Liberal columnist Frank Rich writes of the home movie “Disneyland Dream”—with a measure of eloquence, but unfortunately also with a measure of condescension and sarcasm. In the end, he believes the dream is dead.
But Rich is wrong. Disneyland is still the happiest place on earth, and Walt Disney’s entrepreneurial spirit is also still alive.
Here are a couple of the more eloquent bits of Rich (though not entirely devoid of sarcasm):
(p. 14) “Disneyland Dream” was made in the summer of 1956, shortly before the dawn of the Kennedy era. You can watch it on line at archive.org or on YouTube. Its narrative is simple. The young Barstow family of Wethersfield, Conn. — Robbins; his wife, Meg; and their three children aged 4 to 11 — enter a nationwide contest to win a free trip to Disneyland, then just a year old. The contest was sponsored by 3M, which asked contestants to submit imaginative encomiums to the wonders of its signature product. Danny, the 4-year-old, comes up with the winning testimonial, emblazoned on poster board: “I like ‘Scotch’ brand cellophane tape because when some things tear then I can just use it.”
. . .
. . . The Barstows accept as a birthright an egalitarian American capitalism where everyone has a crack at “upper class” luxury if they strive for it (or are clever enough to win it). It’s an America where great corporations like 3M can be counted upon to make innovative products, sustain an American work force, and reward their customers with a Cracker Jack prize now and then. The Barstows are delighted to discover that the restrooms in Fantasyland are marked “Prince” and “Princess.” In America, anyone can be royalty, even in the john.
“Disneyland Dream” is an irony-free zone. “For our particular family at that particular time, we agreed with Walt Disney that this was the happiest place on earth,” Barstow concludes at the film’s end, from his vantage point of 1995. He sees himself as part of “one of the most fortunate families in the world to have this marvelous dream actually come true” and is “forever grateful to Scotch brand cellophane tape for making all this possible for us.”
For the full commentary, see:
FRANK RICH. “Who Killed the Disneyland Dream?” The New York Times, Week in Review Section (Sun., December 25, 2010): 14.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary is dated December 25, 2010.
Part 1 of “Disneyland Dream” via YouTube’s “embed” feature:
Part 2 of “Disneyland Dream” via YouTube’s “embed” feature:
Part 3 of “Disneyland Dream” via YouTube’s “embed” feature:
Part 4 of “Disneyland Dream” via YouTube’s “embed” feature: