Monday, May 28, 2012

Renovating a Landmark

Restoration of the first Disney studio.:

For 15 years, a Kansas City group has raised money to revitalize Laugh-O-Gram, Walt Disney’s first professional animation studio, and turn it into an interactive historical site, educational museum and perhaps more.

Now, 90 years after Disney began work there in May 1922, organizers are launching their final fund-raising push, hoping to complete the project by 2015. ...

The American impulse is (usually) to tear down anything that's seventy or eighty years old. What possible good can it be? Why save something decrepit?

Maybe to throw a light on where we've been? To maybe give us a hint to where we might be going?

Walt Disney was like a lot of hand-to-mouth filmmakers in the early days of the motion picture industry. He opened a store-front and hired a few guys. He started creating product that he thought would sell and catch fire. The fact that his company ultimately grew into an international conglomerate while lots of other people -- the Fleischers, Walter Lantz, to name two -- came and ultimately went says something about his drive and genius.

But it also says something about the fickle finger of fate. Walt Disney Productions could have sunk beneath the red ink of bankruptcy a number of times like other studios, but didn't. Outside forces came together at opportune moments, and the studio kept going. All the way from Kansas City to today. And Michael Eisner, Robert Iger, and a myriad of other human beings are the richer for it.

ht/ Jay Jackson and Merry Kanawyer Klingen.


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