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View Full Version : Working for Walt Disney (was he a tyrant?)


moonraker
06-18-09, 06:10 PM
As I'm making my way through the Disney animated features, I'm finding the "making of" features especially fascinating. In particular, I'm somewhat surprised to learn how many of the animators on his staff had serious "falling outs" with Walt.

For JUNGLE BOOK, the "making of" feature details how long-time and highly respected storyboard man Bill Peet had a falling out with Walt and left (or was forced to leave) the company. Bill had apparently been a major force behind many of the previous releases. Hard to believe Walt would want someone of his talents to leave. Maybe it was Bill's fault, or maybe Walt's. But it turns out this wasn't an isolated case.

For LADY AND THE TRAMP, the "making of" details how one of the disney animators (I forget his name at the moment) really came up with the original story, even going so far as to storyboard most of it out. In fact, the character of "Lady" was based upon his own personal pet cocker spaniel. But again, this person had a "falling out" with Walt and left (or was forced to leave) the company. Then, in a surprising (to me) move, Walt hired some book author to officially write a "Lady and the Tramp" novel which he then later claimed the animated feature was based on. This was a deliberate effort to deny credit to the former Disney animator who was truly the founder of this one. Wow -- it really comes across as an almost malicious move by Walt.

For 101 DALMATIONS, the "making of" details how Walt apparently hated the look of the film and blamed one of the lead animators (again, I forget his name). But apparently Walt held a very long grudge against this guy, because in the feature the guy is interviewed on camera and he describes how one day, many years later, Walt visited him and gave him a look that basically said "I forgive you". The guy explains that Walt never said a word, but that he knew he had been forgiven by the look Walt gave him. This was like 2 weeks before Walt passed away. So between the release of Dalamations and two weeks before Walt's passing, he apparently held a grudge against this guy and this poor guy apparently felt really bad about it the whole time.

Anyway.... I find all of this fascinating because whenever you see Walt on camera he comes across as a very kind, polite, likeable, friendly, gentle person. But these "making of" features seem to reveal that he might have been somewhat of a tryant to work for!

Granted, it was his company and it's his name on the final product. And of course he's the boss. But the animators he had working for him on those early classic features were amazingly talented artists and storytellers -- and deserved to be treated with a lot of respect IMO.

Anyone know if a biography/documentary was ever made about Walt himself? I'm wondering if his public image wasn't a true picture of the man, and if in reality he might have been a very difficult person to work for.

NoirFan
06-18-09, 07:05 PM
I'm halfway through Neal Gabler's mammoth, exhaustive Walt Disney bio, The Triumph of the American Imagination, and the general sentiment seems to be that although Disney could be an extremely difficult taskmaster, he cared deeply for all of his employees, and wasn't asking anything of them that he wouldn't do himself. He worked tirelessly around the clock, and put all of his profits back into the company. It's an excellent read, and highly recommended for anyone with any interest in Disney - the man or the company.

<a href="http://s226.photobucket.com/albums/dd114/besh1/?action=view&current=412124650_afe037d830_o.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd114/besh1/412124650_afe037d830_o.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Mabuse
06-18-09, 07:09 PM
Yes, he was a tyrant to a degree. Like all H'wood producers of his time he was controlling, manipulative, machavelian, and made many enemies. Just how much of a tyrant is controversial. He made many great friends and there are people who sung his praises to their graves (and some, like Richard Sherman, who are still alive). There have been scathing biographies that wiped their ass with his legacy, there have been kind biographies, there have been authorized biographies by the Disney company that paint him as a saint. Like so many figures of the 20th century he was a bit like Citizen Kane, everyone knew him, but he wasn't really "known" or understood by anyone.

There has been a documentary made by the Disney company that is interesting, but simplified and biased toward the happy.

Hokeyboy
06-19-09, 10:09 AM
I'm halfway through Neal Gabler's mammoth, exhaustive Walt Disney bio, The Triumph of the American Imagination, and the general sentiment seems to be that although Disney could be an extremely difficult taskmaster, he cared deeply for all of his employees, and wasn't asking anything of them that he wouldn't do himself. He worked tirelessly around the clock, and put all of his profits back into the company. It's an excellent read, and highly recommended for anyone with any interest in Disney - the man or the company.

