Saturday, August 21, 2010

Walt: Backstage Adventures With Walt Disney


How about a book review:

Has anyone else read this book?  When Amazon suggested it to me a while back I did not buy it right away because I hated the cover (sorry, I judge books that way).  The author, Charles Show was a script writer for the Disney company and the book contains many stories about his time with Walt.  It also contains some stories that I found very puzzling.

The first story that had me scratching my head was one he told about the Fire House Five Plus Two.  He says the creator and leader of the FHF was a man named Fred then goes on to say "I call him that because his real name was Luke."  He tells a story about how Fred/Luke loved trains and had spotted an old windmill on someone's property and tried to buy it from them.  Well first of all the only train loving leader of the FHF I know of is Ward Kimball, so why call him Fred/Luke?  So I thought well he obviously was not at this windmill purchase attempt so maybe he just threw it in the book to fill pages and he did not know Ward's actual name?  Or, maybe Fred/Luke was a joke between him and Ward.  If so isn't it a bad idea to throw inside jokes into a book like this? Either way he would have met Ward Kimball at some point because in the book Show's claims to have written the scripts for all of the Space Programs for the Disneyland TV show.  Episodes that were hosted by Ward Kimball (and in other books Kimball claims to have been assigned to take charge of by Walt himself).

Later in the book he discusses Disneyland.  Show's talks about how he heard Walt was going to build an old steam train and a monorail in an orange grove and wondering how he was going to pull it off.  He also talks about sneaking down and looking at the models for the Matterhorn before the park opened.  Well obviously he has his dates confused since the Matterhorn and the Monorail did not open until 1959.  Maybe he was old when he wrote this book and forgot that fact, but again would it have killed him to fact check?

Maybe I'm just nit picking but if I spotted these two fairly large mistakes casually reading this book who's to say how many more there are?  And how am I supposed to believe all of the other stories in the book?  I have a hard time believing he ran into Humphrey Bogart at a bar and Bogey punched one of his friends in the face....

If anyone else has read this book I'd love to know how you felt about it.  It was a pretty good read but I feel like the author wrote it to make a quick buck off of the name Walt Disney.

6 comments:

  1. I've read that book, but back when it was first published. It was given to me when I was in high school. The only thing I can remember about it is the chapter in which the author talked about how Walt would use curse words. I remember thinking even back then that the author was trying to make a big deal out of nothing. I remember also that it was NOT my favorite Walt biography. I preferred the book "Walt Disney, An American Original" by Bob Thomas which was given to me around the same time.

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  2. That cover is terrible. It looks kind of like one of those terrible drawings of Mickey: http://goo.gl/4jXx

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  3. I own it...but it is way down on my list of books to read!

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  4. Tokyo- have you read the Bob Thomas biography on Roy? I like that one too.

    DC- You'd think a guy who worked at Disney for years would know someone who could draw Walt better than that.

    George- I'd like to know what you think after you read it.

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  5. I think it's total bullshit. I don't think the old (young) guy who's writing it is legit at all. Think about how easy it would be to write a book like this and pretend to have actually been there. Too easy. If you DO try it don't get 131 facts wrong. Make sure your horse shit is accurate.

    Don't buy it. I'm scanning it for free download.

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  6. I didn't know Bob Thomas wrote a Roy bio. I'll have to check that one out. Thanks!

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