WOW!!! During our stay with Dave, he showed us some other special artifact from the Archive. We were treated to a view of the Postcard announcing Opening Day, along with a glue-on parking pass for the event. We got to see the first ever ticket brought for entrance into Disneyland on July 18th 1955. The first day the Park was actually open to the public. That first ticket was purchase by, none other than, Roy O. Disney, Walt’s older Brother and business partner. Dave even brought out one the 32 Oscar awarded to Walt Disney over the years. The Oscar is a deceptively heavy little statue.

Now on to Legends Plaza: When the company started the Legends program in 1987, Fred MacMurray was the first and singular inductee. The last class of inductees was honored at the D23 Expo last year, and having been there, I can tell you that it was a blast. The plaza is open in the center, with two hallways of two columns on either side. Well, not really columns, as they are square in order to make hanging the Legends plaques easier, at least that’s my guess. Inductees entering posthumously receive plaques with their names on them. Living inductees place their hands in cement and sign their plaques, much like the ceremonies that take place Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Even to the point that at the Walt Disney Studio, they originally placed these concrete slabs on the sidewalk outside the studio theater. Even now, you can see the sidewalk in front of the theater marked off in a very precise grid of squares matching the size of the plaques. After discovering that the plaques were beginning to wear with the weather and traffic over them, Legends Plaza was built. I was able to find some of my favorite legends like Julie Andrews and The Sherman Brothers. Luckily for me, all three are on the same pillar right next to each other. Ward Kimball, ever the comic, has six fingers on each hand, and I found one of my all time favorite legends and comedic heros, inducted last year at the D23 Expo, Robin Williams. In the center of the Plaza, at one end is the Blaine Gibson “Partners” statue of Walt and Mickey. You can find that statue in the Hub at Disneyland and The Magic kingdom, and a miniature version of it sitting on my desk at work. Off on the right side about half way done is a copy of the statue that sits in the square in Main Street U.S.A. at The Magic Kingdom – Roy O. Disney sitting on a park bench with Minnie Mouse. Roy is one of the unsung heroes of the Disney Story and I’ll be writing more about that as we proceed. At the opposite end of the plaza from the “Partners” statue is a statue sized version of Disney Legends award that is given to each year’s group of inductees. I copied the following from the Disney Legends website to make sure I got it right:

  • The Disney Legends award has three distinct elements that characterize the contributions made by each talented recipient.
  • The Spiral ... stands for imagination, the power of an idea.
  • The Hand ... holds the gifts of skill, discipline and craftsmanship.
  • The Wand and the Star ... represent magic: the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.
As we were entering the Plaza, the lovely Laura, told us to look on the Award for a hidden Mickey of sorts. She said it is not really Mickey, but it is a mouse, and asked us to see if we knew who? I was most determine to find this hidden surprise and was one of only two in our group to succeed, and let Laura know. I’m not going to reveal it here, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who may be planning on attending a tour in the future. However, if you just can’t wait, email me, and I may divulge my little secret.

As we exited Legends Plaza, we were ushered into the Rotunda of the Team Disney building. This build is visible from the front gate of the studio, may have seen it in pictures. The very top dormer of the top floor is being held up by Dopey, and the next floor down, by all the rest of the dwarves. It was in the rotunda where Laura made, for me, one of the more profound statements of the tour. As I wrote earlier, I think Roy O. Disney is one of the unsung Heroes of the Disney story, and Laura talked briefly of Roy’s real importance in the success of the company. She, like me, believes that, while Walt was undoubtedly the creative force behind the Walt Disney Company’s success, it was Roy’s business genius that made sure the company had the resources to allow Walt’s creative genius to flourish. If you’d like to find out more, the first link one my books list is a good place to start.

I could probably go now for many more paragraphs about the tour and studio, and have probably gone on now for too many. So in an effort not to bore you, I am going to close this blogisode for now with this final thought on our tour – AWESOME, Absolutely AWESOME!
Should also probably note that there is a studio down the street that is just as AWESOME, and which I have had the opportunity to receive a personal tour. Thanks Deb!

