Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Disney Everliving

     Once, talking about Walt Disney, a Disney fan told me that it takes the Walt Disney family and people like me to keep the spark alive, for only the baby boomers remember and miss him. He is right insofar as  the baby boomers' favorite "uncle", that figure of righteousness and family stability, is something of the Fifties and Sixties. In the days of the cold war, Americans needed more than ever to be reassured of basic American values. But my Disney fan friend is not right, when it comes to the essence of Walt Disney. And with this, I don't mean the company logo, or the ongoing Disney creations, but of a man whose discoveries and inventions keep on influencing the world of today, in education, art and in the very relationship with technology. The latter is, in a typical Disney way, more playful all the time. As for education and art, Walt Disney, with the storytelling rides of Disneyland, invented contemplative interaction, something that regards not just art, but a profound, elemental form of education (I will be talking about it in the following posts).

    Walt Disney is Everliving also as a man  whose integrity, courage and rebelliousness to convention are,  at this day and age, when people are looking more than ever for a sense of meaning, spiritual reassurance and the myriad ways of searching their true self, an existential and mystical inspiration.  

Monday, December 28, 2009

Walt Disney's Delicacy and Strenght

     Disney's creation transmits not just sweetness, but its side of immensity. 
The same happens with miniatures and the small to scale. 

     Walt could see the immensity of the small, that which allows us to stare at with playfulness and, yet, the omnipotent contemplation of a god; with the imagination that creates endless worlds to happen in it.
Walt Disney's delicacy of spirit was his strenght!

     Couldn't we say that sweetness is the strenght of affection, of that which is intimate, invisible and, of course, delicate?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disney Revelation

      Pierre Lambert ( "Il Etait Une Fois Walt Disney") says that in Walt Disney's instructions for Bambi, he said that fantasy would come out of the young deer, just like with the young child who peppers his parents with questions. Walt Disney knew that fantasy was like seeing things for the first time, new and unstained by habit, prejudice or mere rationality,  because he himself never lost the awe children discover the world with!  To see things with the purity of being so disarmed reveals, in them,  the very miracle of their coming into being!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas with Walt Disney

     Walt Disney had influence over many people indiscriminately. Religious leaders affect determinate geographic areas, the same for political heads, dividing the world. But Disney went everywhere, homogenizing all kinds of people, with no indoctrination and no fighting. 
Calling him The Greatest Showman, The Movie maker etc doesn't measure up. Being such a unique case, Walt Disney can pull off his own name as a title: The Great Disney.

     To see him by the Xmas tree makes one feel like the whole world turned into a Xmas present!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Conclusion of A Disney Story

As I thought that, the declaration of the lady in the store, “I love him in this picture” came back to me, as a similar way of feeling. 
     Walt Disney was “hers”, but was also beyond her, just like ….. And it occurred to me, just like Main Street USA and all of Disney’s settings. They all have that peculiar quality of making one feel like being an integral part of and, yet, protective of them.
     Reading the biography I bought led me to all the others that have been written of Disney, as well as to many related books of Disney creation and Disney team,  in something that has turned into a endless trip of fascination and discovery.  In one of those texts, I learned that, for Lady and the Tramp, Walt Disney gave instructions that the view of the little town that the two enamored dogs have from above should be attractive as a place to be in as well as to be looked at, from that distance. Just like I felt in relation to Main Street USA, wanting to be its character and spectator at the same time.
     In fact, Disney creation in general arouses an exchange of warmth with the public; a physical and emotional drive from one, like the wish to touch and a heart concern,  simultaneously. It certainly reflects not just Walt Disney’s personality, in the bounding he had with the physical world of nature, but in his positive view of people and in the interaction he had with his audience.  Just like what was transmitted with:
     “ I love him in this picture!”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Second Segment of Disney Xmas Story

