Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Man Behind The Magic: A Book Report

I just recently finished reading the book The Man Behind the Magic-- The Story of Walt Disney by Katherine and Richard Greene.  Although it was first published in 1991, I was able to borrow it from my town library.   This book took the reader from the early years of Walt in Marceline, Missouri through the current status of the company as of 1990.  The chapters are short and easily manageable. 

The information covered in this book details the first drawings of Oswald (who has had new life breathed into him through the Epic Mickey game) and the birth of Mickey Mouse and the Fab Five.  There is also a lot of information about the development of the studio, the animated shorts and feature length films, the live action division of the company and the disagreements between Walt and his brother Roy, who guided the company’s financial growth throughout its development.

Some of the details that I had found most interesting was that Walt and Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s) were in the same unit during World War I and the level of trust that Walt Disney initially had in the people who he work with either within his company or who helped with the distribution of the products he made.

I was very aware that Walt Disney was a visionary and perfectionist.  He was much more interested in the quality of his work than in the cost that it took to get it there.  I loved the fact that Walt was so invested in the cleanliness of the parks and the treatment of the guests.  I do believe that this is something that can still be felt walking through the parks today. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about Walt Disney the person or Walt Disney the company.  It amazes me what Walt Disney was able to do in 65 brief years.  The dreams that he was working on at the time of his death have been allowed to come to life in the form of Walt Disney World and Epcot.  Although one will never know exactly what he had in mind, we have been given a chance to share in his passion for education and entertainment with a dose of patriotism.    

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