Walt’s First Park
First of all, I should touch on this question: so where have I been for the past two months? Though the DHI Blog once had a weekly rhythm—with the usual post every Monday—over the past year or so, I’ve been working on longer projects. For example, last spring, I posted up the 10-part history of Riverfront Square, that park Walt once wanted to build in St. Louis. More recently, I’ve been assembling the story of another unbuilt “amusement complex”—a 34-acre stunner that Walt wanted to create in 1938.
Yes, 1938—before Snow White was even a year old.
Like the series on Riverfront Square, this article, too, will be broken into multiple parts. Six parts, to be exact. We’re also including them on our podcast. Here’s the publishing schedule:
Monday – Dec 16 – Part 1 / Also Podcast 1 (with the first three parts)
Thursday – Dec 19 – Part 2
Monday – Dec 23 – Part 3
Thursday – Dec 26 – Part 4
Monday – Dec 30 – Part 5
Thursday – Jan 2 – Part 6 / Also Podcast 2 (with the final three parts)
The article was produced collaboratively by myself and Paul. But also we owe a debt of gratitude to various libraries and archives in the Los Angeles area, including facilities at UCLA and USC. We are tremendously indebted to Ed and wish to extend to him our deepest gratitude and friendship. Our thanks go out as well to Jim and Didier, especially for the work he’s collected in the fabulous Walt’s People series.
One final note: with the publication of Neal Gabler’s extensive book, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, many people felt that the major pieces of Walt’s life and ambitions had been placed into a manageable framework. Paul and I are continually surprised by the discoveries we come across. For us, the material in this article was challenging: it made us investigate the connection between Walt’s later interest in outdoor amusements and his earlier interest in feature animation. It also made us re-think the nature of Walt’s creativity. The fullness of Walt’s efforts are, probably, too large for any single biography. But to get into those details now would simply give away too much. I’d like to save all of the interesting surprises for the six-part article itself.
So with that, I’ll see you all Monday morning, when we shove off for Walt’s first park, 34-acres in Hollywood that Walt once wanted to convert into “amusements.”