Fame can sometimes be an unusual thing because although you’re famous, people might not know what you are famous for. I’d argue that might be the case for Walt Disney. You know his last name is on everything, but do you really know him?
That was the question a team of documentarians wanted an answer to. After a few years of research and production, they found many answers to identify and showcase who Walt really was.
The results of their work is Walt Disney, a two-part, four-hour film that encompasses an in-depth look at Walt’s life, from birth in Missouri to his untimely death and everything magical that was in between. At its core, the film will document his desire to tell stories. Many of those stories were from his real-life experiences growing up and ultimately found their way into the public’s heart through films and cartoons.
Even with the early successes, Walt’s life wasn’t all fairy tales and pixie dust. The documentary will also expose some of his failures and anxieties that weren’t in the spotlight because he wanted it that way. From having a perfectionist spirit that lead to costly delays in productions to his chain-smoking ways, even a man like him had problems.
Nevertheless, his fame has remained even until today, nearly 50 years since his passing. His passion-filled work and desire to tell stories to make the world a happier place have created a permanent story in nearly every generation and culture’s storybook. The documentary will include many of those people who even knew and worked with Walt, as well as many academics who have researched him extensively to give a testament to his popularity.
In the end, to know Disney means to know Walt.
“Walt Disney is an entrepreneurial and cultural icon,” said Executive Producer Mark Samels. “No single figure shaped American popular culture in the 20th century more than he.”
Walt Disney, part of PBS’s “American Experience” series, premieres on Monday and Tuesday, September 14-15, 2015 on PBS. Check local listings for times.