Don Lusk, who was hired by Walt Disney in 1933 and is generally considered to be one of the last living animators from Disney’s Golden Age has passed away at 105. Mr. Lusk joined The Disney Studios right before it began animating its classic string of hits. Mr. Lusk worked on Pinocchio and Fantasia among other films before leaving the studio to work on television on such projects as the Charlie Brown specials and eventually Hanna Barbera’s Saturday morning television slate. He retired in the 1990’s.
While Walt Disney’s favorite song was Feed the Birds, his unofficial personal anthem (at least in the mind of Richard Sherman) was There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, written by the Sherman Brothers for the Disney produced GE Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
The song is a bouncy, positive tribute to the future. Walt Disney acknowledged the problems faced by humanity, but he also felt that technology and science could solve those problems. The solution to society’s ills and issues could be found through research and knowledge. It was that positive viewpoint that drove Walt Disney forward.
The Sherman Brothers always said that the song was one of the easiest for them to write because they just inserted Walt Disney’s optimism into the song. There was no doubt that Walt Disney would enjoy the song; it worked in his beliefs about the future. The song would eventually make its way to DISNEYLAND as part of the Carousel of Progress in the New Tomorrowland that opened in 1967.
Disneyland Paris has recently released a commercial that perfectly encapsulates the world’s love of the Disney Theme Parks.
In the short commercial, we see a cute Duckling who happens upon a Disney Comic Book featuring Donald Duck on the cover. The Duckling fully embraces the comic book, reading it over and over again and posing like his hero Donald Duck. Soon it becomes time for the Duck family to migrate south. The comic book proves too heavy for the Duck to take with him and it falls into a pond- completely destroyed. Saddened, the Duckling flies with his family, lamenting his lost book. He waddles off as a huge shadow approaches. He looks up and we see a look of pure joy on his face. Before him is his hero- Donald Duck. He runs over to him and embraces Donald’s leg. He realizes that his dream world and his hero are real. A heartwarming end!
As a child, I instantly fell in love with DISNEYLAND. After my first visit to the Magic Kingdom, I took home a pictorial souvenir book like the one pictured above, which I read over and over again, much like the little fellow in the commercial. Visiting DISNEYLAND was a dream come true and I eagerly wished and hoped that I could visit it again, much like the little Duckling. My dream eventually came true many times over and I have considered myself lucky to have been able to make so many trips to my most favorite place in the world.