"Its a fancy thing to be remembered as the man that invented a mouse"
— Walt Disney, 1966
On the limited public perceptions of his life's work.
On the day of Walt's untimely death, CBS News' Eric Sevareid delivered what many consider his definitive eulogy. Begin with the words: “It would take more time than anybody has around the daily news shops to think of the right thing to say about Walt Disney..."
In the ensueing decades, this statement solidfied in the public consciouness and confined Walt's life to something far less than his accomplishments and dynamic intellect.
By now, we've had more than enough time develop a better vision for the man that brought us so much more than mice, and princesses.
The following is my refocusing of Walt's life and legacy to something a bit more accurate and inspiring...
It has taken decades to quantify the enormous impact of Walt Disney, and yet still come up woefully short.
He was much more than an original — a completely unique singularity divinely sent to provide the brightest light in the twentieth century. And although we hardly deserved him he was exactly what we needed to stave off obliteration.
He probably did more to provide hope and restoration to the human spirit than all the psychiatrists in the world. In the past 115 years, there have not been many individuals on this planet that have not benefited from his vision and perspective for which we should be profoundly grateful.
Walt seemed to have an innate ability to provide entertainment with enlightenment that allowed everyone, young and old, the sophisticated and naive to transcend our circumstances and aspire to a brighter tomorrow — seeing a new world beyond our present reality.
Conventional perceptions are that he dealt in purely escapist realms of fantasy. But the reality of his work paints a far different picture than the water-colored backgrounds of his animated films. From his many “firsts”, technological and artistic milestones, to his still lesser known influence on major historical events Walt’s legacy can be felt to this day.
It has been said “that we’ll never see his like again.” BUT by emulating his insistence for quality, dedication to excellence, commitment to effective communication, and his persistent optimism, WE can insure his spirit will live on hundreds of years into the future.