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Monday, January 9, 2012

Walt and the Promise of Progress City

I know I said my next post would be on animation, but I’ve just finished a new tome on Walt Disney. So…

It is a testament to the man – Walt Disney, and how many lives he truly touched, that 45 years later authors and enthusiasts can still find subject matter to write about him.  It is not uncommon that the subject matter is a rehash of events and anecdotes already known with a slightly different spin.  I can appreciate that, as it is pretty much what I do here, and still awaiting the discovery of that one tidbit no one else knows.  Maybe someday??? 

But, every now and then I find something that has an angle I never anticipated, or author with an unexpected talent… WALT AND THE PROMISE OF Progress City is just such a book, and Sam Gennawey is just such as author.  While Sam is an urban planner by profession, he demonstrate the talents on an historian, educator, and philosopher, all wrapped in the soul of an artist, poet and storyteller.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, urban planning (done right) is an art form unto itself, not all that recognized by those of us in our rush around never see what is right in front of us worlds. 

Sam weaves a true life adventure of Walt’s life through the lens of an urban designer; from his mastery of the storytelling with animation, to his unique ideas on building an amazing living environment – EPCOT.  Not the Epcot we know today as a theme park in Florida, but the EPCOT (Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow) of Walt’s dreams.  A place where people would live, work, and play together in a city environment demonstrating the very latest in technology and human ingenuity.  The pages of this journey are spun as well as any storyteller, told with a great balance of fact, anecdote, and every page imaginatively entertaining and understandable by both expert and novice.  I easily see this book easily as a text in a class on architecture or urban planning as it would fit into a writing course.

For the Disney fan just developing and interest or the Disney fan searching for a deeper understanding of the man – Walt Disney, this is a must read addition to any Disney collection.  I know I'm glad it is in mine, and I highly recommend it.

And for anyone interested, Sam will be at the Walt Disney Family Museum on January 21st for a discussion with former Disney Company CEO, and one of the Museum Founders, Ron Miller.  Also joining the discussion will be Architect, David Price.  They will be discussing one of Walt Disney's lesser projects, propably because it never got created - Mineral King.  I know I’m looking forward to this session.

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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