Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hollywood Polo at Hollywood Studios

The 1936 short Mickey's Polo Team was inspired by Walt Disney's involvement in the sport during the 1930s. The sharp-eyed visitor to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World can find a homage to Walt's love of the game and the Mickey Mouse cartoon that grew out of that enthusiasm.

The store Mouse About the Town, located on Sunset Boulevard, features an assortment of Walt Disney polo-related props and photos. Vintage black and white photographs of Walt in polo garb adorn one wall, while nearby are sketches of scenes from Mickey's Polo Team. A color photo from the cartoon sits amidst travel-themed items on a high shelf, while a helmet, mallets and riding crops hang decoratively above the store's main entrance.

According to Disney historian Wade Sampson, "Walt and Roy would play regularly with their employees on Wednesday mornings and Saturday afternoons. In addition, Walt and Roy joined the prestigious Riviera Club where such Hollywood luminaries as Spencer Tracy, Leslie Howard, Darryl Zanuck and others held court on the playing field. During this time, Spencer Tracy became a close friend of Walt's, and Tracy and his wife were often invited to Walt's home."

Check out Wade's terrific and very extensive article on Walt Disney and his participation in the Hollywood polo scene at MousePlanet.