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Walt Reunited with another Old Friend

Originally posted August 18, 2010

It is with great sadness that I report to you that we have lost another Legend in the Disney Community, and Walt has reunited with another old friend. On Sunday August 15th, Harrison “Buzz” Price passed away at the age of 89.

Buzz was a research economist for Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and later founded Economics Research Associates (ERA). Buzz worked with Walt and the company on many research projects, but probably his most famous was the study that Walt commissioned in the early 50’s to find the best location for his newest endeavor – Disneyland.

It was just a few weeks ago the we got the chance to listen to Buzz talk, at the Walt Disney Family Museum, about that research project and what it was like working with Walt. Along with Diane Disney Miller and the Greenes, it was a most enjoyable evening, and a great way to start off the Museum’s celebration of Disneyland’s 55th anniversary.

Hearing of Buzz’s passing brought home to me just how important it is to take the opportunities, as they arise, to spend time with the people who are important to us. Everyone who is important in our lives, because you never know, and those who are integral to our interests and hobbies because they can provide insight we may not get any other way. In the case of Disney Legends and particularly those who actually worked for and with Walt, it is especially important in my view, because this is a group of individuals who are getting up there in years and we may not have these opportunities much longer. It is interest and informative to read about their exploits and some very good authors and biographers have capture some of these stories very well, but, there nothing like sitting there enraptured, listening to their personal experiences from their own mouths. I think it gives greater live and depth to our experiences.

So Godspeed Buzz, and Thank You for sharing a little bit of your life with us. I will treasure it always, and I hope you are up there right now, planning that greatest of all theme parks with Walt and the rest of the guys.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Walt becomes a businessman

Originally posted July 8, 2010

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted, but, my family prefers that I bring home a paycheck before indulging my other passions, and events at work and home have transpired to thwart my indulgences. Finally, I am back again at my keyboard.

Since Walt Disney was rejected by the Army because he was underage, he joined the Red Cross with the help of his Mother, and was sent to France for a year to drive an ambulance. Upon his return in 1919 to Kansas City, he had thoughts of becoming an actor or a newsprint artist. Walt’s artistic heart led him toward a career in newsprint drawing either political caricatures or comic strips; however, he was unable to find employment. His brother Roy, now working at a local bank, was able to find him a temporary position at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio where he created ads for newspapers, magazines, and movie theaters, and met Ubbe(Ub) Iwerks.

Having grown up in the household of a man (Elias, Walt’s Dad) who by all accounts fit that entrepreneurial mold, and move his family around a lot because of it, I’ve gotten the impression that Walt was really interested in pursuing the path for his career. However, when Walt’s and Ub’s work expired at Pesman-Rubin leaving them unemployed, they formed Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. Not yet 20 years old, this was Walt’s first foray into a business own his own and probably started him down that entrepreneurial path. A rocky start for this business forced him to leave temporarily to earn money elsewhere. He landed at the Kansas City Film Ad Company later just called Film Ad, where Ub joined him a short time later; being unable to maintain the business he and Walt had started. Doing commercial based on cutout animation there, Walt developed an interest in animation and was able to borrow some equipment from work to do experimental animation at home. After experimenting at home and reading E. G. Lutz’s book on Animated Cartoons, Walt found cel animations much more interesting and decided on that avenue as a career path. After awhile of working during the day at Film Ad and working at night doing experimental animations with the borrowed equipment, Walt decided once again to try his hand at starting a business, this time an animation studio. With the help of Fred Harman, his first employee in his new endeavor, Walt was able to secure a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman to screen their cartoons at his theaters. Laugh-O-Grams was born, and the cartoons were screened as “Newman’s Laugh-O-Grams” becoming quite popular in the Kansas City area. This success of “Newman’s Laugh-O-Grams” landed a Walt a contract to produced 6 cartoon for Pictorial Club’s, Inc. for $11,000. Unfortunately, this company went bankrupt never paying more than the $100 advance. Mired in debt from the added personnel cost to fulfill the new contract, Laugh-O-Grams Studio was forced into bankruptcy. I think it is important to point out here that there are those who claim Laugh-O-Grams failed because Walt was a poor money manager. However, through all the research I’ve done, Laugh-O-Grams failed because Walt’s portfolio of business was insufficient to absorb the losses due the failure or Pictorial Club, Inc. and the personnel added to meet their contract. I think it is an unfair characterization of Walt Disney’s money management skills, and cheap attempt at some to sensationalize their own work. At the time of Laugh-O-Grams failure in 1923, Walt Disney was a mere 22 years old, lack the experienced in the efforts and planning required to run a successful business. If anything he had an abundance of youthful exhuberance, not an uncommon trait at 22.

