Monday, September 16, 2019

Walt Disney Family Museum

Over the course of many family visits to the various Disney parks, my curiosity and interest in the history of the Disney enterprise has grown. Not that the parks themselves more than hint at the vast and fascinating Disney story. In any case, for a few years now I had known of the Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco, and, last June, I read Neal Gabler's biography, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. Labor Day weekend, Vicki, Penelope, Rebecca, and I visited the museum, which I found to be superb, comprehensive, detailed, accurate and fair, and chock full of important artifacts, mementos and such. Thank you, Rebecca, for making this happen.

View from the Presidio

The museum is, like its subject, far too complex and vast to
suggest a single narrative other than here is Walt's life and
work; "it all began with a mouse" he was fond of saying...
but it didn't the time the mouse came along, there
had already been a few successes, a few failures, a bankruptcy,
a removal...not to mention a rough childhood and adolescence
that were more about work and employment than about fun
and education...

Anyway, I'll just post some of the better pix without much more commentary

I always thought the Mickey Mouse Club was a thing of the, there were
hundreds of chapters in the early 30s, and the merchandising, which became so
integral to Disney, began then: pictured above, some 1930s MM merchandise

There were a number of break-throughs and innovations: improving the quality
of animation, making it believable, developing animated personalities, adding
sound, doing it in color...but none bigger than the first animated feature, Snow White
in 1937

By the late 30s, there was a whole Disney campus,
complete with a studio restaurant

Organizational chart from the period...lest anyone be
confused about who was (totally) in charge

Animators learning to draw Bambi

Disney traveled in fast a sketch given his
daughter Diane by Diego Rivera; when he visited Rome in
the mid-30s, vacationing, he was entertained by the Pope
and Mussolini

With Rachmaninoff and Horowitz; the association with Stokowski well known;
one of the rare photos of Disney smoking (three packs a day, I've read)

With Dali and Gala in Figueres, a long association

The multi-plane camera, one of many technical innovations

Unionization radically changed Disney and his relationships
with employees; and began his veering off into the political

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a movie I saw when I was probably 7 or 8 years
old (I acquired my coonskin cap a bit later); at the right is one of the under-water
cameras used in making the movie

A list of favorite meals Walt prepared for a new cook at the family residence

His fascination with trains revealed itself in many ways...
One of his model trains, the model above showing its route around his southern
CA mansion
Click to he did most everything...

Giant model of Disneyland...most helpful model ever 

One of the 360 degree cameras employed for the 1964 NYC World's Fair and
then the parks 

Among the many tributes following his death in 1966

There are many trophy cases at the museum; Disney won 26 Oscars (by
comparison, among actors/actresses, Hepburn, the leader, had only 4); of course,
many of Disney's Oscars were "special" rather than in a given category...the lot
of innovators like create the categories that are later recognized...

Perhaps the most famous, for Snow White...

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Yosemite National Park, Once More

We arrived at SFO the evening of August 13th, got Le Sport out of storage and ready to roll on the 14th, and departed the 15th for Yosemite, for nearly a week of camping with grand-daughter Penelope. Not for the first time, but at 8 years old, she remembers little of our several previous visits. She's a great little camper. Somehow, for us, the jet-lag never got too bad. Vicki had gotten reservations several months before.
One of our more interesting campsites ever...right on the Merced

With an unobstructed (by other campers, buildings, etc.) view of  Half Dome

Ready for an outing to nearby Happy Isles

Muir's happy place

Reward for being such a good hiker...small cup, one scoop; seriously

The Yosemite shuttle system got us where we wanted to go; in addition to the several
hikes, we saw a couple films, did a junior ranger interpretive walk, visitor centers, and,
of course, some shopping; oh yes, we also temporarily adopted an engineering graduate
student from Toulouse, letting him pitch his tent on our site; his English was pretty
good, but not as good as Penelope's French!

On a long walk from Cathedral Beach to Bridalveil Falls

With Grandma

El Cap in the background

Our campsite was nearby the Lower Pines anfiteatro, where P and new friends
spent some time

Rehearsing for an upcoming production

Alpenglow on Half Dome

Nicholas' tent in the middle ground

On another hike; don't know where this pose came from

En route to Yosemite Falls


Families gathering for the evening's production

Acting, singing, dancing...a talent show

Fellow cast members

Le Sport...luxurious by comparison with the Spartan Le Duc, now parked somewhere
near Edinburgh

On the way back home, we stopped for a look at the big trees

And another hike

Nice to see Yosemite not burning