What Walt Taught Me: The Jungle Book

Walt died making this film and fortunately the movie was almost worthy of the man. This is a jolly film, but also about growing up and endings. Disney would not make an animated film this good until Little Mermaid. Forget the book, Kipling put too much of his white man’s burden in the dark stories for [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: The Sword in the Stone

Walt was dying the year I was born, but nobody knew it yet, not even Walt. His genius had turned to Disneyworld and away from animation. Mary Poppins was very profitable, but Sleeping Beauty had failed. To make things worse, the Disney studio challenged the curse of King Arthur: the universal rule that anything based [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Mary Poppins

Walt Disney did not die immediately after  making Mary Poppins, but he had made the best film his studio would make in his lifetime. Technically, it is not part of the animation canon, but it is such a remarkable film that I cannot leave it off a list of “what Walt taught me.” All that [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: 101 Dalmations

The early 1960′s were a hopeful time . . . the last moment when World War II liberalism, Roosevelt’s coalition, ran the world and people could believe without causing laughter that Science would solve all our problems. The civilized world would spread and democratic values in the United Nations would solve rather than cause all  the [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp is an ideal date movie: a bit scruffy, adventurous, romantic, and fun. Walt and company continued to churn out classics through the 1950′s in a silver age unmatched until Pixar started making films. Energy and story telling at Walt’s company  nearly died in the 1940′s along with humanity in World War [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Peter Pan

I can fly, just like Wendy, I can fly. Or so I told my children growing up because Wendy is the heart and soul of Disney’s Peter Pan.  Peter is not particularly likable, but Wendy does what she can. I aspire to be like Wendy, capable of joyous childhood, but also able to grow up. [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Alice in Wonderland

What if you could go on a drug trip with no harm? What if imagination was capable of producing better results than alcohol? A book read more often by adults than actual children, Alice in Wonderland, was transformed into a movie that children can enjoy with grownups. Here at last the experiments with licit craziness [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Cinderella

She is irresistible and if you have not seen the film recently: strong and virtuous. Cinderella is an object lesson in a good attitude toward outrageous fortune. Unrealistic story telling has caused us to forget the basic fairy tale truth: good things come to people who learn to be good without good things. We can [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad

This movie haunted my dreams as a child. There may be a more frightening scene to today’s kids than Ichabod being chased by the “headless horseman,” but if so I pity any kid who sees it. This is a wholesome fear . . . the kind of fear a kid should have. There are boogie men [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Melody Time

Melody Time shows Walt at the bottom of the animation barrel. He had turned his attention toward experiments in educational films, live action, and was coming back to the insane idea of a theme park, Disneyland, and the missing genius shows for the first time. Melody Time actually has two delightful sequences I saw as a child: [Read More...]