 “ Should I buy the book or not?” I was still asking myself, when two ladies, seeming to be in their fifties, approached the stand.
    They looked very composed, like two English ladies about to have their five o’clock tea, and were obviously good friends,  sharing the Disney passion. While I was there pathetically indecisive, one of them spotted a reproduction of a photograph that shows young Disney by an entrance, probably of his office, on the side of a wall on which a shadow of Mickey Mouse is projected. A copy of this same picture was imprinted on the cover of the biography I was carrying. 
      The lady picked it up from the stand and, showing it to her friend, said:
     “I love him in this picture!”
    For some reason I didn’t know, I felt, in that moment, as close to her as I would to a best friend.
     She talked with knowledge of cause and the intimate but yet respectful warmth of a mother, who is protective and proud of her son at the same time. It made me guess that she and her friend knew all the photos of Disney available to the public. They probably knew, also, all the facts of his life. What was I waiting for to buy the book?
   Approaching the counter, I purchased it and made my way out of the park. Exhausted, but already nostalgic of the reality I was leaving behind, I, like always, affectionately looked at the buildings of Main Street USA, as if, in my mental good-bye, I could retain something of them inside me. I was wondering about what makes everything in that street feel, more than welcoming, so familiar and yet so revealing, as if  worthy of respect and intimacy at the same time, making you want to play with it, like one plays with one’s favorite, oldest toy,  but also take care of it, like one takes of a little animal, and even beyond: pay homage to it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Disney Xmas Story: "I love him in this Picture"

       I will post in three or four segments, a true story I've written of a precious Disney memory that changed my life and helped me finding my real roots and, with them, my identity. Here it goes:

      I was very young then, and, after a full day playing in the rides at WDW, I found myself at a store that sold books, photographs and other Disney merchandise. I must confess that I didn’t know a lot about Walt Disney other than I loved him for everything he brought to fruition, and for a few uplifting declarations of his that I’d seen printed here and there. 
   Biographies are not my favorite gender in literature, but, realizing it was time I learned something about the man who provided so much joy, fantasy, and,  in my particular case and I guess many others, so much healing, I tentatively picked  “Walt Disney- An American Original” by Bob Thomas.  Ashamed to confess it now, I questioned myself, while leafing through,  whether that would be one more book gathering dust on my bedside table, with the many others that endlessly wait to be read,  if I came to pay for it.  Questions such “ Why get it? I don’t like biographies…. Don’t biographers always want to sound as if they know their subject better than the subject himself?” or “When have I managed to finish reading a biography?” or still “What about all the titles I keep trying to make time to read and never do?”
   Holding the book, I perused the store, giving myself more time to make up my mind. On a stand, I discovered several photographs of Walt Disney for sale, and since I didn’t even know very well what Walt looked like when he was young, started to examine them. More than Walt’s stylish, what they call “flashy” way of dressing, I was impressed with how much at ease he was with himself, with his intensely expressive, elegant but, yet, absolutely informal way.  He was certainly able to pull off whatever he put on for being so much himself, for naturally making his outfit an extension of his body and movements. (cont. on next posting)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Disney Awe


       Walt Disney has granted us a reality in which life is not only survival, but givingness, not just something to be paid for, but to be to be awed by.
      To be in awe is to experience the surrender to a higher degree of reality.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Disney Great and Disney Small

     Bruno Girveau wisely mentions (" Il Etait Une Fois Walt Disney"), that the castle (le chateau)  dominated the imaginary of Walt Disney's films, since the beginning, to the point of eventually becoming  "the nevralgic center of Disney parks, sharing, with Mickey, the honor of figuring the emblem of the Walt Disney co. 