Meanwhile, brother Roy having been diagnosed with tuberculosis from his service in the Navy, having spent time being treated in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona, was recuperating in a Veterans’ Hospital in west Los Angeles after suffering an relapse after moving to Glendale. This is important because after the failure of Laugh-O-Grams, Walt sold off his few remain assets, bought a train ticket, and head west to Hollywood, setting us up for our next excursion. The start of what is now known as the Walt Disney Company.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Walt Disney the Earliest Years

Originally posted June 22, 2010

As I said in my last post, I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel here; there are plenty of books and the web is plethora of sources for dates, place, and event for Walt’s life. Google ‘Walt Disney’ and you’ll get about 43 million hits. A great jumping off point on the web is Walt Disney - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. From there, you can link in any one of in many directions.

By most accounts that I have read, Walt’s childhood was pretty normal, with the possible exception of few moves that were probably not the norm for most children of that era. There have been comments made by biographers (amateur and professional alike) that Walt’s Father Elias was an abuses man. While some have used Walt’s own comments that his Father was a strict disciplinarian as support for it, I can with no real evidence for this claim. It is my opinion that historical events or accounts are often judged against current standards and therefore interpreted out of context. I am a child of the 1960’s, and even that short time ago, a prevailing attitude was “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” and spankings were not an uncommon occurrence at my home. So, to assume that Elias Disney was an abusive man because he spanked or switched his children is an unfair conclusion. Also commented by biographers is the fact the Elias Disney was a socialist, but, with no real additional clarification. Given the view of socialism, in the USA today, I think that allow us to view Elias in a less than favorable light. I think it’s important to note that much of the progressive movement that exists today can trace its roots back to the early socialist movement in this country. Additionally, Elias Disney exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit, moving from carpenter, to farmer, to business owner, to contractor, not commonly associated with today’s socialist movement. I think it safe to say that Elias Disney was not looking for a hand out, as many claim is the want of current socialist proponents, but rather like most of the time just a fair chance at success. There isn’t a lot written, that I have read so far, about Walt’s relationship with his Mother Flora. While there have been a few negative references about their relationship, I can find nothing to indicate that Walt felt anything but complete adoration for his Mother, to the point that by all that is written, Walt was devastates at his Mother’s death years later.

It appears to me that Walt, and Ruth for that matter, had an ace-in-the-hole in the form of their older brother Roy O. Disney. Roy was almost 8 when Walt was born and Ruth followed about 18 months later. Some may think that Roy got stuck with Walt and Ruth because he was the middle of 5 children and his older brothers left him with the duties of caring for his younger siblings, but, my research would seem to show that Roy doted on Walt and Ruth, and relationship between Roy and Walt became even stronger as they grew into adulthood. We delve into that relationship more deeply later, but, based on the accounts I’ve found, Walt Disney had what would be described, for the time, a fairly normal childhood. He seemed to catch the artistic bug fairly early on, and you can see some of his early art, done for neighbors, at the Walt Disney Family Museum. He was interested enough in art to have taken Saturday classes at the Kansas City Art Institute as young adolescent, and as a freshman in high school was also taking courses at the Chicago Art Institute just before trying and failing to enlist in the Army for World War I.

