Monday, December 05, 2011

WALT DISNEY'S BIRTHDAY


Today, the amazing Walt Disney would have been one hundred and ten years old. He's now officially been gone more years than he was ever here guiding his company. I called Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland today just to remind them. They had no idea what today was. Well, I'm not surprised. I worked for Disneyland because it was on my bucket list-- something I wanted to do before I died. I loved my fellow cast members. They were all friendly and kind and thoughtful. Disney managers? Well, poor things they are far too absorbed in what i call "the business of magic." I traveled forty-three miles one way to get there. I worked all of the grad nights in one year. I loved waiting on the guests because I know so much about Walt and his company. The highlight of my day came at the end of that work shift when I would briefly stop at the base of Walt's old Disneyland apartment on Main Street and I would look up at his window on main street and say "Goodnight, sir, thanks for starting all the magic." This was especially wonderful during the Christmas season when the small lamp was always replaced by a small Christmas tree. All of Main street was deserted. It was after two o'clock in the morning as we cast members on the late late shift were all going home. I was the only one ever there. Was I the only one who cared? Walt Disney was one of the greatest gifts God gave this weary planet. He was very special to me for many reasons some of which I've shared in this journal since June of 2006. I really wonder sometimes what he might say if he were alive today. They're still guessing what he would have done. Imagine that: a simple boy from the Mid-West without a high school diploma who was so intrinsically connected with every creative step of this company that he knew when a song worked for a movie. He knew what the public would love in entertainment. He knew everything. Sure, Walt made a few mistakes in his days on this planet: a few pictures that flopped. But not like the studio does today. I happen to respect Bob Iger. He really tries. He seems to keep Walt's memory alive. I know that Walt's current Imagineering stagg really tries, but there is far too much politics in the Disney organization today: far too many "sharp pencil boys". Disneyland was not created for that, ladies and gentlemen and while the word "profit" is not a four letter word, it should not also be everything that you hang your hat on, While I worked at the Emporium and The Candy Palace cash registers (among others) I watched people spend money in a bad economy with money they really didn't have. But they seemed to spend it as if being loyal to the creations of this most amazing man. Walt used to say "We never do anything twice" and "You can't top pigs with pigs!" Those were the first philosophies the Disney organization threw out. Imitation is rampant in the company and big attractions (like the new "Little Mermaid") on which lots of money is spent just don't fufill Walt's legacy. It just disappoints. Please, Mr. Iger, you'll make lots of money-- Walt taught you how-- but please don't make money everything. There's no magic in that.

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