Out of the Disney Vault: Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives
Feed the birds, would you?
Depending on how long you’ve paid attention to my nonsense online, you may recall that I used to co-host a weekly podcast about Disney movies called Mousterpiece Cinema. (If you did not know this, now that you do, you may well have a good sense of why my social-media handle is “mousterpiece.” I am glad to have resolved this burning mystery for you.) This podcast was very much an inexplicable labor of love on the part of myself and my various co-hosts. (“Inexplicable” because since it was never something that raked in any amount of money, it doesn’t make sense to me that anyone else would have wanted to participate in the madness with me. But they did!) It was also something that offered a couple of unexpected bonuses.
One of those bonuses occurred in the summer of 2017, and this is very much going to be a braggy section, so fair warning. As inexplicable as it was that we did this podcast, it was even more inexplicable to me that people…y’know, listened to the podcast. One of those people is an animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios, a fun fact that also served as a moderately terrifying thing to consider any time we talked about a newer effort. Not that I would want to hold back on sharing an opinion as much as realizing that…well, at least one person involved in one of those films might be listening in. This animator was friendly and kind, and that was before he invited me and one of my co-hosts, Gabe Bucsko, to tour the studio if I was ever in the Burbank area. (Gabe lives in that general neighborhood. I do not.)
Well, the thing about a Disney nerd like me being offered the chance to tour Walt Disney Animation Studios is that I am going to find a way to get to Burbank as soon as I can. So, that summer, my wife and I and our then-3-year old met up with Gabe and got that insider tour of the studio. I can only say that it is as wonderful and delightful (and arguably for folks who work at the studio, probably just an average day) as you would expect. My favorite part (and it’s been 6 years, but I have no hesitation here) was getting to see a real, live multi-plane camera up close and personal. That’s true history staring you in the face.
I was thinking about that tour — given to us by our dedicated listener/Disney animator — as I watched the hourlong documentary Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives. On one hand, I can’t say I had the same experience in person — I didn’t get to go into the Archives. On the other, I don’t feel like that hourlong experience was remotely as illuminating. I was mostly asking myself as I watched, “…who exactly is this for?”