<a href="http://s226.photobucket.com/albums/dd114/besh1/?action=view&current=412124650_afe037d830_o.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd114/besh1/412124650_afe037d830_o.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
:thumbsup: This book is a MUST read. It expertly charts the transition of Disney as consummate creative artist/commitment to quality-phobe to the perception of Disney as safe, homogenized, wrinkle-free, unchallenging family entertainment. An amazing insight into perhaps the greatest creative-meets-commercial juggernaut of the 20th Century.

Ash Ketchum
06-19-09, 10:52 AM
I recommend Richard Schickel's "The Disney Version," a critical biography that was started while Disney was still alive.

I'd advise you to look up the animators' strike in the early '40s. It was quite a bitter fight and a number of Disney animators left and went on to start up UPA a few years later, which became a major competitor of Disney's, in terms of animated shorts, in the 1950s, particularly at Oscar time. Disney had an alarmingly paternal attitude toward his employees and when they struck, he took it as a personal affront. He later blamed the strike on communists and was one of the "friendly" witnesses before HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) in October 1947, along with other studio heads and Hollywood right-wingers. (These were the hearings that gave us the infamous Hollywood Ten or "Unfriendly Ten," who would become the first victims of the Hollywood blacklist.)

The great thing about Warner's cartoon studio is that there was no "Disney" commanding it. Leon Schlesinger was just a businessman who had an uncanny knack for bringing the right people together and letting them turn out hilarious cartoons. How else could we have gotten Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett? Under Disney, these talents would never have emerged. To get a sense of Schlesinger check out Friz Freleng's Looney Tune, "You Ought to Be in Pictures," from 1940. It places Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in the live-action Warner Bros. studio and even has Schlesinger in some very clever scenes as himself. He's clearly being directed by Freleng. Disney would never have let himself be used that way by one of his directors. When he appeared in front of the camera it was to be "Disney." He called the shots.

I have a lot more to say about Disney, but it could get really complicated and angry, so I'll save it for another thread, another day.

bluetoast
06-19-09, 12:07 PM
Bill Peet's autobiography had a few stories about Walt being a mean guy. He didn't leave Disney on friendly terms.

Hokeyboy
06-19-09, 12:12 PM
After the strike, Disney Studios was never the same again. World War II already took a huge chunk out of their animation output and quality, and the strike was THE most mitigating factor that pushed Walt into doing more live action films, true nature films, shorts, and eventually television and the theme parks.

My favorite tactic of the organizers was to throw around charges of "antisemitism" at Disney in order to rally their troops and garner sympathy (many Disney employees were Jewish, not to mention rival studio execs and employees), a label Disney was never able to shake unto this day. And yet he was awarded the 1955 B'Nai Brith Man of the Year. Go figure.

Disney was no saint in that regard (he often referred to the Sherman Brothers as "my two Jew songwriters") but he was no more prejudiced then any other man in his position during the era. And as far as Disney "commanding" his studio -- no argument there, but the quality, technical innovations, emphasis on storytelling and affective "gags", and so forth were second-to-none during their "golden" era (all the way from the early black-and-whites through "Dumbo").

No animation studio, before or since, has reached the technical and creative brilliance of "Fantasia", nor would they even attempt it. I still find it remarkable that the movie is almost 70 years old.

Mondo Kane
06-19-09, 12:26 PM
I still find it remarkable that the movie is almost 70 years old.

But if the centaur-stereotypes were left in, you could definetly tell it was 70 years old.

Ash Ketchum
06-19-09, 12:39 PM
After the strike, Disney Studios was never the same again. World War II already took a huge chunk out of their animation output and quality, and the strike was THE most mitigating factor that pushed Walt into doing more live action films, true nature films, shorts, and eventually television and the theme parks.

My favorite tactic of the organizers was to throw around charges of "antisemitism" at Disney in order to rally their troops and garner sympathy (many Disney employees were Jewish, not to mention rival studio execs and employees), a label Disney was never able to shake unto this day. And yet he was awarded the 1955 B'Nai Brith Man of the Year. Go figure.

Disney was no saint in that regard (he often referred to the Sherman Brothers as "my two Jew songwriters") but he was no more prejudiced then any other man in his position during the era. And as far as Disney "commanding" his studio -- no argument there, but the quality, technical innovations, emphasis on storytelling and affective "gags", and so forth were second-to-none during their "golden" era (all the way from the early black-and-whites through "Dumbo").

No animation studio, before or since, has reached the technical and creative brilliance of "Fantasia", nor would they even attempt it. I still find it remarkable that the movie is almost 70 years old.


Good points. Disney definitely peaked in the late '30s-to-early '40s. I consider BAMBI his best, followed by SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA and DUMBO. Nothing in the postwar years even comes close.

PopcornTreeCt
06-19-09, 12:54 PM
I think I'm going to check out that Walt Disney book, posted above.

I still don't get Fantasia.

Hokeyboy
06-19-09, 01:42 PM
I had little patience for "Fantasia" growing up. As a kid, I loved "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" but the rest of the movie put me to sleep. Even in college, where watching "Fantasia" while "under the influence" was something of a rage, I still didn't get it. I was mostly bored.

Then about 12 years ago or so, after getting more and more into classic animation, I gave Fantasia another whirl, and I was riveted. The movie is such a brilliant piece of imagination and artistry, a hand-crafted labor of love that combines 1940s state-of-the-art filmmaking with afffectionate personal and evocative flairs.

It was also a flop at first (although eventually very profitable) and received mixed critical reviews. No one knew quite what to make of it. Too highbrow for the masses, too lowbrow for the intelligentsia. Yet many view it as the pinnacle of Walt's creative drive and vision. Personally, I am blown away by the movie and easily put it in my Top 20 movies of all time, definitely in the Top 15 and maybe even Top 10. It's a film that at first is easier to appreciate than "love", but over time I've grown to love it equally.

Although it's not my favorite Disney animated film; that's still "Dumbo". I *sniff* love that Baby Elephant... and anyone who isn't moved to tears during the "Baby Mine" sequence is worse than Pol Pot. :mad:

bluetoast
06-19-09, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the tip, just ordered the book.

Michael Corvin
06-19-09, 02:04 PM
I had little patience for "Fantasia" growing up. As a kid, I loved "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" but the rest of the movie put me to sleep. Even in college, where watching "Fantasia" while "under the influence" was something of a rage, I still didn't get it. I was mostly bored.

Then about 12 years ago or so, after getting more and more into classic animation, I gave Fantasia another whirl, and I was riveted. The movie is such a brilliant piece of imagination and artistry, a hand-crafted labor of love that combines 1940s state-of-the-art filmmaking with afffectionate personal and evocative flairs.

It's a film that at first is easier to appreciate than "love", but over time I've grown to love it equally.


Same here. It was a snoozefest growing up but at some point it just clicked. It's a beautiful film. I know 2000 was a pet project of Roy's but I hope the concept doesn't fall by the wayside. I'd like to see Lasseter give us another one in a few years.

moonraker
06-19-09, 03:28 PM
Good points. Disney definitely peaked in the late '30s-to-early '40s. I consider BAMBI his best, followed by SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA and DUMBO. Nothing in the postwar years even comes close.

BAMBI is also my very favorite as well, and I consider it to be a true motion picture masterpiece. It's absolutely timeless.

However, I disagree about your statement that nothing in the postwar years even comes close. In second place for me so far (I'm still in the process of viewing them all) is LADY AND THE TRAMP. The animators absolutely nailed the early scenes with Lady as a puppy, as anyone who has owned a puppy will recognize. The film also tugs at the heart, as I felt genuinely sad for Lady as her owners begin to pay less attention to her as they prepare for the arrival of their baby. And the tears were getting ready to flow near the very end when it appears that one of the main characters has died. This scene is brilliantly, tenderly, and effectively done. I assume that it was a human voice actor who performs Scotty's wail, but it sure sounds like a real dog is genuinely mourning the loss of a friend. In fact, I think the film would have been even stronger had the character actually died. But I can understand why they chose not to do that.

