By Douglas Brode
Along with his thumbprint at the so much ubiquitous motion pictures of formative years, Walt Disney is broadly thought of to be the main traditional of all significant American moviemakers. The adjective "Disneyfied" has develop into shorthand for an artistic paintings that has deserted any arguable or monstrous content material to discover advertisement good fortune. yet does Disney deserve that recognition? Douglas Brode overturns the belief of Disney as a middlebrow filmmaker by way of detailing how Disney video clips performed a key position in reworking kids of the Eisenhower period into the unconventional early life of the Age of Aquarius. utilizing shut readings of Disney initiatives, Brode exhibits that Disney's motion pictures have been often prior to their time thematically. lengthy prior to the cultural tumult of the sixties, Disney motion pictures preached pacifism, brought a iteration to the proposal of feminism, provided the screen's first drug-trip imagery, inspired teenagers to develop into runaways, insisted at the want for integration, complicated the idea of a sexual revolution, created the concept that of multiculturalism, referred to as for a go back to nature, nourished the cult of the righteous outlaw, justified violent radicalism in safety of person rights, argued in want of communal dwelling, and inspired antiauthoritarian attitudes. Brode argues that Disney, greater than the other impression in pop culture, will be thought of the first author of the sixties counterculture--a truth that could not be farther from his "conventional" recognition.
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Additional resources for From Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counterculture
If that sounds a far cry from the half a million longhairs who converged on Max Yasgur’s farm near the small town of Bethel, New York, ﬁfty-four miles from the actual place called Woodstock, in August 1969, the difference is largely illusory. Fifteen years after the event, Art Vassmer, co-owner (with his brother Fred) of a small general store, recalled: “We cashed I don’t know how many checks, and you know what? ” 62 Of course not; the hippies had come to understand, while watching Disney ﬁlms in their childhood, that you don’t do such things.
They couldn’t achieve this without rock ’n’ roll, here depicted for the ﬁrst time in a Hollywood movie as an agent for positive social change. The ﬁlm’s rock ’n’ roll title song, performed by Sands and Funicello over the credits, informs teenagers in the audience that they must do the same thing, the preservation of a parental marriage ultimately the responsibility of the kids: If their love’s on the skids, Treat your folks like kids, So to make them dig, First you gotta rig, The parent trap. The song continues: If they lose that thing, And they just won’t swing, Then the problem falls on you!
If Disney’s afternoon-TV programming was geared to preteens and teenagers, the feature ﬁlms were intended for a broader market, including parents. In The Absent Minded Professor, Walt was able to convey to adults in the audience that rock ’n’ roll was indeed here to stay, and that they ought to relax and enjoy it. Fred MacMurray, ﬁrmly established as a symbol of suburban uprightness thanks to his ABC series, My Three Sons, played the college professor hero. At one point, he attends an oncampus party, where students dance to rock ’n’ roll while faculty members maintain a polite distance.