Sunday, 5 December 2010

THE MAN BEHIND THE MOUSE

This day, 109 years ago, saw the birth of a man who has probably had a more profound effect on my life and career than anyone else.

That man was WALTER ELIAS DISNEY...


My first exposure to the Works of Walt came in the early 1950s when, as a birthday treat, I was taken to a news-theatre (now long gone) on Waterloo Station. The programme included - in addition to Look At Life newsreel footage - a comedy short featuring Laurel and Hardy and a Disney cartoon...

On this fateful day, the chosen film was an already vintage Mickey Mouse short entitled Brave Little Tailor.


Originally issued in 1938, the film was based on the folk-tale of the tailor who accidentally gets appointed giant-killer.

Much of the film's classic knock-about humour was derived from the sequences following a scene in which the giant inadvertently swallows Mickey, along with an outsized handful of pumpkins, and then washes down his "meal" with the contents of an uprooted well...

At the sight of the intrepid Mickey swinging perilously on the Giant's giant uvula, the audience exploded with laughter - with one exception: ME! I was so totally terrified that I screamed the cinema down and, to my parents great embarrassment, had to be forcibly removed!

In the hopes of mollifying this traumatised child, I was whisked away to a Lyon's Corner House where, I am told, I stood on a chair and used my ice-cream spoon to conduct the band...

But, too late! The scars were already there and the seeds were sown for what has been a lifetime obsession with Disney's dreams and nightmares.

So – apart from pointing out the obvious dangers of taking young and impressionable children to the movies – what can I say but...

Thanks (and Many Happy Returns), Uncle Walt!


2 comments:

A Snow White Sanctum said...

That's hilarious...although at the time, probably not so much for you Brian.

My first exposure to Disney was seeing Jungle Book in the theater when I was six. My parents and I sat through the movie twice in a row...a very memorable, yet much less traumatic experience than yours.

Andy J. Latham said...

Great story Brian. I recall my introduction to Disney being a viewing of Bambi at my Nana's house one Christmas. I have no idea of my age, but I'd guess about five years old. Needless to say I bawled my eyes out!

The shocking truth though is that I have not seen Bambi since that evening! Can you believe that?! Well I plan to rectify that when the film is re-released soon :)