THE DISNEY STORY
Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Parks
By Aaron H. Goldberg
211 pp. Quaker Scribe Publishing. $15.95.
There are many books written about Walt and Roy Disney, as well as The Walt Disney Company. Some of them give top-line information and some of them are extremely detailed. Some of them are perfect for those who are new to Disney history and some of them are for those already steeped in its history. However, Aaron Goldberg has written a book not only for those that are well-versed in Disney history, but also those who are not.
Goldberg's book, The Disney Story: Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Parks presents Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company and the Parks decade-by-decade. It's a well-written book that starts in the 1930's with Steamboat Willie and concludes in 2016 with the opening of Shanghai Disney.
What makes this book unique is that Goldberg supports the topics he covers with actual stories from newspaper and magazine articles told word-for-word exactly as these outlets reported. "Instead of my words telling the story," says Goldberg. "You'll get a chance to read the hundreds of other voices that told the Disney story over the decades, along with the most important voice of all, Walt's." The other thing that makes this book unique is that every quote and story that Goldberg features in the book can be found, in its entirety, online at www.thedisneystory.com.
Although he doesn't, nor could he cover everything that happened every year, Goldberg does an excellent job of including the major events in each decade.
In the 1930's, Goldberg talks about the birth of Diane Disney and how on December 18, 1933, Walt had to leave in the middle of an award ceremony for him to rush to the hospital for Diane's birth. He also discusses the Silly Symphonies, the creation of Donald Duck, the introduction of Technicolor to Disney animation and the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Two of the many interesting tidbits about the Snow White were that during the premiere, the biggest names in Hollywood - Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Mary Pickford and 1,500 other attendees paid $5.50 each to attend and see the film. In addition to being the first major feature length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first sound motion picture to be transferred to long playing disks for the visually impaired. Read the story here.
In the 1940's, he discusses when the Walt Disney Company went public, as well as the salaries of Walt and Roy Disney. The 40's also saw Walt's trip to South America, the release of Song of the South and Bambi, among other milestones.
The 1950's and 60's were very big years for Disney and brought about a lot of changes for him and the Company. In the 50's, Goldberg spends a good deal of time on Walt's foray into television and the opening of Disneyland. He also discusses the popularity of Davy Crockett. Basically, Davy was the Elsa of his day. Read about the Crockett Craze here. The 60's gave us the introduction of Audio-Animatronics (read the story here), Disney's participation in the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, the release of Mary Poppins, the announcement of the "Florida Project" - Walt Disney World. (Read the story here) and sadly the death of Walt Disney. The 60's chapter is full of amazing stories, but what I found fascinating was that if it wasn't for Joan Crawford, the "it's a Small World" pavilion may have never come to fruition.
The 70's cover a number of stories including the opening of Walt Disney World (Read here) and the passing of Roy O. Disney (Read here). In the 80's, Goldberg discusses the opening of a number of new Parks including EPCOT (Read here), Tokyo Disneyland, the Disney-MGM Studios, the beginning of the Michael Eisner era (Read here) and other events. The 90's was about all the changes Eisner was making, as well as the renaissance of Disney Animation.
In true Disney fashion big changes continue to unfold when we enter Y2K. Goldberg has a lot of area to cover here and does an excellent job touching on what is considered some of the most important events in Disney history including the downfall of Michael Eisner and the succession of Bob Iger, the opening of a number of new parks under Eisner and Iger. Under Bob Iger, we also get the acquisition of Pixar (Read here), Marvel (Read here) and LucasFilms Ltd (Read here).
The Disney Story: Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Parks is a must-read book for Disney fans of all levels. Additionally, spend some time exploring all the articles Goldberg links to on his website. They make for fascinating reading and will give you a new appreciation and understanding of the world of Disney.