It would take more time than anybody has around the daily news shops to think of the right thing to say about Walt Disney.
He was an original; not just an American original, but an original, period. He was a happy accident; one of the happiest this century has experienced; and judging by the way it's been behaving in spite of all Disney tried to tell it about laughter, love, children, puppies, and sunrises, the century hardly deserved him.
He probably did more to heal or at least to soothe troubled human spirits than all the psychiatrists in the world. There can't be many adults in the allegedly civilized parts of the globe who did not inhabit Disney's mind and imagination at least for a few hours and feel better for the visitation.
It may be true, as somebody said, that while there is no highbrow in a lowbrow, there is some lowbrow in every highbrow.
But what Walt Disney seemed to know was that while there is very little grown-up in a child, there is a lot of child in every grown-up. To a child this weary world is brand new, gift wrapped; Disney tried to keep it that way for adults.
By the conventional wisdom, mighty mice, flying elephants, Snow White and Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, and Dopey—all these were fantasy,, escapism from reality. It's a question of whether they are any less real, any more fantastic than intercontinental missiles, poisoned air, defoliated forests, and scraps from the moon. This is the age of fantasy, however you look at it, but Disney's fantasy wasn't lethal. People are saying we'll never see his like again.
December 15, 2011
December 15, 1966
Eric Sevareid said it best on the CBS Evening News on this day. Just forty-five years ago, but doesn't it seem like so much longer?