Live Blog: “American Experience: Walt Disney, Part 1”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/walt-disney/

Ok, ready for this fairly-well publicized Walt Disney documentary.

  • Ugh, Neal Gabler.
  • Always amazes me, these people who have such a strong drive to do something from such a young age.  Jim Henson sounds like he was the same way.
  • Watching how Walt operated in his early years of Laugh-O-Gram, reminds me of that scene in “Music Man,” when Harold Hill is getting hunted down for scamming the townspeople towards the end, and Ronny Howard asks him if there was ever going to be a band, and Robert Preston says “I always think there’s going to be a band.”
  • Roy is such a generally unsung hero.
  • Ub Iwerks is an unbelievable genius.  It’s so unlikely that Walt would have lucked into working with him from the beginning, it almost gives the whole thing an air of destiny.
  • Wow, that was a quick jump from Ub to Lillian.
  • Now again, this makes it seem like some sort of unilateral-Roy-squelching measure that Walt takes on renaming the studio.  It’s the same thing they portrayed in that small musical that was made about Walt a couple years ago, but I have never heard or read of anything that implied that Roy wasn’t just as much a proponent of the idea as Walt.
  • Ugh.  F’ing Mintz.
  • Strange to put the whole Marceline segment during the train ride back from New York.
  • Interesting that they’re not going with the usual story of Walt coming up with Mickey on the train ride back.
  • I’m not totally sure I tend to think of Mickey as a big rebel figure.
  • Man, I want that $3.95 watch.
  • I wonder why they didn’t get Julie Andrews to narrate this, like with “One Man’s Dream.”
  • But maybe they didn’t want it to seem like a “Disney Production.”
  • An uncredited Marge Champion.
  • I can never figure out how Roy did all this intricate financial management with like a high-school level education.
  • All these years later, and “Snow White” still makes the majority of animated features out there look like two cents.
  • The Evil Queen design is so great.  Archetypal.
  • One of my favorite Walt quotes about this time period runs something like “I didn’t know if people would go to watch an animated feature, but what I did know, was that no one would go to see a bad one.”
  • This always seems like probably the single time in his life where he has a completely unadulterated success.  All those failures and bankruptcies and the years of people telling him he was crazy, and for this one moment in time, everyone liked what he did.
  • Well, if he was waiting for Hollywood to take animation seriously, he’d be waiting still.
  • Walt was such a great storyman.
  • He made his studios air conditioned and 75 years later, I have to spend the day in a Coffee Bean and Tea so as not to die in the heat.
  • Ok, I’m not totally sold that this is underwater photography, but it doesn’t detract from the amazing art “Pinocchio” featured.
  • Ok, THAT’s a better eye drawing than you’ll see in any modern-day feature.
  • Wow, that scene where Lampwick turns into a donkey is pretty horrifying.
  • That’s the thing with Old School Disney films.  You’d be watching along thinking “well that’s pretty.  Look at that, that’s cute, and GOOD LORD, WHAT’S HAPPENING, HOLY MOTHER OF”
  • Ah.  Always a good time when the gatekeepers come in to tell you you’re enjoying their favorite thing wrong.
  • So quaint now that they were agitated at Walt making 5x more than some of his offices.  How many times more do we think Trump makes compared to his lowest paid employees?
  • It paints a fairly unflattering portrait of Disney as far as his employees go, but it’s not hard to see where his viewpoints came from.  He had risen from abject poverty and worked all his life to get to where he was, so the idea that other people wanted money without having done the same was probably maddening.
  • Well that was kind of a down point to end on.
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