Greetings and welcome to 2719 Hyperion.
My name is Jeff, and since the early 1970s, the one common thread in my life, aside from family, has been a passion for all things Disney.
Like many other boomers, I was raised on Sunday evening showings of the Wonderful World of Disney. This was the post-Walt era, and the show’s focus had shifted from cross-promotions of both Disneyland and studio movies, to made-for-TV multi-part films and recycled animation episodes. While I enjoyed the likes of “Flash the Teenage Otter” and “Justin Morgan Had a Horse,” I would anxiously read each week’s TV listings, hoping that the show that week would be serving up sixty minutes of good, old fashioned Disney cartoons.
In those primitive days before cable television and home video, access to Disney animation was extremely limited. Features were on seven-year release cycles. Cartoon shorts were next to impossible to see. They would show up in pieces, as parts of animated episodes of the Wonderful World of Disney; and those episodes themselves were infrequent; sometimes once a month, or once every two months. Perhaps that’s why they became so special to me. Even on my paltry five channels, I could easily find the likes of Bugs Bunny, Popeye, and Tom & Jerry. But seeing a Donald Duck or Goofy cartoon in any format was rare, and a special moment indeed.
While ten years later I would take a more scholarly notice of Disney animated shorts, it was not a young boy’s interest in hard-to-see cartoons that would lead to a life-long enthusiasm for all things Disney. The spark that would ignite this passion for the Mouse occurred early in 1973. It all started with . . . a map.
My paternal grandparents wintered in Fort Lauderdale every year. Upon returning to the north in February of 1973, shortly after my twelfth birthday, they presented me with a gift. It was a guide map to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. At the same time (and no doubt influenced by my grandparents’ glowing reviews), my father announced that we would be visiting Walt Disney World during our upcoming August vacation. For the next six months, I studied that map not unlike a law student preparing for the bar exam. Later that summer, my family and I walked below the railroad tracks and onto Town Square. Suddenly, all those hours of Sunday evening entertainment became a reality that surrounded me, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. The Magic has since never left me.
And after 30+ years, I want to write about that Magic. And enter the lively Disney discourse on the Internet, that has manifested itself in web sites, blogs, podcasts and forums too numerous to count.
Again, welcome. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. And check back again soon.