Fri, 11 September 2015
Nearly 50 years after his death, Walt Disney continues to fascinate us. A giant entertainment and media company that he co-founded thrives under his name, and dozens upon dozens of fansites, blogs and podcasts—including this one—exist because of what Walt created: a universe of fantasy and adventure where wishing on stars makes dreams come true and anything is possible with a little faith, trust and pixie dust. While many respect, even idolize Walt, he wasn’t without his detractors—no one who achieved as much success as he did is beyond reproach. For all his talent, creative vision and charisma, he could also be stubborn, short-tempered and distant. In other words, human.
Much has been documented of Walt’s myriad accomplishments in animation, live-action film, television and themed entertainment. That’s the easy part. More complicated is understanding what made Walt tick. What fueled his ambitions? Was his true nature that of the avuncular host TV viewers saw every week, or did he just use it to hide a deeper, darker persona? Many a historian and researcher has attempted to answer these questions with varying levels of success. Filmmaker Sarah Colt is the latest person to join the conversation. Her four-hour documentary, Walt Disney will air over two nights September 14th and 15th on PBS as part of the network’s American Experience series.
Sarah has worked in public television for nearly twenty years. She’s an Emmy Award winner whose directing and producing credits include the documentaries Henry Ford and The Polio Crusade, both for American Experience. In their conversation today, Tim and Sarah talk about how her Walt Disney project came to be and how she managed to make her film with the cooperation--but without the interference--of the Walt Disney Company. We also explore Walt Disney’s legacy and discuss how best to judge his 20th century persona through a 21st century filter. Sarah Colt is Tim's guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge.