Friday, 9 January 2015

58 The Wonderful World of Disney

First  watched  : 1971

I   honestly  can't  remember  much  else  about  those  years  except  a  certain  mood  that  permeated  most  of  them , a  melancholy  feeling  that  I  associate  with  watching  " The  Wonderful  World  of  Disney"  on  Sunday  nights.  Sunday  was  a  sad  day - early  to  bed, school  the  next  morning, I  was  constantly  worried  my  homework  was  wrong -  but  as  I  watched  the  fireworks  go  off  in  the  night  sky,  over  the  floodlit  castles  of  Disneyland, I  was  consumed  by  a  more  general  sense  of  dread, of  imprisonment   within  the  dreary  round  of  school  and  home. Richard  Papen  in   The  Secret  History  ( Donna  Tartt  ).

Fortunately,  watching  TWWOD   has  not , so  far  at  least,  led  me  onto  becoming  an  accessory  to  murder  but  I  know  what  Donna  was  saying.  With  affordable  flights  to  the  USA ,a  Disneyland  just  across  the  Channel  and  reasonable  approximations  dotted  over  the  country  now  it's  impossible  for  those  born  in  the  last  thirty  years  or  so  to  really  understand  the  magic  just  the  name  conjured  up  for  young  children  in  the  seventies. This  fantasy  land  on  earth  , impossibly  far  away  in  California, brooked  no  other  response  but  complete awe  and  longing.

Donna's  also  shrewd  in  alluding  to  the  titles  because  what  they  wrapped  around  was  often  less  than  stellar. Disney  had  originally  gone  into  television  to  finance  the  construction  of  Disneyland  but  wasn't  going  to  part  with  the  crown  jewels  so  the  TV  show  only  featured  edited  versions  of  less  successful  films  or  material  specifically  written  for  television. By  the  early  seventies  the  material  was  predominantly  live  action  drama  - with  Mom  and  apple  pie  values  well  to  the  fore  - and  nature  films. Animated  features  were  a  rare  treat  so  I  always  associate  the  programme  with  anticipation  and  frequent  disappointment. Genome  reveals that  this  could  have  been  avoided  by  looking  at  the  Radio  Times  beforehand  but  perhaps  I  knew  that  and  preferred  to  be  kept  in  suspense.

What  I  particularly  wanted  was  Donald  Duck  and  his  three  nephews  Huey  Dewey  and  Louie. The  ducklings  were  actually  far  more  prominent  in  comics  and  appeared  infrequently  on  screen  but  I  wasn't  to  know  that. At  the  time  Dewey  was  denoted  by  a  red  cap  ( it  later  became  settled  that  Dewey  wore  blue )  so  he  became  my  favourite  , the  kids  having  no  individual  personalities. When  a  kind  teacher  gave  me  a  monkey  puppet  during  my  hospitalisation  for  a  serious  eye injury  a  few  months  hence,  he  was  christened  Dewey ( I  was  reading  comics  with  my  good  eye  after  lights  out  which  probably  wasn't  advisable  in  the  circumstances ).  I  still  have  him  of  course  but  he's  rather  delicate - he  was  a  bit  battered on  arrival - so  he's  kept  out  of  my  son's  reach.    

No comments:

Post a Comment