Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The first of many tributes to Roy Disney

Not even the magical Disneyland could make it through the holiday season a step ahead of the grim, grinning Celebrity Reaper of 2009 who has taken far too many influential, beloved and important pop culture figures and given us too much fodder from which to choose for our Death of The Day column. This morning, Roy Disney has passed onto another magic kingdom, and already the tributes are pouring in through the Tabloid Baby transom: This one from leading Disneyana expert, Los Angeles historian and Hollywood Thoughts blogger LA Dodger Jon:

Many like to tell the story about how Roy Disney’s Uncle Walt once referred to him as his “idiot nephew.” This writer prefers to remember Roy Disney, Jr as a savior for the body of work that his uncle – and father – built over a half century.

In 1984 it looked all but certain that the Walt Disney Studios was headed towards a hostile takeover. The studio, its library and the beloved theme parks would have all been dismantled, split apart and/or spun off. It’s because of Roy that you’re not passing through the gates of the Anaheim M&M’s Magical Kingdom… or a Disney World that’s been snapped-up by a giant Beatrice-like mega corp…

Thanks to Roy Disney’s efforts, Frank Wells and Michael Eisner were hired and the Disney company averted disaster and thrived.

While it’s not wholly wrong to view the Disney outfit itself as a mega corporation these days, it’s hard to argue about the contribution they’ve made to art… and a whole lot of childhood memories.

I’m happy to take the hit for sounding schmaltzy, but I’m also a dad that’s pleased he has family fare to watch in the theatre with his son… or still gets excited packing the family in the car for a fun ride at the theme park.

Thanks, Roy.

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