Rick William Elkin was born in Pasadena, California,
By now you have all heard about Meryl Streep’s crazy attack on Walt Disney while honoring her good friend Emma Thompson at the January National Board of Review awards ceremony.
Her words have now completely eclipsed what for Emma was an enchanting night. Worse yet, her condescending and slanderous comments were, predictably, wrong.
(If you want first hand evidence of just how wrong Ms. Streep was, follow the link below where a longtime former employee, sets the record straight.*)
As for me, I am not surprised by Ms. Streep. She has a reputation for knee-jerk activism. Remember the Alar apple scare of 1989? Her claims that a chemical used to sanitize apples called Alar could cause cancer and birth defects caused millions of dollars of damage to the apple industry. Later, Science Magazine studies showed her claims were massive over reaction, not supported by any direct, collaborated scientific evidence, and were based on rumor.
Attacking Walt Disney as a bigot is over-the-top disgusting! Meryl Streep, as good an actor as she is, can't carry Walt Disney's jock strap!
Walt Disney has had more positive influence in my life than any other worldly man. And I would be willing to bet, I am not alone.
As a 5 year old, I spent the greatest day of my life at the Grand Opening of Disneyland in July of 1955.
At Frontierland, I rode the Mark Twain Riverboat. At Adventureland, we took a Jungle River Cruise that scared the heck out of me. In Tomorrowland, I was an astronaut on The Rocket To The Moon, and drove a car at Autopia! And the most incredible of all, the Submarine ride at Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
I went home and made a deal with my Dad to buy a piece of real estate in the corner of our yard to build my own version of Disneyland in the dirt. He wrote up a deed and I gave him some money from my piggybank. My first real estate deal at 5 years old!
Our family watched every single episode of Disneyland on Sunday nights. We looked forward to sharing Walt’s visionary ideas and great storytelling. I was inspired to draw cartoons by Goofy; seriously!
The weekly show went on to be the longest running primetime TV series in television history. It’s main sponsor, Coca Cola went on to be the most widely distributed and consumed beverage in the history of mankind. Walt Disney Studios is the largest media conglomerate, in terms of revenue, in the world. I have often wondered, is that a coincidence?
I put Walt Disney in a class by himself. The depth and width of his imagination and influence, in art, music, film and TV entertainment, protecting and appreciating the environment, understanding foreign cultures and practices, far exceeds Steve Jobs, Oprah, Ghandi, Mandela, Gates, Carnegie, Henry Ford, or even The Beatles!
The Disney Brand encircles the World, and continues to stimulate the minds of children and adults with futuristic ideas and exciting amusements, not to mention its worldwide dominance in animation technology and film making. Disney inspired products are serving third and fourth generation families, enjoyed equally by men, women, children and adults in hundreds of languages.
The Walt Disney Legacy of Inspiration…creative thinking!
Disney opened the doors of imagination in many kids. Kids who grew up to become rocket scientists, submarine captains, racecar drivers, cartoon animators, special effects engineers, and ecological conservationists who were inspired by a trip down the Jungle Boat river ride.
The man and his team of writers, artists, musicians and choreographers reached into the inner chambers of children’s minds and gave them permission to dream, and even more importantly, to pursue and build what you dream!
Walt Disney made the intangible tangible. Think about that…
I feel sorry for Ms. Streep. I can only hope she might get an attitude adjustment by spending a day or two at the Happiest Place on Earth.
*To hear the point of view of one of Walt’s oldest artist employees, read ‘Sophie’s Poor Choice’ at Floyd Norman’s blog…..