      This tells us something more of Walt Disney as a man of extremes, someone that could see the immensity of the small (Mickey, miniatures, toys) and that of the great alike. A mouse and a castle: the prosaic and the noble; the domestic, kitchen-like  coexisting with the royal heights, both fraternalized by fantasy. But when we think that Mickey in his smallness has heroic greatness and that the castles of Disney parks are toy-like, we see, in Disney fantasy, the generosity saints have of loving the great and small alike, to the point of giving to both the same attributes.
    Can one conclude that the reality of fantasy, that which only  visionaries and poets have access to, was, with Disney, the love of absolute reconciliation, that which, paradise like, allows all opposites to complement, rather than oppose, one another, all conflicts to be resolved, and all "impossibilities" become miracles?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Disney's Rebirth

   Today, 43 years ago, Walt Disney entered the world of Pure Spirit, to become the agelessness and timelessness of eternal inspiration for all.
 In the magic way he transmitted the values of integrity, fight and faith, 
 the victory of good over evil, as well as those of 
fantasy and fan,  Disney was 

the greatest educator, 
symbolically father and mother to all. 
    To benefit from the message of Walt's integrity is to bridge this world of material existence and that of Spirit: to dethrone death.  
    For this, one can't be but grateful.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "Prince of Laughter" and the Laughter of a Prince

   What follows was written on one of the 900 and some odd tributes Walt Disney received worldwide, displayed in the WDF Museum, and I transcribe it here for the fair, original and poetic title give to Disney:
"To Walt Disney, Prince of Laughter, in appreciation of the 25 years of making the world glow with heartwarming joy and introducing into our lives Mickey Mouse, DD and a host of other myrth provoking characters, we are ever grateful for your creative genius!"

My illustration of Disney (from the pic that is near the template of this blog) tries to transmit the "laughter" of a Prince, that is, that kind of joy only a chosen person can feel.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Endearing Disney

      The antropomorphism of animals dates to ancien Egypt. Then, they were deified.  In the 19th Century, we see masters such as Grandville, Beatrix Potter, Kley, notably Daumier and Dore (who illustrated the Fables of La Fontaine) humanizing animals in their respective styles, and are said to have influenced Walt Disney, who brought a lot from Europe.    Humanized animals however, only become endearing with Disney cuteness. For me, this trait resulted from the identification of toy, babyhood and animal nature. 
     I guess it is because in Walt Disney, playfulness, childhood and nature were at one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Disney Charisma

      In "Talk with the Legends", at the WDF Museum, Richard Sherman said that when Walt assigned them a task, it became the most important thing in the world; all they wanted was to please Walt. But Walt wanted to hear their opinions because he wanted them to also please themselves with what they did. Richard remarked that people in general overlook this generosity. One then concludes that the inspiration Walt gave them was courage: the right to be themselves. This quality Walt Disney had  of making one feel reassured, strong and at the same time supported; this power of transmitting courage and conviction I guess, that is what charisma is. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walt Disney's Arrival!

Thanks for this day Walt was born! Visiting the WDF Museum again, I came to the conclusion that Walt's genius had much to do with Walt's gratitude to life: his capacity to make the most of everything that came his way, eventually re creating it. Note, for instance, the clock of Strasbourgh he discovered in France when he was still an adolescent, and its reappearance on "Its a Small World"!
Creativity makes the best of what life puts along one's path, be it beauty or suffering. Aside from the gratefulness to life of creativity in general, Walt's gratefulness was a profound and yet spontaneous coexistence with the Good! 

He saw the good in everything because he had it inside and alongside his life of struggle. He knew what forgiveness was and he knew how to forgive. He knew there was a world of Xmas beauty inside a Xmas tree and that this world can be destroyed inadvertently by 2 chipmonks but, yet, ressurrected in the forgiveness Mickey grants the two little animals. Ressurrected in that kind of love that is above everything!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Disney Messenger of the Gods

 Walt Disney was said to be "mercurial".
How can someone have integrity, be in synch with life, if life, for the creative person, is always a source of surprise, that is, is "mercurial" itself?

Mercury is the Roman name for the greek god Hermes, the messenger of the gods. He had to be everywhere, as fast as he could, to carry the Olympian designs. That is the way Disney acted too, bringing to fruition heavenly designs.