PopcornTreeCt
06-20-09, 02:44 AM
BAMBI is also my very favorite as well, and I consider it to be a true motion picture masterpiece. It's absolutely timeless.

However, I disagree about your statement that nothing in the postwar years even comes close. In second place for me so far (I'm still in the process of viewing them all) is LADY AND THE TRAMP. The animators absolutely nailed the early scenes with Lady as a puppy, as anyone who has owned a puppy will recognize. The film also tugs at the heart, as I felt genuinely sad for Lady as her owners begin to pay less attention to her as they prepare for the arrival of their baby. And the tears were getting ready to flow near the very end when it appears that one of the main characters has died. This scene is brilliantly, tenderly, and effectively done. I assume that it was a human voice actor who performs Scotty's wail, but it sure sounds like a real dog is genuinely mourning the loss of a friend. In fact, I think the film would have been even stronger had the character actually died. But I can understand why they chose not to do that.

Well said. Lady and the Tramp was always a favorite of mine.

I grew up on the era of The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King --an era of incredible output, certainly not an equivalent to the 'golden years' there's a peculiar charm of those classic movies that cannot ever be replicated. But I also believe that those movies released between 1989 through 1994 (minus The Rescuers Down Under, mind you) certainly deserve to be recognized in a conversation about the 'best' animated films.

Terrell
06-20-09, 05:00 PM
I'm sure some of these books are a good read. But to answer the op's question, I'm not sure why it matters what kind of person or employer he was considering he's been dead for almost 40 years.

Ash Ketchum
06-20-09, 07:21 PM
I'm sure some of these books are a good read. But to answer the op's question, I'm not sure why it matters what kind of person or employer he was considering he's been dead for almost 40 years.

Yeah, who cares what kind of president Lincoln was? Aren't we, like, so over the Civil War? And who cares what Hitler did? That was 65 years ago, which is practically forever. Why does everyone keep raggin' on the poor guy? Forgive and forget, dude.

:helpme:

islandclaws
06-20-09, 08:22 PM
:rotfl:

Hokeyboy
06-20-09, 08:49 PM
Such is the legacy of the Speidi Generation. :(

Kurtie Dee
06-20-09, 11:51 PM
I'm sure some of these books are a good read. But to answer the op's question, I'm not sure why it matters what kind of person or employer he was considering he's been dead for almost 40 years.

Plus, this doesn't actually answer the OP's question ...

DarkestPhoenix
06-21-09, 09:25 AM
Wah-? No mention of my favorite, Robin Hood?!?

Screw you guys!

Actually, it was nice to hear a shout-out to Bill Peet. He wrote my favorite children's book, the Whingdingdilly.

http://niconiko.kweto.com/library_books/images/The%20whindingdilly.jpg

moonraker
06-21-09, 12:36 PM
Wah-? No mention of my favorite, Robin Hood?!?

Screw you guys!



LOL! Actually, I wrote up a separate post a few weeks back on how much I enjoyed Robin Hood. I'm currently making my way, more or less in chronological order, through all of the Disney animated releases. And in terms of just pure fun, Robin Hood ranks among the very top for me. I'm surprised it doesn't get more praise. This one has more replay value for me than almost any other that I've seen so far. It's just fun and entertaining from start to finish.

So far, the only ones that I've been truly disappointed in were Alice in Wonderland and Jungle Book. The latter was especially disappointing as it tends to receive a decent amount of praise. But I thought it was very weak, and Robin Hood easily trumps it.

