I was one of “those” kids.
I suppose that some are born into Disney fandom, some achieve fandom, and others have fandom thrust upon them; I’m not sure which of these categories I fall into, but my Disney predilection certainly manifested itself early. Perhaps it was the smuggled copies of Disney News in my elementary school knapsack, or the scribbles of Spaceship Earth and monorails in the margins of my notebooks, but my personal obsession was well-known and acknowledged by all. People signed my yearbook “See you at EPCOT!”, and I recently found a document from my 8th grade graduation that predicted what the denizens of Shelby Middle School would be doing in the distant year of 2010. Whoever put together those prognostications suggested that I would be working as Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World; I recall being incensed by the suggestion at the time – nothing against the Character Zoo, but I was convinced that by 2010 I would be well on my way to replacing Eisner as Chairman.
But the full weight of my early fandom – and the realization of how truly unbearable I must have been – didn’t hit me until I was at home over the holidays and came across several boxes of old papers and school things from elementary and middle school. To even my surprise, it appears that hardly any assignment crossed my desk without me finding some backwards way of working Walt Disney World into the mix. There seems to have been a general tone of resentment that I was being asked to do busy work when I could be in Orlando or, at the very least, thinking about Epcot Center and reading about water hyacinths purifying waste water.
I could probably put together a whole book of my bizarre attempts to insert Disney into my schoolwork, from doodles of Epcot pavilion logos to vocabulary assignments where I managed to come up with a sentence about wanting to be at Walt Disney World for every single vocabulary word. Naturally, I also worked my tendencies into various school projects – sadly, I have never been artistic, or I would have been one of those genius kids who builds scale models of theme parks. Instead, I mostly wrote (surprise). I remember doing a biography of Walt very early on in school, but what inspired me to post today was this hilarious brochure for Disney Animation that I whipped up for some long-forgotten assignment.
I don’t even know what this was for, or when, although I would guess late elementary school or very early middle school. That would place it directly before or right on the cusp of Disney’s animation renaissance with The Little Mermaid in 1989 (although I had, of course, dutifully seen The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company in theaters). The fact that this pre-dated everyone’s swanky renegotiated contracts in the 1990s makes it even more funny.
While I was raised on a steady diet of old footage of hijinks with the Nine Old Men, I don’t recall ever really thinking that Disney Animation was a worker’s paradise (until, again, the 1990s); I’m therefore going to chalk up this brochure’s insane level of overstatement to the fact that we were supposed to be “selling” something for this assignment. And sell I did. I’m sure I figured that I knew way more about animation than my teachers, so I could say whatever I wanted and they wouldn’t know that every animator didn’t get a huge private office of their own. I’ll also say that, knowing my young self fairly well, this brochure smacks of a “done on the morning-of” effort (it’s far more primitive than a brochure for the parks that I did for an assignment in 8th grade), which would account for its rather unimpressive nature. Again, I probably figured that the teacher would be so impressed by my reputation in this particular field that I would never be questioned!
So here’s my representation of Disney Animation, circa the very late 1980s. Perhaps some of our readers from the animation industry can vet its veracity? Just don’t tell my teachers if I got it wrong!
This cracks me up for many reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t remember it at all and I have no idea where I got any of these “facts” (and statistics!). I’m sure I completely made up the projected increase in demand “by 1995″, but strangely enough that probably turned out to be an underestimation. I just wish I knew if the “Walt Disney is looking for talented young artists!” bit was an intentional shout-out to all those famous old ads from Walt’s time.
Good pay, good hours, free art supplies, and the prestige of working for the Walt Disney Company?? Sign me up!