And yet he was a doting father and grandfather. His children loved him. Though he spent most of his time at the studio — and the little time at home thinking about the studio — Disney’s quality time with his two daughters was sincere, and his love for them was reciprocated. His wife, Lillian, put up with his “studio-as-mistress,” as many women with inattentive husbands did in that era.
Gabler’s book tells a classic American story. Walt Disney grew up on a farm in Missouri, traveled West to pursue a dream and succeeded against all odds. He perfected a new medium — animation — that changed the world of entertainment. Gabler captures his influence: “He had created a new art form and then produced several indisputable classics within it — films that, even when they had not found an audience or been profitable on first release, had, as Walt predicted, become profitable upon reissue. He had provided escape from the Depression, strength during the war, and reassurance afterward, and he had shown generations of children how to accept responsibility while at the same time allowing them to vent vicariously their antagonisms toward the adult world they would soon enter.”
Speaking of classics, this book is one. It should capture every award worth giving. Meticulously researched over seven years and with material never before published, “Walt Disney” is the story of a man who overcame many obstacles, including those of his own making. It is the quintessential Horatio Alger myth writ large.
Walt Disney wished upon a star and his dream came true.
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