Living Deadpan
06-22-09, 04:05 AM
Here's a very honest bio, great reading: http://www.***********/library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Excerpt: Walt was not an easy man to work for. At night, he would go through employee desks to check their work and count the number of pens. It was studio policy not to pay animators for the time they spent not drawing. They had to punch out whenever they got up to use the bathroom, get a drink of water, or even sharpen a pencil. If that weren't enough, the animators who produced the cartoons never received screen credit. The only name audiences ever saw was Walt Disney's, even though he hadn't so much as picked up a sketchbook since 1930.

Ash Ketchum
06-22-09, 06:03 AM
Here's a very honest bio, great reading: http://www.***********/library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Excerpt:

That link doesn't take us anywhere.

Anyway, just for the record, the animators do get credit on the Disney features. I'm not sure about the shorts, I'll have to pop a disc in and check. They got credit on other studios' cartoon shorts, e.g. MGM and WB.

Michael Corvin
06-22-09, 06:52 AM
LOL! Actually, I wrote up a separate post a few weeks back on how much I enjoyed Robin Hood. I'm currently making my way, more or less in chronological order, through all of the Disney animated releases. And in terms of just pure fun, Robin Hood ranks among the very top for me. I'm surprised it doesn't get more praise. This one has more replay value for me than almost any other that I've seen so far. It's just fun and entertaining from start to finish.

So far, the only ones that I've been truly disappointed in were Alice in Wonderland and Jungle Book. The latter was especially disappointing as it tends to receive a decent amount of praise. But I thought it was very weak, and Robin Hood easily trumps it.

This might put a different perspective on Robin Hood for you:
<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://www.collegehumor.com/moogaloop/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1906578&fullscreen=1" width="480" height="360" ><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"/><param name="wmode" value="transparent"/><param name="AllowScriptAccess" value="always"/><param name="movie" quality="best" value="http://www.collegehumor.com/moogaloop/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1906578&fullscreen=1"/><embed src="http://www.collegehumor.com/moogaloop/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1906578&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="480" height="360" allowScriptAccess="always"></embed></object><div style="padding:5px 0; text-align:center; width:480px;">Watch <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1906578">Disney Templates</a> and more <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/videos" >funny videos</a> on <a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/">CollegeHumor</a></div>

Groucho
06-22-09, 09:59 AM
What's with the censored link?

moonraker
06-22-09, 12:28 PM
This might put a different perspective on Robin Hood for you:



It's mentioned in one of the special features of the 101 Dalmations 2-disc set that the Maid Marion dancing sequence in Robin Hood was a deliberate homage to the dancing sequence in Snow White. A nice little nod to the classic, actually.

And while it also appears that other sequences in Robin Hood were modeled after sequences from Aristocats and Jungle Book, the film as a whole just comes together in a more entertaining way for me.

moonraker
06-22-09, 12:35 PM
Walt was not an easy man to work for. At night, he would go through employee desks to check their work and count the number of pens.



That's something Mr. Burns from the Simpsons would do!

DarkestPhoenix
06-22-09, 12:35 PM
Yeah, and a rooster that sings can't be topped.

I still sing "Every town" occasionally when I'm feeling blue. :D

shaun3000
06-22-09, 12:55 PM
What's with the censored link?
http://www.google.com/search?q=library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Michael Corvin
06-22-09, 01:56 PM
It's mentioned in one of the special features of the 101 Dalmations 2-disc set that the Maid Marion dancing sequence in Robin Hood was a deliberate homage to the dancing sequence in Snow White. A nice little nod to the classic, actually.

I didn't know that. That's kinda cool then. I'm not sure about the Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book & Aristocats bits though.

inri222
06-22-09, 02:07 PM
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1623/was-walt-disney-a-fascist

.......................In 1933, the German American Bund was founded by Fritz Kuhn. Kuhn was evidently quite a character--he had met Hitler in the early thirties and reportedly was profoundly loathed by the Nazi leader. An association of German immigrants to America, the Bund had a definite pro-Nazi slant. Disney animator Art Babbitt claimed his boss had a strong interest in, if not outright sympathy for, the Bund:

In the immediate years before we entered the War there was a small, but fiercely loyal, I suppose legal, following of the Nazi party . . . There were open meetings, anybody could attend and I wanted to see what was going on myself. On more than one occasion I observed Walt Disney and [Disney's lawyer] Gunther Lessing there, along with a lot of prominent Nazi-afflicted Hollywood personalities. Disney was going to meetings all the time.

The German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose documentaries in the mid-30s had helped to glorify the Nazis, claimed that "after Kristallnacht [1938], she approached every studio in Hollywood looking for work. No studio head would even screen her movies except Walt Disney. He told her he admired her work but if it became known that he was considering hiring her, it would damage his reputation."

For the most part Disney doesn't appear to have had strong political views--his politics seemed to turn on whatever it took to keep his studio going. It's likely his interest in the German American Bund sprang from a desire to forge relationships with Germany for possible film distribution there. On the other hand, there was a lot of antisemitic feeling in the Disney studio. While no one can specifically attribute bias to Disney himself, Jewish people were ready fodder for the animators' gags and Disney approved every scene in every short the studio made. In one scene in the original version of "The Three Little Pigs," the Big Bad Wolf comes to the door dressed as a stereotypical Jewish peddler. Disney changed the scene after complaints from Jewish groups. They didn't catch them all, though. In the short "The Opry House" Mickey Mouse is seen dressed and dancing as a Hasidic Jew.

Living Deadpan
06-23-09, 12:08 AM
Here's a very honest bio, great reading: http://www.***********/library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Hmm, for some reason it's blocking the link since the site is on Rotten DOT Com (which it won't even let me type correctly) . Yes their main site is crude but their information archive library is really interesting (not obscene, actually educational!).

So if you're willing to type rotten DOT com in your browser, then copy/paste /library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Another excerpt:
So in 1965, he secretly spent $5.5 million acquiring vast parcels in central Florida. Before the orange farmers realized what was happening, almost 28,000 acres had been bought up. At the same time, Walt was engaged in secret negotiations with the state government, in order to ensure complete autonomy. Only after everything was locked up did he reveal his plans to the public in a press conference.

"Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland -- the blessing of size. There's enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine."

The property was so immense that there were no neighbors to complain about loud fireworks or traffic snarls. Additionally, the state of Florida basically granted Walt carte blanche to do whatever he felt like. They even granted him the legal authority to construct and maintain both an airport and a nuclear powerplant at any time in the future. (This blanket preapproval has yet to be exercised.)

rw2516
06-23-09, 07:06 AM
Grew up in Iowa during the 1960s. My grandparents lived in Delray Beach, Fla. In '67 and '69 we went there on vacation. Remember watching the moon landing in a hotel room in Montgomery, AL. Anyway, we always stopped and spent the night at the Ramada Inn in Orlando. There was a huge empty field with billboard that said "Future home of Disneyworld".

bluetoast
06-24-09, 03:35 AM
Noirfan and HokeyBoy, thanks again for the recommendation. Received the book today, just started.

Nick Danger
06-24-09, 04:35 PM
Hmm, for some reason it's blocking the link since the site is on Rotten DOT Com (which it won't even let me type correctly) . Yes their main site is crude but their information archive library is really interesting (not obscene, actually educational!).

So if you're willing to type rotten DOT com in your browser, then copy/paste /library/bio/business/walt-disney/

Another excerpt:

So in 1965, he secretly spent $5.5 million acquiring vast parcels in central Florida. Before the orange farmers realized what was happening, almost 28,000 acres had been bought up. At the same time, Walt was engaged in secret negotiations with the state government, in order to ensure complete autonomy. Only after everything was locked up did he reveal his plans to the public in a press conference.

"Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland -- the blessing of size. There's enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine."

The property was so immense that there were no neighbors to complain about loud fireworks or traffic snarls. Additionally, the state of Florida basically granted Walt carte blanche to do whatever he felt like. They even granted him the legal authority to construct and maintain both an airport and a nuclear powerplant at any time in the future. (This blanket preapproval has yet to be exercised.)

