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Monday, June 02, 2008


It's a shame that Disney is seen by some as an evil empire. Pejoratives like Disneyfication are virtually synonymous with the sanitization and degradation of American culture. Why do I say a shame? - because Walt Disney was a real visionary and one of the most influential men of the 20th century - one of the creators of some of the most durable fictional characters. In his lifetime, Disney won fifty-nine Academy Award nominations and twenty-six Oscars
Perhaps it's just an inherent downside to anything really good - that it will be overdone, spun, extended, commercialized, branded, marketed. We live in a time when the means to overdo are readily available - powerful tools, technologies and ways of distribution. And of course the tremendous money behind it all drives everything.
Over the weekend, NYC was host to the first World Science Festival. This was a combination free outdoor street festival and also a series of programs with renowned scientists including many nobel laureates. The programs were ticketed events held around the city in various venues. Many were sold out. The free outdoor festival, held in and around Washington Square Park, was oriented towards the entertainment and education of children. See here for more photos of the event.
The central event was Lucky the Dinosaur - a free-roving audio-animatronic figure created by Disney's Imagineers over a period of five years and unveiled in 2005 (audio- animatotronics were invented by Disney and made their major debut in 1963 with a display of singing birds and flowers at The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Resort).
Dinosaurs are ever popular with children, so it should come as no surprise that Lucky is an enormous hit wherever he goes. He can walk, talk and interact with people. He also can sniffle, burp, hiccup, sneeze, yawn, cough, giggle, snort and purr ...


Rahul V. Chittella said...

:) brilliant!!:)
being a filmmaker myself, I can totally agree on what you have mentioned here!!:)

Anonymous said...

AMEN! The Disney thing is...scary.

I recently went to an adult...on a free ticket that I received through a friend, just to see what it was all about.

The Intesting and sad at the same time.

And people wonder how cults happen...? Now if we can just tie in Oprah somehow, we could start a new nation.

angie said...

Brian, you're so right about Disney. He was a visionary and a leader, it's amazing that when no film companies would hire him he rented a camera and set up a studio in a garage and began making his own animated cartoons - and created the first successful full length features. One of my fondest memories of childhood was watching Walt Disney with my family on Sunday nights.

• Eliane • said...

Interesting post.
On the one hand, I do agree with you: no doubt about it, Walt Disney was an icon, a great mind, a visionary.
However, you just mentioned the word that makes us cringe, Disneyification. And of course, I am thinking Times Square. I work in the area and I recognize a certain charm to the over-the-top factor.
But you see tourists crowding restaurants like The Hardrock Café or shops like Hersheys or M&Ms where the product sold has little or no value (chocolates of terrible quality that you could buy anywhere else). It's that last aspect that bugs me the most: those "amusement park" type of stores have nothing special, nothing unique, no character. You could have the exact same experience in say Hollywood, Vegas, ... Yet people would rather spend their precious time there than go to a park, visit a museum, go to a concert, try a local eatery, ... It is simply an exploitation of our stupidity.
(I'm will stop my rant here: I am starting to sound more and more like my father, lol)

Litsa Dremousis said...

The wee girl directly above Lucky's head seems to be asking, "What the hell is that thing?"