Next time we’ll start delving into Walt Disney the businessman.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

How I use Disney Resource Material

Originally posted June 17, 2010

I realize that I am taking the chance of losing readership, but this is as much an exercise in flow of consciousness as it is an exploration of Disney, and I think it important that the people following this blog understand how I process information and proceed with interpreting it. That and I have what I like to call ‘intellectual ADD’. Curiosity is a wonderful thing to possess; it is a much more difficult thing to manage. On any given day, my mind floods with fleeting curious thoughts and wants desperately to go chasing each them down their respective rabbit hole. It is a constant challenge to remain focused. I think that may be why I have developed such a fascination with Walt Disney. From all that I have seen so far, He too was a very curious man moving quickly from one idea to the next.

It is, of course, my dreams, that one day this blog will have a huge following. Who does not dream of their 15 minutes of fame? But right now my following is small cadre of close friends, both online and in real life, who are allowing me to abuse them. I do want you all to know how much I appreciate you, and hope not to bore you too much with a lot of superfluous detail. But, I want these thoughts on the record for possible future readers to be able go back to and understand how I choice pursued this endeavor. Again, I think this is something Walt understood and part of the reason we have so much material of his own from which to draw.

So please bear with me as I lay the groundwork, I promise we’ll be getting to the good stuff soon.

I am primarily an observer, and analyst, if you will. I digest as much information as I can, and then try to interpret it. It has been my observation that actions speak louder than words, and in the absence of action you need to read multiple accounts of same events to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Even where we read, hear, or watch Walt’s own accounts of events in his life, we must be mindful that we are getting views that a based on his interpretations and biases of the time and not always completely accurate. There are few historians that do not inflict their own interpretations of event as facts in their works, and even fewer individual accounts of events that are not skewed to some extend to the teller of the story. Hence the real need for multiple accounts. I will also try to include so understanding of the views and social morays of the period that sound events took place. I think we often judge past events based on current standard and as a result taken actions that claim out of context.

There is a vast array of information on Walt Disney’s life and the company he co-founded. I have no intention of recreated those works, but most of it has been very helpful to me in developing my understanding of Walt Disney, the Man, the Myth, and the Company. It is my desire to give you my interpretation of the man, the myth, and the company based on these works. I will not necessarily be citing particular works (except where I find appropriate) in support of my conclusions. I views are based on the totality of the information I have at the moment, and as that information base grows, some views may change. You will be the first to know when that happens.
You will notice a couple of new sidebar sections which will start to provide you with lists of the places I have obtained my information. So today I kick that off by adding a link to The Walt Disney Family Museum as my first “Useful Link.” First because, Diane Disney Miller (Walt’s Daughter) and Richard Benefield (Executive Director) have created a first class museum with in my opinion every bit the experience one would expect at any Disney venue. Second, for anyone interested in Walt Disney, the museum is a cornucopia of artifacts and information not to be missed. You may also want to keep a watch on the website because they have a new about Walt Disney section under construction which will make available more online content. It appears that they plan to cycle in some of the great content developed under guidance of the Greene’s (Richard and Katherine), curators of the online Walt Disney Museum that preceded the brick and mortar (quite literally) museum at The Presidio. I’ve had opportunity to view quite a bit of that content, and it is very well done and both entertaining and informative. We are very fortunate that Walt Disney managed to document so much of his life through voice, video, and the written page. We are also fortunate that so many of the people that worked with Walt have been willing to share their experiences for the record.
I am also putting the museum up as the first and top link because, as I have said, I am a member and not above putting in a plug for place I love.

About the Blogger

Originally posted June 16, 2010

So, I think it’s important to start out with some background information on myself. I believe if you’re taking the time to follow this blog, and I do hope it’s interesting enough for you to continue, you have the right to know a little about me and my motivations behind it.

