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...]

What Walt Taught Me: Fun and Fancy Free

 “If you have seen one old Disney package movie,” complained a member of my house, “you have seen them all.” This is not true, but lackluster present advertising makes it look that way. If we compare the animation, writing, and innovation in these package films to movies like Minions or Kung Fu Panda, then it is [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Make Mine Music

World War II changed everything, but what if you just missed the War? What if for the rest of your life older brothers or dads fought and you simply  grew up in the peaceful world they made? Just as the generation that came of age in 1866 must been thankful to have missed the Civil [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Three Caballeros

Three Caballeros is an experimental movie, a licit drug trip disguised as an animated movie. Walt did not control his studio in World War II, the government did, but Walt refused to surrender creativity. This is another “package” movie… a series of cartoons thinly linked together as birthday presents to Donald Duck. If you think your great-grandfather lived [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Saludos Amigos

Walt had a bad War, not of course as bad as Cousin Paul (D-Day, Bulge, German POW), but creatively hard. Walt was too old to fight having done his bit in the Red Cross in World War I, but his studio was signed up by the government to make propaganda. His Education for Death remains [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Bambi

Is Bambi a girl? This is the question that will separate those who have not seen the film, a group too numerous, from those who have seen it. This is the most gentle film ever made. The pacing is slow, but not slow as in boring or stupid, slow as in unfolding like a flower. [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Dumbo

Like Cars was to Pixar, Dumbo was to the boyish genius Walt Disney: a sign that at his worst he was  capable of producing mere  excellence. Dumbo is an extended short and not quite a fairy tale and it is also the first film in the series that did not change everything or break new [Read More...]

What Walt Taught Me: Fantasia

Hope was frustrated: “Music is music.” She looked at me and realized that her new husband saw pictures instead of hearing music. My auditory sense was dominated by my visual sense to the point that I was deprived of an excellent musical experience. “You think of it all as a story . . . like [Read More...]