|what i want to say is disney didnt make movies to entertain the kids. their motive was never that (no matter what they 'say'). it was always about profit and how to take over the market for them. of course walt disney loved children but business was about something quite different.
I recently read a very long, detailed biography of Walt Disney, and I simply don't think that's true. Well, I don't think it was entirely about the kids either - but I'd say Walt's driving aim, at least in the early part of his career, was to make art
. And he did. Say what you will about Mickey cartoons, they took animation to a whole new level in terms of humour, playing with timing and gags and sound effects and image manipulation... everything. Looney Tunes was developed essentially in a scrambling effort to copy The Mouse - it was the gold standard of animation at that time. And Snow White? It was considered unthinkable that an audience - a largely adult audience - would sit through a full-length animated feature, much less engage with it. But they did. People cried. Nobody had ever cried at animation before - plus, the art was pretty stunning. It was groundbreaking. Fantasia? Pretty avant-garde stuff, really, and a genuine effort to bring culture to the masses. Disney planned to make heaps more of them, but it wasn't as commercially successful as Snow White.
Then they had to scale down the art style for financial reasons, and Disney got bored/disillusioned with the films and largely left them to his staff. So at that point, yes, it was about the money. But why did he want the money? To build Disneyland. And again, that wasn't about money or even just entertaining the kids. It was about creating the most perfect, complete, immersive environment possible. It was a control freak thing really, just as animation is - but that doesn't make it less artistic as a goal. And during the rest of his life Disney was never satisfied to give Disneyland's customers their bare money's worth. He was always fixing things that didn't really need fixing, making sure the carrousel horses were freshly repainted each day and other such details. It may have been a fixation on perfection for its own sake, not done for the love of Tiny Tim, but it wasn't just money-grubbing.
Lest I come across as a total Disney shill now, I think their stance on copyright is pretty horrific (although let's not forget to blame the government for agreeing to it!), and their made-in-China sweatshop products despicable. We're planning a trip to Disneyland next year, and I'll be in the rather odd position of refusing to buy any Mickey ears, corn dogs or Princess dresses while we're there for various ethical reasons. Also, some of their movies are rubbish, some are sexist, some are racist and some play havoc with history or literature in a way that irks me. Still, some
of their films number in my top 10. I sing Disney songs all the time. The Broadway version of The Lion King is, apparently, excellent. Give Kids the World is a highly cool charity. So... six of one, half a dozen of the other?