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…and I dig it:
“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.”
- Walt Disney
…by author Neal Gabler titled Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination.
A lot of Walt’s personal life is touched on, and his home on Lyric Avenue here in Los Angeles (where he lived from 1927 to 1933) is mentioned numerous times throughout the book.
There’s even an old black-and-white photo of it in the book (click on all photos to view a larger version):
This morning, while on my way to a meeting, I came to an intersection and noticed that I was crossing Lyric Avenue. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “this was Disney’s street.”
But it was a quick, fleeting thought because I had to be somewhere. I looked to my right to make sure no one was crossing the street and saw this:
I recognized it immediately. I quickly turned right instead of going straight and saw this:
This was Roy Disney’s house. The brothers had built matching houses (for the most part; they were actually mirrors of each other) right next to each other on Lyric Avenue.
Here’s another shot of Walt’s house from the other side:
And here’s a shot of the two of them next to each other:
Though differing stories exist, it is believed that Mickey Mouse was actually created in the garage of Walt’s house. Just below that big window there is where a pop culture icon was born.
Across the street, I noticed a huge old high school:
This is John Marshall High School. Recognize it? You should. Marshall High School is pretty much the go-to high school for film and television productions. It was the high school in:
- “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
- “Bachelor Party”
- “Boy Meets World”
- “The Wonder Years”
- “Grosse Pointe Blank”
- “A Nightmare on Elm Street”
- “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
- “Pretty in Pink”
They also used the school and its football field in “Grease,” and it was also the school where Van Halen got “Hot for Teacher.”
And tying it all together is this photo:
This is a picture of the first Disney Studios that was located on Hyperion Avenue. If you look in the background of the photo, directly in the center you can see John Marshall High School which, having just been built in 1931, was brand-spanking-new.
So there’s a ton of history going on all within one block, from Freddy Krueger to Mickey Mouse. Pretty damn cool indeed.
Some day strangers will be taking photos of 1703 W. Bolivar Avenue,
…from 1956, the second year the park was in business. It even features never-before-seen footage of Walt!
Pretty awesome. Enjoy, my fellow Disnerds!
Here you leave today,
…to do two amazing things:
1. I saw a rough cut of a documentary that will be out later this fall that is amazing, especially if you’re an art school nerd like myself. Legally, I can’t say anything about what I saw, but as soon as I’m allowed to do so I’ll write all about it right here, so stay tuned.
2. I took a quick (and possibly illegal) tour of Disney’s back lot in Burbank. Yeah, I got to see the sound stages and all that movie-making stuff, but the coolest part was walking by the original animation buildings that Walt built. All of Disney’s Golden Age of animation was created there, from “Peter Pan” to “The Jungle Book.” I’d been trying to get on the lot for awhile now, and last night I was finally lucky enough to do just that. Very, very cool.
Special thanks to the person who got me on; you know who you are.
More on this later… I promise,
Note: Also check out these strips of Mickey Mouse shilling amphetamines in Africa!
I’m reading this new book by author Alix Strauss called Death Becomes Them. It’s an in-depth look into numerous celebrity suicides and a very interesting read, to say the least. The book doesn’t come out until September, and I will do a more detailed review at a later time, but for right now I wanted to talk about a few old comic strips from 1930.
The book briefly mentions a series of Disney comic strips that ran in the daily papers from October 8th through the 24th in 1930. Written and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson, and inked by Gottfredson and Hardie Gramatky, the strips tell the story of a depressed Mickey Mouse as he tries to commit suicide after Minnie leaves him for a huckster named Mr. Slicker.
You can learn more about the full story here.
The best part? Even though Gottfredson was the chief writer of the run (titled “Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers”) the idea was conceived and pushed into production by Walt!
“Why don’t you do a continuity of Mickey trying to commit suicide,” he told Gottfredson. “I think it will be funny.”
Funny indeed, Walt!
Back in the thirties, suicide and near-death humor was big; both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton were constantly putting themselves in danger onscreen, and Walt was a big fan of both silent actors.
There are more of these strips out there, but I could only find four hi-res versions. If you do a quick Google search though you should be able to find more.
Click on each strip to view a hi-res version: