Monday, December 5, 2011
Walt Disney Meets Santa Claus
Originally broadcast on December 23, 1962, "Holiday Time at Disneyland" is one of the most delightful Disneyland-centered episodes of the Disney anthology series. First shown on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, this colorful (naturally) episode showed off holiday celebrations at Walt's Magic Kingdom, kicked off with a simultaneously surreal and altogether appropriate meeting between Santa Claus and Walt. Did I say "meet"? Walt and Santa greet each other as if they are old friends. Well, why wouldn't they be? First off, Walt made Santa into a Disney character in two Silly Symphony cartoons, Santa's Toy Shop (1932) and The Night Before Christmas (1933). Secondly, in the conversation between the two magic-makers, Walt clearly expresses his dominion by stating that while Mr. Claus has one day a year, Walt has the other 364—an incredible statement when you think about it. Even Santa is impressed when Walt calls upon Tinker Bell to turn off the unusual Southern Californian snowfall and she obliges with a flick of her magic wand. After all, who is more important in the world of childhood than Walt Disney? I say this as someone who firmly believes (as I'm sure anyone who regularly reads this blog also believes) that Walt Disney is not just for the kids. And neither is Santa. I post all of this (including this still from "Holiday Time at Disneyland" taken from the Storyboard blog of the Walt Disney Family Museum) as a birthday tribute to Walter Elias Disney, born this day in 1901. Surely a bit of Christmas magic must have rubbed off on this December-born baby who would grow up to rival even Santa Claus as a master magic-maker.