It is often recognized that, with "beloved" uncle Walt, the image of Walt Disney became sacrosanct. But that attitude is generally disguised. Why? Because Uncle "Sacrosant" Walt is portrayed as some sort of hard work "simpleton", the "you" and "me" any American would like to think it was all about. I had to approach this subject because I drew Walt smoking. Even though people liked the drawing, some expressed censorship about making Walt smoking, "he would not be happy, with it".... two people said.
He wouldn't, just like he was ready to tell associates that "Walt Disney is not me anymore. I smoke and he doesn't. Walt Disney is "something" people think when they want wholesome entertainment." In the words of disrespectful Neal Gabler, Walt Disney got into the "business of making "Walt Disney'". And he became treated as an asset by the company, with his knowledge and consent..."
But quite a few times it is reported that Walt resented that role, and one of the reasons he liked to be around his family is that he didn't have to be "THE Walt Disney". That"sacrosanct", "anodyne uncle" could work in the Sixties, even though he was already considered by many to be an "anachronism". Whatever. He is nice too. Especially if one thinks he played uncle Walt in TV programs for the sake of Disneyland. And if one doesn't miss that anguished look in his inward-turned pupils..."There he is" I think when I see his eyes, especially in the earlier programs.
Anyway, I do not want to draw "THE Walt Disney" that wasn't Walt Disney anymore. I want to draw the man behind the asset. It is fascinating to "reconstruct" him this way. If one notices in Hank's interpretation, for instance, down to the smallest, loose and at the same time nervous gestures, he "is" Walt Disney, but not "uncle Walt". And in fact, he says in an interview that what really helped him were movies Diane provided, for, in his words, "Walt Disney WASN'T what he was acting to be in in the footages the company provided him to watch.
So, if even as an anachronism, it may be kind of "cute" to love and oblige the image of uncle Walt. And, in his paternalism, he certainly had "something" of real Walt. But he is SO COLD and under "chains"... It makes one wonder, "Where is the guy who, according to everyone who met him, "lived in the grip of passion?" Then, the "anguished" eyes speak volumes.
People don't want to turn "simpleton" uncle Walt into a saint, just into an absolutely "sinless" creature, as if "sinless" were not as saintly as a saint. But "Sinless", in the context of "uncle Walt", means obliging ALL the RULES Americans expect to form the symbol of their ideal of family. But doesn't it occur to anyone that just a hard work, honest person would never accomplish what Walt did? That it took one to be, like Walt was, the freest, most innovative and improvising person one can conceive, that is, the eternal rebel?
He had a break-down in early age, and talked naturally about it. That is not even mentioned in the WDF museum. But one can hear it in interviews of his, and read it in his bios.
Perhaps, if he did not have the "crutch" of smoking to let out steam, he might have a stroke in early life or something. If being complex, human and sensitive detracts anything from 'Uncle Walt', it, nonetheless, helps to unearth the real Walt Disney, the genius, the visionary, the innovator, and not the stagnated conservative that even "sinless" is not allowed to be a saint, for that would be to "un ordinary" for an "anodyne" character, for a simple "asset"...