Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Help Disneyfication...But Not The Bad Kind: 4.12

People who have been reading since at least the third season will know that I hail from somewhere over the rainbow. You know, where skies are blue? Every once in awhile, I hear about something from the Land of The Boring that I just have to write about. But unlike some previous rants, this one involves the entertainment industry-- specifically, the history of animation.

Now, I know Walt Disney was a xenophobic, right-wing bigot, but he is a towering, iconic sort of figure in American life, right up there with Ford. But then again, wasn't just about everyone a xenophobic, right-wing bigot at the time? Well, assuming they weren't a Communist sympathizer. So I think we all just need to chillax over Disney. Isn't that right, Bob Iger?

So back to the subject at hand-- the Disneyfication of Kansas City. You see, back in 1922, when he was a young animator, Walt Disney launched Laugh-o-Gram Studios after working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company as an animator for a few years. Disney's Laugh-o-Gram produced popular, but ultimately-unprofitable, short cartoons. It was here that Disney began his corruption/re-imagining of fairy tales into cartoon. Despite the popularity of Disney's cartoons, Laugh-o-Gram ended up folding just after a year and a half in business.

Shortly thereafter, Disney had done what many a Kansas Citian has done before him to seek success-- he left. Moving to Los Angeles, Disney would soon create Mickey Mouse (helpfully re-named from "Mortimer" by his wife) and launch an animation legacy of epic proportions.

Today, a group of Kansas Citians is trying to turn the drab, rundown building, the former Laugh-o-Gram Studios, into an interactive museum of animation, history and Disney. It will preserve a historic structure and serve, like my Rolodex, as a reminder that not everything important that happens in the movie biz happens in Southern California. Well, not at first, anyway. And that counts for something. Why Disney's ABC Extreme Home Makeover hasn't done a Extreme Museum Makeover on this puppy is astonishing, especially when you consider the total cost is about half of what they paid Lindsay Lohan to do Herbie: Fully Loaded.

For more on Disney's life, visit his Wikipedia page.

For more on renovation efforts, check out their website by clicking here.

Here's a bio of Disney's right-hand animator man in Kansas City, the improbably-named Ub Iwerks, who would later be instrumental in bringing Mickey Mouse to life. To read the bio, click here.

That's all folks. I'll be back soon with something snarkier.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's kind of cool, actually. I'm from KC, too, Atlas, but I had no idea Disney got his start there. It's just too bad the area near the studio is pretty much crackhouses and homeless people. Which wouldn't really square with the whole Disney image. . . but it would be funny if it happens.

6:14 PM

Anonymous Enrique said...

"That's all folks"... ironic, it's one of the taglines of Looney Tunes, one of Disney's biggest competitors :P Coincidence?

12:26 AM


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