I kind of expect people with big plans to buy up land secretly. If news gets out, the last person with ten acres in the middle of the tract often tries to blackmail the buyer for millions.

I think that was the plot of one of the Love Bug movies.

Superdaddy
06-25-09, 02:53 PM
I haven't read any Walt Disney biographies, but it's pretty hard to investigate his work without hearing negative stories about him, usually along the lines of those posted here. At the very least, he seems to have been a nitpicking perfectionist, although if he was, and if it drove some of the people who worked for him crazy, he wouldn't be the first artist with those tendencies I've encountered who drove people to produce brilliant work.

I totally agree with the Fantasia lovers. This has been my favorite film of the studio's since my childhood. As far as I am concerned, it is the absolute pinnacle of animation on film, every frame of it. Pinocchio and Bambi are very close behind. I hope when Fantasia is re-released on DVD and BD next year, that it will contain the shorter theatrical cut most of us grew up with, perhaps seamlessly branched with the roadshow version they released last time. I have the box set and treasure it, but I would like to hear Deems Taylor's voice again, not just that other narrator they dubbed in for the previous release. (I still have my circa 1990 VHS copy for that reason).

I also agree that Robin Hood is underrated. It is not remotely close to a great film, but it's a lot of fun. When I was a kid I had the soundtrack album before I saw the movie. I knew all the songs before I went to the theatre.

As far as "Disney films I never got," you can put me down for The Rescuers. It got good reviews when it came out, a lot of Disney fans seem to like it, but it does nothing for me whatsoever. Go figure.

moonraker
06-25-09, 03:10 PM
I recall hearing that Walt's body was cryogenically frozen, at or right before his death. Is this really true or is it simply an urban legend? Is this cleared up in any of the biographies that people have read?

bluetoast
06-25-09, 03:28 PM
*accidental double post*

bluetoast
06-25-09, 03:28 PM
It's cleared up in the first page of the introduction of the Biography mentioned earlier. And on Snopes. :)

Superdaddy
06-25-09, 09:00 PM
It's cleared up in the first page of the introduction of the Biography mentioned earlier. And on Snopes. :)

Indeed. This has been circulating forever. It is NOT true that his body was frozen.

moonraker
06-29-09, 03:19 PM
As far as "Disney films I never got," you can put me down for The Rescuers. It got good reviews when it came out, a lot of Disney fans seem to like it, but it does nothing for me whatsoever. Go figure.


I just watched this the other night, for the first time ever, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I found Madame Medusa to be the best villain/villainess going all the way back to 1961's 101 Dalmations. I think she was clearly inspired by Cruella Deville. I also liked the swamp & ship backgrounds/layouts -- they made for a spooky atmosphere. And the pet alligators were a wonderful touch! I really liked the sequence where they are trying to capture (eat!) the mice who are hiding inside the wind-pipe piano -- very exciting stuff. I also liked that the overall tone of this one was a bit darker than most. What a horrible and truly grim situation the little girl found herself in! Almost too scary, I think, for really young viewers (though, unlike The Black Cauldron, the darker tone actually works well in this one). Finally, I also got a kick out of the dragonfly character -- he was quite original and the sequence where he was fleeing from the bats also generated lots of suspense and excitement. All in all, I consider this to be one of the strongest Disney animated releases in the period 1960 - 1989.

Michael Corvin
06-29-09, 03:46 PM
Indeed. This has been circulating forever. It is NOT true that his body was frozen.

Correct... it's just the head.

phobos78
07-03-09, 01:43 AM
wasn't he cremated? I thought I read that from his daughter.

Disneyboy
07-03-09, 11:49 PM
I kind of expect people with big plans to buy up land secretly. If news gets out, the last person with ten acres in the middle of the tract often tries to blackmail the buyer for millions.


Even to this day there is a track of land in Disneeyworld that Disney was never able to buy. There is a hotel built there located inbetween Disney Hollywood Studios (formally MGM) and the Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark. If I remember correctly from my probably hundreds of visits over the years, the name of the hotel is the Bonet Creek Resort, and it is like an island completely surrounded by Disney property.

calhoun07
07-04-09, 12:23 AM
BAMBI is also my very favorite as well, and I consider it to be a true motion picture masterpiece. It's absolutely timeless.

