So, I have news you’ll all likely enjoy — it’s not my usual preaching or ramblings about classic films no one has ever seen. The topic is about a man whose films were revered for years and years for their innovativeness, charm, and moral lessons given to child and adult alike. In fact, death was merely a bookmark in his legacy as his studio continues to produce successful films on a yearly basis. Now, I know you’re getting tense because you’re wondering who I could be talking about (or maybe you’ve figured it out), so I’ll give you a few clues. The film industry without this man would mean Minnie without Mickey, a circus without Dumbo, and Snow White without her seven dwarfs.
Without Walt Disney, we would not have the happiest place on earth and our childhood would be painted with a different brush. That’s why I am pleased to announce a series in the making about his life upcoming on PBS. Maybe I’m jumping the gun, as the series will not be released until Fall of 2015, but I want your anticipation to build. We’re talking a four-hour, two night event about Mr. Disney, himself. Over the years, his life story has been somewhat of an enigma as he heavily guarded his personal life for the sake of his company’s image. Most recently, in 2013, when Saving Mr. Banks was released, Tom Hanks played Walt Disney alongside the brash Emma Thompson and was limited in his portrayal due to the Disney company’s involvement in film production — in fact, Hanks can only be seen snuffing out a cigarette, even though Disney was a known chain smoker.
The series has interviews with animators from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as imagineers who assisted in creating the Disneyland theme park. I am interested to see what they will say about their former boss and if their thoughts will be as censored as the Disney enterprise seems to be. Needless to say, it will be interesting to watch and learn more about his contribution to media in the last century. As executive producer of American Experience states, “No single figure shaped American culture in the 20th century more than he.”
Additionally, I will be fascinated to learn more about my family heritage as Walt Disney is known, jokingly, as “Uncle Walt” in my household. According to my lineage, I am indeed related to Walt Disney (my grandmother’s maiden name is Disney), though I am, unfortunately, reaping none of the rewards of being a distant relative. I would gladly accept assistance with tuition as a film student, if any of my relatives were wondering… In the meantime, I will keep you updated on the progress of this project titled Walt Disney, a PBS and American Experience production.