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Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Latest Mouse-troversy

I’ve been away for awhile, working on other endeavors, but, there is a new Mouse-trovery in Mickey’s kingdom and I had to comment.

Seems that when the newest Muppet Movie release the opening credits just showed the Disney Castle with Disney underneath.  No Walt Disney Pictures, just Disney, in that unmistakable Disney script.  Of course, with Kermit and Monster at the bottom of the screen, there wasn’t the usual space available.  That aside…   The controversy seems to revolve around the removal of “Walt” and “Pictures” from the studio vanity card – the term I think I saw used – that flashes up on the screen at the beginning of the film. 

The root definition of fan truly applied to most Disney Fans and most particularly many Walt Disney Fans.  That root is fanatic and many are just that, fanatical.  Upon seeing this new vanity card graphic rumors immediately began circulating that that the clandestine management team at The Walt Disney Company are trying to excise all memory of Walt from the collective memories of both company and public.

Jim Hill has an interesting article over at Jim Hill Media talking about some of the details of this change.  I will only add…  If TWC is shortening the name, on the splash graphics on its movies, so what?  What is the first thing you think of when you see the name Disney?  For me, as I believe most people, it is Walt Disney.  In my opinion, to excise Walt’s memory from the Company, you’d have to remove more than just his first name.  I tend agree with some of the other assessment that this really has more to do with the branding of the content being delivered today’s new media environment.  With the advent of tables and smartphones, more media is being delivered to devices with smaller screen real estate.  You can make the Disney name bigger on the screen in this environment.  Besides, I might argue that just seeing that Castle on screen invokes images and memories of Walt Disney.

But there is something else to consider… We should all remember, it was not Walt’s idea or choice to rename The DisneyBrothers Studio to Walt Disney Productions…  That was Brother Roy’s choice, in recognition for the company’s creative force, his brother Walt, as was the choice to call Walt’s DisneyWorld, Walt Disney World, again in recognition of its creative founder.  Warner Brothers notwithstanding, I don’t think Walt would have cared if Roy decided to call the company Acme.  Boy would that have messed with the coyote’s mind.  J  Walt Disney, like his character – Peter Pan, was always much more interested in the next great adventure, not memories of past journeys.  Which is what I think is at the base, consciously or not, of our draw to him.  

There are people out there who have researched and/or know Walt Disney far better than I, but from everything I have learn about Walt, over the last few of years, he does not come across as a man all the believing in his own self importance.  He did what he did because he enjoyed it, and believed that others would as well.  He was right, and probably far beyond even his own wildest dreams.

It is an amazing testament to the Man – Walt Disney that his fans take such umbrage at trivial changes in the company he founded, however let us honor the Man by remembering him as a real man he was, not the icon and myth he’s become through the company he founded.  We have the Walt Disney Family Museum to continue the legacy of the man – Walt Disney.  And, even if there was the slightest chance that some, at The Walt Disney Company, were covertly planning the excise of Walt’s memory from the collective minds of all, how epic a fail would that be witness? 

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

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