PBS American Experience goes 'Walt' in 2015

216bruce

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks for the link. How will I remember this in 2015? Oh hopefully we will receive another friendly reminder form original poster/ nice person.
I assume it'll be discussed a little bit on these boards as it approaches.
 

radiohost

Well-Known Member
They just released the trailer. I can already tell based on who they interviewed, this will be the best documentary on Walt Disney ever produced. It will make "Man behind the Myth" look like an embarrassment.

This doc will not play it safe and not worry, like docs of the past, about pleasing Diane Disney Miller. This will be an honest, fair approach about the most forward thinking visionary of the 20th Century.
 

216bruce

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
They just released the trailer. I can already tell based on who they interviewed, this will be the best documentary on Walt Disney ever produced. It will make "Man behind the Myth" look like an embarrassment.

This doc will not play it safe and not worry, like docs of the past, about pleasing Diane Disney Miller. This will be an honest, fair approach about the most forward thinking visionary of the 20th Century.
Totally agree. I admire the hell out of Diane and what she built in SF for the family and her dad, but she did have a tendency to whitewash some. Walt, warts and all, was still THE single most influential person on mass culture in 20th century America. I hope that the PBS special doesn't go too far in the other direction and look for dirt and reasons to trash him. They are usually very, very intelligent and fair. Hope that trend continues.
 

radiohost

Well-Known Member
This doc will do the following:

Show an honest assessment of Walt which will make the public appreciate him more. It's the "why" that will captivate people.

Will shut down any notion that Walt was a bigot or anti-semite, by showing how the rumor came about and why Walt did not dispel the rumor (for some reason) in that it was guilt by association. That's why I am so glad Neal Gabler is one of the main interviewees. There is documented evidence found by Gabler that backs him up.

Will show that he was in fact not so much an original as he was aboriginal. That he was in the perfect place at the perfect amount and spent his life in the pursuit of wish fulfillment.
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
This doc will do the following:

Show an honest assessment of Walt which will make the public appreciate him more. It's the "why" that will captivate people.

Will shut down any notion that Walt was a bigot or anti-semite, by showing how the rumor came about and why Walt did not dispel the rumor (for some reason) in that it was guilt by association. That's why I am so glad Neal Gabler is one of the main interviewees. There is documented evidence found by Gabler that backs him up.

Will show that he was in fact not so much an original as he was aboriginal. That he was in the perfect place at the perfect amount and spent his life in the pursuit of wish fulfillment.
Bob Thomas found plenty of evidence about that anti-Semite/bigot stuff being bogus as well. His Walt biography is superior to Gabler's IMO.
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Just curious for conversation sake, why do think his book is "superior" to Gablers book?
Bob Thomas actually interviewed Walt himself several times, and witnessed the construction of Disneyland, so he had a firmer grasp on Walt's personality than Gabler did. Also, it seemed to me that Gabler, at times, wrote his book with a bit of a slant to appeal to the bash-Walt crowd - although at least he didn't overdo it TOO much. In my opinion, anyway. Diane Disney, Walt's daughter, absolutely hated Gabler's book, especially his portrayal of her parents' marriage, and chided the Disney company for helping Gabler write it. Her words on the subject, as written by Michael Barrier, author of the great book "The Animated Man - the Life of Walt Disney":


I've often criticized Neal Gabler's book, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, for its many factual inaccuracies and for its misrepresentation of Walt Disney himself. My dislike for Gabler's biography is shared by a very important member of the Disney family. Early this month, Diane Disney Miller, Walt's surviving daughter, sent a fax to a number of executives at the Walt Disney Company, denouncing the book as "a monstrous piece of libelous junk. My parents were not the people he creates in this book, and I cannot understand why all of you who aided and abetted Gabler in writing this book, and who praise it and promote it, can do so without suffering serious qualms."

http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Essays/Diane_On_Gabler/Diane_On_Gabler.html
 

216bruce

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Bob Thomas actually interviewed Walt himself several times, and witnessed the construction of Disneyland, so he had a firmer grasp on Walt's personality than Gabler did. Also, it seemed to me that Gabler, at times, wrote his book with a bit of a slant to appeal to the bash-Walt crowd - although at least he didn't overdo it TOO much. In my opinion, anyway. Diane Disney, Walt's daughter, absolutely hated Gabler's book, especially his portrayal of her parents' marriage, and chided the Disney company for helping Gabler write it. Her words on the subject, as written by Michael Barrier, author of the great book "The Animated Man - the Life of Walt Disney":


I've often criticized Neal Gabler's book, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, for its many factual inaccuracies and for its misrepresentation of Walt Disney himself. My dislike for Gabler's biography is shared by a very important member of the Disney family. Early this month, Diane Disney Miller, Walt's surviving daughter, sent a fax to a number of executives at the Walt Disney Company, denouncing the book as "a monstrous piece of libelous junk. My parents were not the people he creates in this book, and I cannot understand why all of you who aided and abetted Gabler in writing this book, and who praise it and promote it, can do so without suffering serious qualms."

http://www.michaelbarrier.com/Essays/Diane_On_Gabler/Diane_On_Gabler.html
Not disagreeing with you, but just an alternate take.
First, I love both of the books. However...just imagine if someone wrote a book about one of your parents and presented them to the public from the perspective of someone outside of the family, removing your bias and looking at that parent with a fresh 'eye'. I know if someone did that for one of my folks that the resulting view would certainly be different than what I saw as a member of the family. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse- just different. I've read both of those books twice, along with Barrier's book (once). I really don't see Gabler presenting Walt as anything other than a human being. He doesn't come off 'bad'- just human. The Thomas book seems almost like a studio bio compared to it, but I really think that Diane couldn't, by nature of being family, look at Walt/Dad as being anything different from what she saw as a daughter. I know if it was my dad the Gabler book was about that I would have a hard time coming to grips with the idea that maybe the marriage to mom wasn't perfect or he could be somewhat 'different' than the guy I knew. Anyway, I'm willing to bet that the PBS doc will show him to be a human- warts and all. I also would have been surprised that it would have been made at all if Diane was still around. I find it great to have a balance by reading all three of these bios but I understand Diane's objection.
Personally, I find it very refreshing to see Walt as a human and not as a deity. It makes him more approachable, believable and the story more interesting. When you look at the amount and variety of the interviews and research that Gabler did for his book, it's hard to argue with the portrait that it draws, even if you don't want to 'like' it all. The Thomas book, even though it has a first-hand experience with Walt interviews, doesn't have the blessing of time and distance from it's subject that Gabler's book does. Just an opinion.
 
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Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Well, I respect that opinion, but I don't think Thomas' book painted Walt as a deity. That wasn't Bob Thomas' style. He was known for pulling no punches with his biographies, and had a reputation for honesty. As for Diane's bias....she was a grown person when she protested Gabler's book. I imagine that time and maturity might have sharpened her insight about her father. But anyway, I still think that people who actually lived with/talked with the man know better than an outsider who tries to take a particular slant in his writings. But to each his/her own.

BTW, I'm not saying that Gabler's book is all bad. It's not the facetious atrocities that "Dark Prince" or "Disney Version" were. But I still prefer Thomas'. FWIW.
 
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