I was born a poor black child (oh wait that’s Steve Martin’s line). Actually I was born about an hour north of Anaheim (well it was an hour north in 1955) in the sleeping little hamlet of Oxnard about six weeks after Disneyland opened. By age four we were living in the southern part of San Jose or as my Mother liked to call it, “Sun Baked Acres.” My childhood until the age of nine was pretty normal and enjoyable, though I probably wouldn’t have known the difference at that age. I can say however, that the time after nine was anything but idyllic. Okay, truth be told, after age nine my life pretty much went to hell in a hand basket. I did really understand it back then, and probably didn’t fully comprehend it until I started raising kids of my own. But, that is material for a different blog. Living in Northern California, Disney was not a significant part of my young life. I only remember one trip to Disneyland as a teenager. I was told we went when I was about 6 or 7, but I honestly don’t remember it. However, I do remember waiting anxiously for Sunday night and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”, and Tinker Bell. That was really special time for me to escape into a world of fantasy where my pains of the time could not intrude. I think it was around the age of 6 or 7 that my infatuation with Tink developed. Oh yes, and all those years later when Julia Roberts played her in “Hook” did nothing to curb that infatuation. And, there were the few Disney Features that I did get to see. That was pretty much my experience with Disney. As I grew into adulthood, I was still a fan of course, but it wasn’t Disney that was really that important in my life as I struggled to establish myself in the world.
Given my childhood experiencing and the resulting inordinate fear of commitment it created in my life, I married a little later in life than most. I was almost 30 when I got married and 35 before we had our first child. So, that put me into my early 40’s as my daughters reached 5 and 7. They had grown up to that point around the Disney animated features and of course the Disney merchandising juggernaut. I’m sure some will want to comment about my parenting skills, but the Disney animated features available on video were 90 minutes of bliss with two young children in the house. Pam would load up the VCR with Disney movie and the girls would sit there and stare mesmerized by the images on the TV. Pam could get a few things done, and I could grab a few extra winks, as I was working a second job at the time. I can remember a period when Theresa was about 4, every Saturday morning I woke up to “Beauty and the Beast” playing in the VCR. Up until recently I could still recite the dialog without benefit of the movie.

It was in mid 1997 that we were finally in a position that we could take the girls to Disneyland for the first time. It was a bit of a struggle financially, but, we made it work. That is probably to best investment I have ever made, as it seems to be the catalyst that was brought me to this point. For anyone who has not had the opportunity, you have to take a child of about age 5, or so, to Disneyland for the first time. It is an amazing experience! Walking through the tunnel onto Main Street, I was struck by a feeling that I did not understand until the next visit, but, watching my daughters experience the Disney magic for first time was an experience that I will never forget and one of my fondest memories as a father. In particular, watching my youngest daughter Theresa, or T as she has become to us, was a remarkable event. It started with the shuttle bus from the hotel to the park. As we board the bus for our first trip to the park, T asked the driver (a very nice lady) if she was taking us to Disneyland. Upon receiving a big smile and a resounding, “Why yes I am little lady,“ T immediately followed with a big “THANK YOU, Ma’am!” and a hug. I thought the drive and the first couple of rows of passengers were growing to start crying on the spot. Hugs became the currency of the kingdom for that trip. Upon meeting Belle (her favorite Princess then) for the first, I have a picture somewhere of her trying to hug the stuffing out of that poor girl. On the several occasions as she encounter other cast member for whatever reason, there was the “Thank You” followed by a hug. Watching her eyes dart from one sight to the next, wide with wonder, was marvelous. It was at that point that I truly realized that you can witness magic in a child’s eyes, and it was one of the turning points in my life.

It was our next visit to Disneyland four years later; that the stage was set for my journey of exploration. I had been planning a fishing trip in the California Sierra’s for most of the late summer in 2001, after a particularly busy time at work, and then the tragedy of 9/11 struck. As the time approached for my excursion to the mountains, I decided this was not best time for me to be away from my family for any reason. Instead, still needing the time to decompress from a busy work life, my wife and I decided (actually I decided, and she went along) it was time for some family fun. Since we were in a much better position financially, we decided that another trip to Disneyland was in order, and this time we could afford to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. The Saturday before Thanksgiving we were on the road to Anaheim for 4 day at Disneyland. I was unaware of the happenings at Disneyland, so you can imagine my surprise at the changes we saw when we arrived. I was impressed with the changes, but, wary of how it might have affected the Disneyland Park itself.

