My wife ordered this book last year when she was planning a Disney trip for our family and I picked it up, hoping for a cohesive, behind the scenes story, about Disney history that I didn’t know much about. Smooth this story is not, but enjoyable it is. This feels more like a dinner conversation with Sklar. It’s choppy and reflective but the anecdotes are wonderful – here are a few of my favorites so far.
One is the story of Marc Davis – creator of of Tinker Bell, Cruella De Vil, and Maleficent – who had just presented Walt Disney with a series of park designs.
Wehn Walk, deep in thought, did not respond immediately, Marc stepped into he void. “Walt, I’ve got another idea for this, and it’s a lot cheaper.” Now Walt responded quickly. Putting a hand on Marc’s shoulder, he set the tone for how Imagineers were to create for the Disney parks. “Marc,” Walt said, “I have a whole floor of finance people and accountants upstairs who are going to tell me what the cheapest way to do something is. What I pay you for is to tell me the best way!”
The first part of the book Sklar shares stories about the many different people he worked with, one of which was Eddie Meck, “the most trusted publicity manager around.”
Eddie Meck had promoted everything from Frank Capra comedies to Clark Gable and Jimmy Steward films in the 1930s and 1940s. He could you tell you about promotions like the one for You Can’t Take It with You: “We painted dozens of bricks gold, and set them out on the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard. When someone picked up a ‘gold brick’ and turned it over, they read the copy – ‘You can’t take it with you’!”
Thus far the book is mostly these types of stories along with a few table setting pieces from Sklar’s history. I hope that as he gains status and rank within Disney that the book will include more of his personal stories and struggles about creating the Disney parks.
More to come…