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...

1 comment:

Rebecca S said...

Finally catching up with the blog! Glad to see this great post--and so glad we were finally able to go. :)