Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Walt Disney Family Museum (Part 2)

Continuing from yesterday, once the museum got into Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the focus shifted from Walt to the studio. The "family" part of the Walt Disney Family Museum is mostly absent; it's really more of a museum about the man and the company, than about the man and his family.

Really, I think the only thing I learned about Walt's non-business life was the fact that he was a train nerd, and he had a large collection of miniature models, some of which were on display.  Every room had a little display about his family members, but they were easily missed in favor of the bigger displays about the great movies his company made.

Snow White was a hit, and they built a new, bigger studio.  They made Pinocchio, Bambi and Fantasia, which are good movies to be sure, but they were sort of flops at the box office, compared to how expensive they were.  After that, Dumbo was made on the cheap, and it regained a lot of lost profits from the previous films.

Then there was a strike, and World War Two occurred. That sort of ruined the studio for the rest of the decade; most of what they made were package films or shorts paid by government subsidies, none of which get much attention nowdays.

But with Cinderella in 1950, the studio became big again.  Walt's focus ventured into other projects, such as live action films and television and Disneyland.  All the other exhibits were about those things, with a final exhibit about Walt's unexpected death due to a lung tumor.  He was a lifetime smoker, which is why his lungs were in bad shape.

The final part of the museum was positively overrun with elderly baby boomers.  They had loud conversations about all sorts of things they remembered from the 50's and the 60's.  "I remember the In Living Color show!", "President Kennedy was better at debates than President Obama is", and other such phrases could be heard with some frequency.  I suppose that was the only downside to the museum; the 50's and 60's exhibits were incredibly crowded compared to the other exhibits.

All in all, it was an interesting museum, and not a bad way to spend 2-3 hours.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read a biography about Walt Disney this summer. It was really good. Yes, Walt loved trains; at one point he constructed a train set at his house.