However, I disagree about your statement that nothing in the postwar years even comes close. In second place for me so far (I'm still in the process of viewing them all) is LADY AND THE TRAMP. The animators absolutely nailed the early scenes with Lady as a puppy, as anyone who has owned a puppy will recognize. The film also tugs at the heart, as I felt genuinely sad for Lady as her owners begin to pay less attention to her as they prepare for the arrival of their baby. And the tears were getting ready to flow near the very end when it appears that one of the main characters has died. This scene is brilliantly, tenderly, and effectively done. I assume that it was a human voice actor who performs Scotty's wail, but it sure sounds like a real dog is genuinely mourning the loss of a friend. In fact, I think the film would have been even stronger had the character actually died. But I can understand why they chose not to do that.

I watched this movie for the first time recently because of your post. Though I misread your post the first time around...I thought you said a main character died in the movie so I wanted to see it because that was such a departure from what we've come to expect from Disney. (Hey, it was in the early days...it could have happened.)
But... (and the spoiler references ANOTHER spoiler from GRAN TORINO if you haven't seen that. Don't say I didn't warn ya!)
I agree that the film would have been MUCH stronger if Trusty had died...died saving Tramp. Made a sacrifice for the better of the younger one. It could have been the animated Gran Torino, without the rampant racism of course...that's saved for Song of the South! ;)

Terrell
07-04-09, 02:37 AM
Yeah, who cares what kind of president Lincoln was? Aren't we, like, so over the Civil War? And who cares what Hitler did? That was 65 years ago, which is practically forever. Why does everyone keep raggin' on the poor guy? Forgive and forget, dude.

Congratulations on one of the dumbest posts ever made on this forum. Only an idiot like you could compare Abraham Lincoln and his presidency, the Civil War, and Hitler's crimes and genocidal rampage, to whether Walt Disney was a tyrant as an employer. LOL! What a douche nozzle.

NoirFan
07-04-09, 11:03 AM
Congratulations on one of the dumbest posts ever made on this forum. Only an idiot like you could compare Abraham Lincoln and his presidency, the Civil War, and Hitler's crimes and genocidal rampage, to whether Walt Disney was a tyrant as an employer. LOL! What a douche nozzle.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a267/moskalel/sarcasm_detector.jpg

Living Deadpan
07-04-09, 06:18 PM
Even to this day there is a track of land in Disneeyworld that Disney was never able to buy. There is a hotel built there located inbetween Disney Hollywood Studios (formally MGM) and the Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark. If I remember correctly from my probably hundreds of visits over the years, the name of the hotel is the Bonet Creek Resort, and it is like an island completely surrounded by Disney property.

I can just imagine a Disney Waco incident against the "radical" resort dwellers (I didn't say it's in any way likely, I said I can imagine it; I can imagine lots of things).

Alicia Snow
07-05-09, 01:23 PM
Hi, I was interested to see your note today, as I have been thinking about a documentary I saw many years ago in England about Disney. I have done searches for it before without success. And every now and then I try again. I figure at some point they will make a dvd of it, since it was so well done. I think the year was 1995. I cannot recall if it was a BBC production or one from one of the other independent tv stations in England. But it was all about Disney's terrible treatment of his artists, his relations with J. Edgar Hoover's communist witch hunt, and the searches he did of his women artists in particular. He had a dress code that mandated down to the panties, and he would conduct searches to assure himself of their compliance! The women were paid very poorly, and were not allowed to do the "more difficult" work! It was a scathing report. I was fascinated, as this was the first I had heard of this side of his character. I too am a great fan of "the making of" features on many dvd's. It gives us a whole new dimension on every work. One way might be to see if Amazon.com.UK will have it at some point. Of course, the dvd will not come to us in NTSC format, but we can figure that out once we get our mits on the original...
Let me know if you find it, and I will do so for you. Alicia