Category Archives: Supplements

Walter Elias Disney, 1901-1966

“I’d rather entertain and hope that people learn, than teach and hope that people are entertained.”

Walter Elias Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966 during the production of The Jungle Book. He was a chain smoker, suffered from a chronic cough that alerted others to the fact that he was in the room, and eventually died from complications from lung cancer.

Little more than a month before his death, he checked into hospital to undergo surgery related to what he thought was an old polo injury. But x-rays revealed a large lesion on his left lung, which turned out to be a tumour. Doctors performed a pneumonectomy — removing the entire lung — and estimated that Walt would return to work four-to-six weeks later.

“There is no reason to predict any recurrence of the problem or curtailment of his future,” doctors told United Press International. That article was printed on Nov. 23, 1966. Within two weeks, he died of acute circulatory failure.

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Disneyland: The happiest place on earth

“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 savour the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, 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.”

— Walter E. Disney, July 17, 1955

As a kid who has yet to experience the magic of Disneyland, it’s almost torture as those around you make the trip. I remember feeling an intense amount of jealousy when a classmate would announce an upcoming family trip. Being the oldest of many, many siblings, a family trip was an almost certain impossibility. My mother knew of this longing first hand. Being from a large family herself, she would often tell us kids that during one family road trip to Southern California, each of the kids knew they were but miles away from the park but the hope of stepping inside was merely a dream.

My first trip to the Magic Kingdom was the summer after I graduated high school. I made the trip down the west coast of the United States with my dear friend Laura and her parents. Walking through the front gates, I was in complete awe. There is an indescribable magic to every cog in the Disney theme park wheel. Everything runs like clockwork, sparing no expense at the delight and whimsy of guests. It is an experience I won’t ever forget, the magic only eclipsed by our visit to Disney World last September.

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Walt Disney’s war effort

This is the first in a planned series of supplemental posts that we’ll write occasionally in between our regular film updates.

Disney at warDumbo was released in late fall 1941. Little more than a month afterward, though, Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and the United States immediately joined the Second World War. Walt Disney, sometimes at the request of the U.S. government, was prepared to use the considerable force of his studio to help the Allied Forces. The studio’s characters quickly appeared on posters and in films to promote war-related causes and to help spread propaganda, uniting the country against the Nazis and the Japanese.

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