Discussion in 'Walt Disney: The Man Behind the Mouse' started by magic minnie, Feb 8, 2005.
I just checked my bookshelf and whoops! Right you are. I stand corrected.
It's ok. Just wanted to give everyone the correct title in case someone wants to read it!
Here is a nice article about the relationship between Walt and James Baskett. He was chosen by Walt himself, who called him the best actor discovered in years.
It's mentioned in Gabler (which is a maligned source, I know, but I enjoyed it) that when Baskett became ill, Walt personally lobbied for him to receive an honorary Oscar. He did receive that Oscar, but died a few months later.
I thought that I had also read about Disney helping cover his health expenses and living expenses for his widow. However I cannot find a source anywhere. So perhaps I've confused him with someone else. Nonetheless Disney personally championed him. I do hate that his work can't be seen on video (it would have been perfect for the Walt Disney Treasures line) and also that he isn't a Disney Legend.
Well, he certainly deserves to be a Disney Legend more than Jim Henson in my view!
I've read a lot of books...and Walt did have his bad points...but everyone does. And as an astute business man he recognized that "Walt disney" became the brand for the company...He was very careful about his public image and that of his company...He's probably one of the few people from history that I have really studied. And I have to say he's a great model for success.
and a very intriguing man, Very very very anti communist...yet his "EPCOT" vision was very much a socialist ideal. no one own any of the land, everyone working etc. Yes I know that communism wasn't pure socialism but still an interesting contrast nonetheless.
i dont believe epcot was socialist i believe he wanted a society that was different than what he saw in the 60's
and i was there and agree with him the 60's sucked in America this faction against that one hardly any unity of purpose for a better life just a bunch of complainers and war mongers and im ex military i can say that i joined!!!!!!!
Walt was a brilliant visionary but his plan for EPCOT was scary, extremely dictatorial. No one could vote (Walt would have absolute say over everything), no unions, everyone had to work, and people would be kicked out if they retired. Walt was a stanch Republican and his plan for EPCOT reflected an attitude towards workers that was, well, frightening. The complete opposite of socialism.
I thought barnum was back...then I realized that this thread is seven years old!
Well, that's an interesting spin on it. Were you aware that Walt's dad was a proud Socialist? And Walt himself was pretty left-of-center in his early days. But the studio strike disillusioned him and broke his heart, and his attitudes did change somewhat, although he always declared that he considered himself a liberal. After Snow White's success, he built a new studio that was focused entirely on "the workers". It was going to be an artists' paradise. Once, one of his employees found Walt on the floor taking apart one of the new chairs, trying to figure out if it was going to be comfortable enough and if not, if he could improve it. Doesn't sound like a "dictatorial" kind of guy to me. Sounds rather like an avuncular or paternal attitude, which some of the artists didn't care for but others adored.
As for Epcot, Walt wanted it to be a test site for new ideas to make community living better for everyone. He wanted problems like urban blight and overcrowding to be solved there. Yes, he wanted total control, and why not? Better him than the stockholders. And it wasn't a welfare or retirement community. It was an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. He was quite serious about it. He wanted to apply the things he'd learned from Disneyland about how to make people happy and apply it to real life.
And, as an aside - really, to me, there is nothing more tiresome than the narrow attitude of "Republicans hate workers! They favor the rich" some people put forth as if it's common knowledge. It's a caricature put forth by the opposing political party, PERIOD. My parents were both union workers, and they voted Democrat or Republican based on the person running and his platform. A practice I wish more people would adopt, rather than making assumptions and believing stereotypes. End of rant.
When I hear things like that against Walt i just shrug them off. I know nobodies perfect but i believe he was a good man. In the end it's all up to what you choose to believe.
When people say things to suggest Walt was a bad man I don't get to upset or even really debate about it. Perception is reality and if some people perceived as a bad person. Theres really no way to prove against it.
I have read some things about Walt that disturb me but I agree with most people here. I believe Walt was a very good man and would still be considered a good man had he been alive in our generation. (I'm 23 so if he were just getting famous now or just got done with DL now my opinion on him would probably not be different)
Long time lurker, first time poster but I felt a need to respond to this thread. I've read multiple biographies on WD including the very long, detailed biog by Neal Gabler.
I notice a lot of disney fanatics seem to be uncomfortable about the negative things written about him.. Who really knows how much of it is true, and how much is actually agenda? But from what I've been able to gather after reading about him for a long time, is that WD was a true visionary. Obvisouly, that's what most people admire about him and it's easy to notice.
At the same time, the guy was clearly driven. Driven beyond what would seem "normal". The biographies make him out to be a perfectionist, which probably coincides with his difficult personality around some of the people he worked with. Many perfectionists are not good managers of people. They just aren't. You can't be perfect at everything. Even Gabler's biography, which is considered fair and accurate, revealed WD to be somewhat of a tyrant when it comes managing and inspiring people. Again, he was a perfectionist and he wanted things done his way only but was probably not the best person to work for in a stressful situation.
Driven people are exceptionally demanding and Walt Disney was probably no exception. Just my opinion, but it doesn't change any of his accomplishments or taint his "Uncle Walt" image at all. It shows that he was not a perfect man, but a man who had faults. Really, it makes what he did with Disney extraordinary.
I remember hearing about a book a few years ago which is anti-Disney called The Emperor Rat.......I THINK that is the title.....which I refuse to read. Has anyone read this or heard about it?
Well, not to Walt's daughter...
Really, the fairest and best-researched Disney biography by somebody with no agenda or axe to grind is Bob Thomas' "Walt Disney, An American Original". Bob is an honest, hard-hitting biographer who was given carte blanche by the Disney family to write Walt's story the way he wanted to, PLUS he actually met and interviewed Walt several times. If you haven't read Bob's book yet, do. You're in for a real treat.
Go less by what you've read and more by what has been said by those who knew him. A better source would be "One Man's Dream" which is a documentary with interviews from those who knew them. There was something about him being a racist, which one of his black animators denied. Biographers can insert their own opinions, making primary sources better.
He was a perfectionist and he wanted to make his company great. All about himself? He put his family and company first. Crabby? Only when something didn't go the way he thought it should.
I've done two projects on him, and while he was not perfect, he was certainly was a good guy, not to mention a genius.
I used it for a book project once. It was really good.
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