As we walked through the tunnel from the turnstiles onto Main Street for the first time this trip, I was struck by a familiar and very comforting feeling. I recognized this feeling as the same one I had experienced four years earlier and had not understood at the time, and this time memories I thought long lost began to flood my brain. It was that feeling of youthful exuberance and innocence. I felt like a kid again, for the first time in over 30 years, and it was okay. As I stepped onto Main Street, I realized that I had been given a second chance to truly experience the Disney Magic for the first time. I was seeing Disneyland through the eyes of youth, but with experience to truly appreciate it. One memorable event during this trip was an encounter with Mickey Mouse himself at his house in ToonTown. As I was walking up to Mickey to take a picture, I told him, “You’re shorter then I remember.” Without missing a beat, using a sort of sign language Mickey told me, “You’re taller than I remember.” Even though intellectually I know it’s a kid in a costume, the kid in me was saying, “Wow, Mickey remembers me!” It was at this point that I began understand the true gift and magic Walt Disney bequeathed to us; it is okay to be a child. To put that a little more clearly, while we must all grow up and lose our childishness, we can all keep that child like wonder of world forever, if we want it hard enough. Sometimes we have to go back and search for that kid in those dark recesses of our minds.

So now I am on a quest to understand the man, or more rightfully the two men that created the magic, and built the company entrusted to help it live on for all of us.
Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

Yes its another Disney Blog

Originally posted June 15, 2010

I know there are 100's if not 1000's of blog sites dedicated to Walt Disney, the man, the myth, and the company, not to mention the 100's of books on the subject(s). I know, I've read several and have several dozen still on my reading list.

I am an unabashed fan of the Disney experience, and I will write more about that in a future post. To help support that claim; I am a charter D23 member, a Disney Vacation Club Member(since 2008), and Disneyland Annual Pass holder, and a member of the Walt Disney Family Museum at The Presido in San Francisco. There are many different Disney artifacts around my house, and sitting in front of me now is a miniature of the Blaine Gibson Partners statue. I also have accounts on several of the many Disney Fan Sites. Oh yeah, and my name is Walt too, though I was not named after Walter E. Disney. That honor goes to another great Walt in my life, my Grandfather - Walter E. Miller.

I named this blog it Disney History - My Journey of Discovery, because I have moved it from another blog that became embroiled in a petty little controversy.  This blog will be dedicated to my seach for a better understanding of the Disney story, and will not be cluttered with any other content.

So why a Disney blog?

Well, as I was enjoying the Disney experience with my family (parks, movies, merchandise, et al), I began to develop a fascination for the man that created all this enjoyment in my life. I began to explore the Disney legacy and became even more intrigued, and began to delve deeper into the story of Walt Disney. While I guess I shouldn't have been, I was amazed that the amount of content available on the web. So I've been learning about Walt Disney for about the last 5 year. But, if you ask my wife, she'll probably tell you it been more of an obsession, and she'd be right.
During a recent return trip from a Walt Disney Studios D23 event that I attended with my oldest daughter, I realized that I had amassed a pretty good collection of information on Walt Disney - the man and myth, but that I didn't really know that much about the company he co-founded or the struggles that he went through. I also discovered I knew little about the company's triumphs and struggles since his passing. I have also found it interesting as I have interact with fans, both in person and online, the depth of passion both positive and negative that many people feel for this company today. There is also, as with any popular topic, a great deal of misinformation and misconception which filters through our society on the subject.

I am going to attempt to provide you with the benefits of my study of the Disney legacy, accompanied by my perspectives of people, places, and events along the way. I do not know what will ultimately happen with this material, but, I will always value the input and feedback from individuals more knowledgeable then myself.

I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.

Your comments or questions are always welcome. If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at