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Thursday, July 23, 2015

brushing up on our disney history

after we'd gone back to the hotel to get cleaned up and relax a little, we met up with lilcee, MIL and the girls to do a little sightseeing.  one of the few places i really wanted to visit while we were up north was located here:

that's too broad of a hint, i suppose.  here, this will be clearer:

there was even a story behind the actual building the museum is housed in.

the moment you walk in, you're greeted by walt himself.  sorta.

just beyond the ticket counter was a replica of walt's apartment inside disneyland.  having done the "walk in walt's footsteps" tour at the happiest place on earth - way back on my 33rd birthday - we'd already seen the real thing.  still, this was fun to look at.

with tickets in hand, we got started on our walk through the life of walt disney.

these were earrings owned and worn by walt's mama.

reading a few of the displays and listening to the narrations, i learned that back in the day you only needed to be 16 to join the military.  against his father's wishes, walt got his mom to sign an affidavit of his birth so that he could do just that - only he was a year too young.  instead, he signed up with the red cross and was sent to france to drive an ambulance very similar to this one:

when he got back from france, his brother roy helped him land a job at a local art studio, which led to another position at an ad company where he found himself working on animated commercials.  he started working with cameras and creating animation cels, and eventually went off and started his own animation company with a few friends.

not much later, he and roy decided to head out to california, where they met a distributor for cartoons they'd created.  this is also when "oswald the lucky rabbit" was born, and they created a bunch of cartoon shorts.

right around that time, walt fell in love with an artist who was working for him, and they got married.

except that that distributor somehow managed to steal the rights to oswald right out from under them, along with a handful of their animators.  what a bunch of assholes.  but that walt, he was a clever one, and that's when he created everyone's favorite mouse.  this is the earliest known drawing of mickey right here:

because he's awesome, mickey gained popularity fairly quickly.  this wall was covered with sketches from mickey's first cartoon with sound (voiced by walt himself) - steamboat willie.  imagine - this is only a fraction of the drawings used to make that cartoon:

some of mickey's earliest appearances were right here in los angeles.  look - the pantages theater where we've been a number of times:

lilcee and i thought it was rather random that the museum was up here rather than closer to home, where walt achieved so much of his success.  they could have put it in burbank, hollywood, anaheim - all places that have strong ties to disney.  when we asked about it at the front desk, we were told that most of the remaining disney family members live up in the bay area.  so that was that.

here's a bunch of super old mickey merchandise.  this stuff is priceless.

 minnie came along later.  here's a couple of very early sketches of her with mickey:

and some fun quotes about walt and his friend.

there was a flowchart on the path ideas took from walt's head to the finished product:

and some interesting displays about a strike by disney animators and staffers that almost shut walt down completely.

upstairs, we were treated to a gorgeous view of the bay.

see that bench at the end back there?  that's one of the benches at griffith park where walt hung out with his daughters...and where the idea of disneyland came to him.

while his brother roy wasn't easily convinced, he knew this was a bazillion-dollar idea.  this was an early sketch of what he was envisioning, along with the written proposal he submitted to potential investors.

sixty years ago last week, he saw his dream turn into reality on disneyland's opening day.

this is a fantastic model of disneyland - not as it appeared on opening day, though.  this is how walt pictured it in his head.  and of course, "disneyland will never be completed.  it will continue to grow as long as there is imagination in the world."  the detail of this model was incredible, and i could have stood there and looked at it from all different angles for hours.  of course, with two little girls who were already bored, MIL who was trying her hardest to keep them entertained, and the hub who wasn't much more interested than the kids were, i had to limit myself to just a few minutes.

there were other fun pieces of disneyland memorabilia, though, like this original autopia car:

an example of audio animatronics:

and a sketch of one of the costumes for the "it's a small world" dolls.

here's a set of instructions for those who were attending the 1964 world's fair (where "it's a small world" was introduced).

and since all good things must come to an end, we learned about walt's final days and his eventual death.  

we picked up a handful of souvenirs in the gift shop, and then we parted ways with the lilcee family as we headed off to do a little more sightseeing by car.  i'm really glad we got to visit the museum - although i'm hoping to get to return when i go up for the nike half in october.  if i'm lucky, maybe the old lady will get to come too, so she can see it for herself.  she would be totally cool with hanging out and reading everything there is to read in the whole place.  she loves this stuff just as much as i do.

and - holy crap - they offer three week-long camp sessions in the summers for kids as young as 8.  they can learn about painting, sculpting, and creating animated stories.  OMG, i've gotta get the bean into this next year!  she would flip!

see?  there's disney magic everywhere!

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