Based on six years of original research and extensive interviews with former Disney studio staff, Walt Disney and Live Action by John G. West is the first book to focus solely on Walt Disney’s live-action features of the 1950s and 60s. It goes “behind-the-scenes” to explore Walt Disney’s role in making live-action films as well probing the deeper meaning of the films. Published by Theme Park Press, the book provides detailed production histories for more than 50 live-action films and television features and more than 80 behind-the-scenes photos, many of them believed to be previously unpublished.
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Praise for the original edition:
“An exciting, revealing, and rewarding read for anyone who ever loved and was moved by a Walt Disney movie.”—Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Academy Award-winning composers for Mary Poppins and other films.
“A… captivating book that offers the most comprehensive look at Disney live-action productions ever compiled… definitely a ‘must have!’”—Paul F. Anderson, Disney historian and author of The Davy Crockett Craze
Part one of the book discusses Walt Disney the man and chronicles his involvement in the live-action productions of his studio. This section is based on extensive original interviews with studio personnel who worked with Disney during the 1950s and 60s, including directors, writers, composers, producers, art directors, actors, and more.
Part two of the book explores the cultural meaning of Disney’s live-action work. From The Absent-Minded Professor to Zorro, Walt Disney instilled in his productions a consistent moral vision with few parallels in the rest of Hollywood. Many of his films provided subtle commentary and the problems facing post-World War II America. They taught pressing lessons about the nature of virtue and vice in the modern world. They steadfastly—and sometimes rather eloquently—upheld the democratic ideals upon which America is premised.
Part three of the book supplies extensive production histories for most of Walt Disney’s live-action features for theaters and television. Go behind the scenes with those who worked at the Disney studio and learn fascinating stories about the making of Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Davy Crockett, Zorro, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, The Absent-Minded Professor, Treasure Island, Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Old Yeller, and many others. Based on original interviews as well as research at the Walt Disney Studio archives, this section of the book is rich with stories and anecdotes not available anywhere else.
John G. West is an author and documentary filmmaker who lives in the Pacific Northwest. His books and films include The Magician’s Twin, Darwin Day in America, The C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia, The Politics of Revelation and Reason, Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, and Darwin’s Heretic. A former professor at Seattle Pacific University, he currently serves as Vice President of Discovery Institute and Associate Director of its Center for Science and Culture.