Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another 'Happy Wouldabeen'.

... to Mr. D.
Walter Elias Disney
December 5, 1901 -- December 15, 1966

There's just no questioning, no denying, the impact this single pioneer has made on the entire world.

You can gripe about the current state of the various companies he created -- the nearly obscene cost of its products and services, the lamentable decisions, the lack of vision, the faceless corporate greed and stupidity of his bickering descendants -- but the world will always remember that at the core of it all, at the true heart of what is right and good about Disney, was Walt's singular vision... and that it began with a Mouse.

On a personal level, I have to hold all of us at the S&P forever in debt to Mr. Disney, if only for instigating the creation of one thing.
The Haunted Mansion didn't become a breathing, unliving reality until 1969, three years after Disney's death. But as far back as 1951, five years before the original Disneyland park opened, Walt had mentioned a 'haunted house' concept, which was sketched by Harper Goff that year:

I absolutely love the notion of the graveyard being flanked by a church and a haunted house -- a graveyard reposes precisely between the realms of the hallowed and the horrific, the solemn and the spooky, the sacred and the scared (which, by the way, are the same word with a few letters rearranged) -- and I wish they'd stuck with this layout.

 The hilltop haunt in implied but gorgeous detail.

Of course, there are many other things I admire, tribute and love about what Walt Disney brought to the world, and the skill, heart and vision he possessed to draw the greatness out of others to give to the rest of us mortals -- the darkest of it is where my happiest Disney memories reside.


 Yes, a happy wouldabeen 109 years, Mr. Disney.

 You left us a lot to enjoy in the short time you were here.

And don't worry about us -- we still know how to be kids, thanks to that which remains of your vision helping us stay young at heart.

And anyway, we'll all be seeing you...

We're all going to be following, some day...

A toast to a remarkable fella.



  1. I'll always remember a story that some reporter asked Roy Disney this question:
    "Doesn't it make you sad that your dad never lived to see this?" [referring to Disney World in Florida]
    to which Roy said something like this:
    "It was because he did see this that it's here today."

    I'm headed to the Haunted Mansion on the 26th, and I can't wait! Haven't been in over 20 years!

  2. great post MIke. Thanks!

    DDSP, Mr. Disney!