Next Week: A Disneyland Vacation PLUS…a brief salute to Walt Disney himself

Hello! Takahashi-sensei again. Jeez…this sleepy-arm syndrome has been killing me for quite a week. I hope there’s a remedy for it somewhere. Anyway, in spite of it, I’m happy to announce that I will be going to Anaheim, California with my relatives for a week-long getaway at Disneyland Park and Resort.

Yes, I’ve been a fan of the works of Uncle Walt, just like any other child living on Earth. He still remains an important figure in the world of arts and entertainment. Not only did he construct a massive animation team of talent at a young age, he managed to outdo the competition, even during the Great Depression (you could very well say that the Fleischer Brothers were copycats). His team did what no other studio could do before: make a short subject cartoon with sound (Steamboat Willie(1928)), made the first use of Technicolor film (The Silly Symphony, Flowers and Trees(1932)), emulated live-action human movement through rotoscoping, whilst others made rubber-hosed figures, built a camera that could allow for multiple layers of artwork to be used in a single or multiple frames (which is now a staple in many digital graphic art and design applications), and made a full-length feature film (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(1937)) while others made short subjects out of their work.

Despite the success of the daring entreprenuer, however, his future projects of the early 1940s (namely Pinocchio and the expensive magnum opus concerto Fantasia(both 1940))would financially underperform domestically and abroad. But most of the flops were all thanks to endeavors of America’s enemy at the time, Nazi Germany, since World War II had already begun by that time. Fortunately, Disney’s team was funded by the U.S. Military to make propaganda films for the war effort. And single feature-length stories being adapted to the screen after its fifth film, Bambi(1942) were temporarily replaced by cheaper-to-make anthology films. They subsequently ended up becoming profitable enough for Disney to continue his passion of developing more detailed single-story films, even at the risk of going bankrupt. This led to the release of Cinderella(1950) at the start of the Baby Boom.

The 1950s became a potential era of success for Disney and his ever growing and changing team, thanks to the invention of the affordable television, which Disney’s team embraced thanks to a deal with ABC, which would later be bought by them in the 1990s. And guess where much of his profits went to? You guessed it: the development and construction of the major amusement park and resort in one, Disneyland, which would open in the summer of 1955! Walt, even after Disneyland’s grand opening would become a believer of this innovation that kept creeping up upon the world. He enlisted many engineers in hopes of making his newly envisioned project EPCOT a potential city of the future, but continued enlisting artists and animators for work on more animated projects, the last of which was The Jungle Book(1967), released a year after his untimely death at age 65. 50 years later, many creative minds and workers from sectors of the world to this very day continue to nurture his lifelong dream…of making Earth a place for the dreams of the people to come true. And it took even more than wishing upon a star to make a difference in the world that way.

This concludes my tribute to our friend, Uncle Walt Disney, whose animated works of art and appetite for innovation continue to stay true to the dreamers of today, and pioneers of tomorrow.

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