When most people think of Walt Disney, they typically think of the smiling, friendly man behind the mouse standing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, riding one of his favorite trains, or in the animation studio with his Nine Old Men. While those are all apt descriptions of Walt, how much truth is there behind the image he presented? What separates the myth from the man?
One thing that must be primarily understood is that while Walt was definitely a visionary, an artist, an innovator, and a family man who loved and was loved by generations of children, he was still a man at the end of the day. In spite of what he gave the world, he was still a human being who had faults, problems, and vices. Walt smoked, he drank, he had a temper, but that was all hidden behind a facade crafted by a true showman. However, his team of Imagineers and animators knew better, and a recent TikTok shares their story.
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One quote that immediately stands out from the video is this,
“I’m not Walt Disney,.. I do a lot of things Walt Disney wouldn’t do. Walt Disney doesn’t smoke, I do. Walt Disney doesn’t drink, I drink.”
Not only did Walt not claim to be this magical and whimsical alter ego he’d cultivated for himself through the medium of film and television, but he plainly admitted that it was a mask he put on for the cameras. Did this make him a bad person? Absolutely not. However, those who worked with the famous Walt Disney saw a different side of him.
Animators and Imagineers like Rolly Crump, Ron Miller, and Richard Sherman share their intimate understanding of Walt and how he was in the studio. He had a massive fight with his brother, Roy, he wanted things done his way, he was always pushing the envelope, and he didn’t tolerate failure. Walt Disney did great, revolutionary things, but as Richard Schickle put it in the TikTok’s conclusion,
“No one who does things on the scale that he did is a good-natured, sweetheart of a guy.”
While Schickle’s statement is a bit harsh, it’s only true to a certain extent. Walt wasn’t perfect, but his passions and drive helped change the world of movies, television, and animation as we know it. He still loved those who loved his work, and he loved to make his viewers of all ages happy. In the end, there’s still only one Walt Disney, and there will never be another like him.
Would you have worked for Walt Disney? Tell us in the comments below!