Refurbishing the Image of Walt Disney? (Harlan Ellison and Mary Poppins).

I just came across a video by Harlan Ellison which was occasioned by his viewing of the film Saving Mr. Banks (a Disney approved biopic of the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers and the making of her book into the movie Mary Poppins).
Here is the trailer for the movie:
Here is Harlan Ellison’s video:

Any comments as to what Disney was really like as opposed to his current image?

There may be a case to be made, but Harlan Ellison is not the one to make it. His trustworthiness on this sort of thing is less than nil.

Didn’t he say he knew he was dying some years ago, not from a medical diagnosis, but akin to a dog knowing it’s dying and going somewhere to die in peace?

Has Harlan published much lately? I read some of his stuff a long time ago and liked it–but hardly ever read SF anymore. Actually I was surprised he was still alive.

I liked Disney movies when I was young, but seldom watch them anymore. I suppose Walt Disney was like a lot of people who actually accomplished things–they often have a lot of negatives.

Read part three of this to get an idea of Ellison’s relationship with the Disney corporation. Actually read the whole thing - it is fairly entertaining :).

Holy crap! He’s OLD!!! :eek:

Here he is with McCoy, Scotty, and Chekov on Tom Snyder’s show in 1976:

I haven’t seen or heard from Harlan in years, I lost track when I moved on to more than just speculative fiction…but I still love him.

From his appearance in that video, I think he was right.

“It’s not Felix Salten’s Bambi; it’s not Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio…” Whose Dangerous Visions is it, Harlan? :smiley:

Harlan is only mentioned as the editor of Dangerous Visions. The stories inside it are always credited to their authors, and it was those authors who won awards for it. Ellison has always only taken credit for selecting the stories.

He’s writing less these days, but won a Nebula in 2010 and is still publishing one or two stories a year.

He’s an excellent writer, but something of an attention whore, and often makes announcement of projects that never happen (and not just The Last Dangerous Visions).

Jane Yolen made the same point back when Disney did The Little Mermaid: it becomes Disney’s, not Hans Christian Anderson’s (and, of course, the ending was changed).

He talks for 10 minutes and what he has to say can easily be synthesized into one minute, that being “Hollywood takes liberties! Get the Hell off my lawn! It’s all lies and Emma Thompson was brilliant.”

As for Disney, the worst info about him seems to be that he was an enthusiastic supporter of Redbaiting and a major cheapskate with employees. He also had a reputation for micromanaging and a terrible temper, but compared to Zanuck and Goldwyn he was probably a pussycat.

I thought Ellison died years ago.

The movie isn’t my usual cup of tea (no explosions) but the trailer, frankly, looks brilliant. Who cares if its true?

This is what occurred to me as well. I mean, I know Ellison’s perspective – that of the brutally honest, pull-no-punches commentator – but yes, it’s only a movie. Ellison seems annoyed both that Walt Disney himself is being lionized and his reputation “burnished” and that (perhaps more importantly) the reputation of P.L. Travers is being damaged and her reaction to the movie made from her work is being misrepresented. To which I would respond, well okay, but it’s a Disney movie, and not a documentary. Anyone sufficiently interested in the story can surely find facts elsewhere, no?

Whether or not this is true for Walt Disney himself, or just true for some perverts who have worked at his company over the years, I have always thought of Walt Disney as a pervert. I think this because of the scene in The Little Mermaid where the priest gets a boner, the scene in Alladin where you can here him telling Jazmin to take off her clothes, and many more I’m sure.

I realize Walt Disney himself died in 1966, so the pervertedness could have nothing to do with him, but it still tarnishes the Walt Disney Company image.

As far as this movie goes, it definitely looks like they are trying to further immortalize Walt Disney by portraying him the way they do in this movie, but I can’t say what he was truly like in person. Looks to me like he succeeded in turning Mary Poppins into a very successful Walt Disney production, and in the process, he totally overshadowed Travers’ book. I was unaware that Mary Poppins was even based on a book. Poor Mrs Travers…

Not true.


Umm I’ve witnessed both of these first hand on my home VHS versions of the movies. I’ve had both of these movies since I was a kid too.

Would you care to elaborate on how my eyes and ears are lying to me?

I’ve seen the “boner” myself on the Little Mermaid VHS. It isn’t in the spot that Snopes debunked it. It’s at another spot. It’s obviously just a movement in the folds of his clothing, but it is a real bit where a lump of cloth bulges forward, right at the guy’s crotch.

Given the business with the phallic towers on the VHS package, one is, at least, permitted to wonder if it could have been intentional.

But, yes, “take off your clothes” in Aladdin is an audial illusion.

Yes, the “boner” scene is during the first wedding, not the the second wedding at the end. And the way that it looks, certainly doesn’t make it “obvious” that it’s a movement in folds of the priests clothing. It appears to be a growing phallus!

You sound like a Walt Disney PR person. An audial illusion… Lol. You can here him say it, but he’s not actually saying it. Just a collaboration of background noises that accidentally form the words “take off your clothes”… Yeah okay

I think that the rant’s point was that it made Travers out to be a villain because she didn’t want her story ruined. I can see why that would set Mr. Ellison off. It reminds me of how unfair Susan Alexander the character in Citizen Kane was to Marion Davies. Enough so that Orson Welles would in later years say the same thing and that it wasn’t supposed to be her.

I recently met someone who knows the real life person of “Frosty” the Maverick’s surfer guy. I forget the name of the movie, but it was a helluva movie. This guy is a California surfer who knows virtually everyone who was portrayed in the movie, and says he can’t really stomach seeing Frosty made into such a prince. Fair enough. I enjoyed the movie character, including the character’s flaws. But I wouldn’t want to see someone get my life wrong.

What I took from it was the the real author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers always hated the movie. Apparently there is a scene where Emma Thompson says she likes the movie.

Ellison is famous for hating changes to his work and he feels that what ever the author puts down is like God writing down the ten commandments for Moses.

I’d have eaten up that prose style in my twenties - which is when I read most of Ellison’s non-fiction. Now that I’m over 50, it just seems horribly, horribly overwritten.