Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Gallery of Heroes, Part One: The Sunday Night Storyteller

The theme for this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge, as suggested by Monica of the journal Mamarazzi, is "heroes."  Of the heroes I thought of for my entry...

  • One of them has been dead for nearly 40 years;
  • One of them I met only once twenty years ago, and didn't take a picture when I had the chance;
  • One of them I have a picture of, but someone else took it;
  • One of them wasn't around when I went looking for him today (and I didn't want to tell him what the photo was for, anyway); and
  • One of them - actually lots of them - could easily have YOUR face!
Tonight (Tuesday night/Wednesday morning) I'm going to concentrate on the first person on the list above.  Wednesday night, I'll cover the rest.  For this first entry, I'm talking about

Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney died on December 15, 1966, when I was 9 3/4 years old.  Obviously, I never got anywhere near him with a camera.  I didn't even get to Disneyland until ten years after his death.  I remember him, though, all those Sunday nights watching Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.  He's a hero of mine because

  • he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people,
  • he put quality and creativity and innovation ahead of profit,
  • he was an optimist and an idealist (albeit not without his foibles), and
  • he put together a team of amazingly talented artists and writers and imagineers, and helped them to do their best work.

It's pretty hard to take a picture of a man who's been dead nearly 40 years, but I managed it.  I popped in my Disneyland USA DVD, and grabbed a few shots of him on tv in 1965. (Even this turned out to be kind of hard to do well.)   I can also show you the fruits of his labor, with a few photos I took at Disneyland last weekend.

Here's Walt  introducing Julie Reems, the ambassador for Disneyland's 10th Anniversary, to Mary Blair, the artist behind the It's a Small World attraction.  Blair's style was distinctive and colorful, as seen in this detail from one  of her murals.

Walt, Julie, and Mary Blair.  Part of Mary Blair's Tomorrowland mural.

Walt shows off a minor character from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.  Caught between boat and shore, he rocks back and forth with his loot, trying to get safely on board.  When Julie wishes the character good luck, Walt says, "Well, he can't make it.  The show would go all to pieces!"

Walt shows Julie a minor character from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Walt prompts Julie to correctly guess that guests escape the fire scene at the end of Pirates by going up the waterfall.  "Anything's possible at Disneyland," he tells her.

Walt, Julie and going up the waterfall.

This is a lousy picture of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, but that's because it's a detail from a much larger photo.  I took it from halfway down Main Street USA, so I'm lucky to have gotten even this much resolution.  I'm using it here because it's my only shot with the statue of Walt and Mickey in it.

the statue you can barely see is Walt with Mickey.

I risked a flash shot on the Snow White's Scary Adventure dark ride on the morning of our early admission, when hardly anyone else was on the ride.  Back in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first successful full-length-animated feature.  At the time, most people thought Walt would never manage such a feat.  18 years later, people had similar expectations about "Walt's folly" - also known as Disneyland.  And we all know what a failure that was!  Can you imagine a world in which Walt listened to the naysayers, and gave up on his dreams for full-length animated movies with real character development, for  a theme park that parents and children could enjoy together, for audio-animatronics and other innovations, for new ways to share his visions of fantasy, adventure, the past and the future?   Do you understand now why I admire the guy so much?

Snow White has a Scary Adventure.

Walt said in 1955:

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome.  Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and the promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world."

That's quite a dream, but Walt fulfilled it.  50 years later, crowds from all over the world still come to enjoy "Walt's Folly."

Crowds stream toward the castle, all done up pretty for the 50th.

Tomorrow night I'll post the rest of my thoughts on heroes in a second entry.  For now, here's a hint:

Be nice!  Give!

See you Wednesday evening!


Now go see what the other Robins have come up with:

Monica (Mamarazzi): - posted!
Carly (Ellipsis): - posted!

Phinney (Paragon): - posted!
Cosette  (Pandora's Journal): - posted!
Chris (It's All About Me I Think): - not exactly posted, but go over there anyway.

Derek (Derek's Picture of the Day): - posted!
Robbie (Robbie's Ruminations):
Renee (wwwTimelessCalligraphyStudiocom): - posted!

Aunt Nub (Fool's Paradise): - posted!
Karen (Musings from Mavarin): - posted - two entries!
Mary (Alphawoman's Blog): posted!

Betty (My Day, My Interests): - added!

Marie (Photographs & Memories):   - added! 

And remember, you're welcome to join in the fun yourself!


alphawoman1 said...

When I was a kid, my biggest dream was to make it to Disneyland! Like every kid my age! Never happened. But, in my early 30's I got to take my daughter to Disney World! Riding the monorail from the parking lot into the amusement park my heart started beating wildly against my chest! I experienced the biggest rush when I saw the Magic Kingdom! Some dreams neve die.

acyrlicstains said...

Walt Disney is a hero to many for taking them to an imaginary world of fantasy and for billions brings a smile for as long as one could stay.
Renee' at

ryanagi said...

I didn't have a chance to do what I wanted this week for the challenge...but Walt is a great choice. :-)

deveil said...

Karen I love this.


photographybymon said...

There is something to be said about Walt Disney - giving adults the freedom to laugh and be children again.  Loved the entry.


geminiwilder said...

yes! a true hero to children of ANY age!   :)  Phinney

ondinemonet said...

Karen :)

These are wonderful choices. I love looking at pictures of the Magic Kingdom. Here I live in California and I never get down to L.A. I am hoping in the spring to go down there. I agree Walt Disney was a great guy, I feel the same way about Charles Shultz. I love visiting the Snoopy museum.  Both parts of this entry for the challenge was really cool and inspiring. Good job always.

Love, Carly :)