Walt Disney (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
“He was frozen.” With that terse but intriguing sentence, Neal Gabler opens his biography of Walt Disney. It seems a strange choice of words with which to begin a massive study of the founder of one of the world’s most powerful multimedia entertainment corporations, a man whose name is a household word around the globe. However, the sentence makes poignant sense by immediately calling attention to the myths surrounding Disney and by hinting at Disney’s association with futuristic technologythe idea that Disney had such faith in science that he arranged to have his cancer-riddled body cryogenically preserved to await the time when science could revive him and cure his disease. Gabler also inserts a nice touch by comparing Disney’s alleged frozen state to Snow White’s and Sleeping Beauty’s “hibernating.” One can almost hear the strains of “When You Wish upon a Star” and visualize Tinkerbell flying over Disney’s cryogenic capsule, sprinkling it with “Disney dust,” and seeing Disney come back to life. That opening sentence is a nifty little metaphor of the life and death of a man who did so much to condition modern Americans to prefer fantasy to reality.
However, Gabler immediately adds that Disney was not frozen. In fact, he was burned. His first sentence, Gabler explains, merely repeats a rumor that arose shortly after Disney died on December 15, 1966. After Disney was cremated, his ashes were interred in a mausoleum at Forest...
(The entire section is 2162 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
The Atlantic Monthly 298, no. 5 (December, 2006): 121-123.
Booklist 103, no. 2 (September 15, 2006): 4.
Entertainment Weekly, no. 905 (November 3, 2006): 80.
Film Comment 43, no. 1 (January/February, 2007): 78.
Forbes 178, no. 13 (December 25, 2006): 33.
Los Angeles Magazine 51, no. 11 (November, 2006): 200-204.
The New York Times 156 (November 14, 2006): E1-E6.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (December 3, 2006): 36-37.
The New Yorker 82, no. 41 (December 11, 2006): 66-75.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 38 (September 25, 2006): 60-61.
(The entire section is 53 words.)