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In this episode, we conclude my 3-part interview with author and Disney Historian, Jim Korkis. In our previous 2 sections we talked about how he first got interested in, and then interested in working for, the Walt Disney Company, how he got started working for Disney, including why he had to move to Orlando, what he loved most about what he did, why he wouldn’t want to work at the Disney Archives, how he came up with the idea of starting to write his first book, what each of his books is about (including a little tease about a couple more books he has coming soon, whether Walt Disney was anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic, and how we know, Walt’s early experience with church and religion, and more.
We pick right up where we left off. Now, a lot of this episode we’ll be talking about Walt Disney, his faith, and how it was expressed in his animation and in Disneyland. This is a subject that doesn’t get covered much, but I think it’s both interesting and important—whether you agree with Walt or not. As we discuss this subject, we’re not trying to convert anyone or anything like that. We’re just sharing the information. You can do with it as you choose.
In this episode, Jim (with some tangents) talks about…
- Walt Disney’s contributions to charities, including a couple of great specific stories—one about a boy with terminal cancer and one about kids from a Catholic orphanage visiting Disneyland;
- His philosophy that good will always overcome evil, including one of my favorite quotes from Alice Davis I’ve ever heard;
- Walt’s view of prayer;
- Why we assume it was the behavior of their father that turned them off of going to church;
- Roy O. Disney’s (Walt’s brother) response to the question, “Is there a God?”;
- Who Walt Disney was named after;
- A terrible biography of Walt Disney that you should not have on your bookshelf, including a couple of ridiculous claims from it;
- A couple other Walt myths debunked;
- Whether the Walt Disney Studios was built to be a hospital;
- The message of hope, light, and goodness in Fantasia, specifically the last two segments, and how they reflect Walt’s faith;
- Why Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland ends with the riders going to Hell—it’s not in the film!;
- The black & white animated short Hell’s Bells;
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and why Walt made a couple of the choices he did when adapting the story;
- Walt’s original plan to have a church on Main Street, where it was going to go, what it was going to be like, and why it’s not there;
- Where you can find a representation of Judaism on Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A., and where it likely came from;
- What day it’s supposed to be on Walt Disney World’s Main Street U.S.A., and whether that’s also true at Disneyland;
- What he never gets asked that he wishes people would ask him;
- What inspires him;
- His advice to you for following your dreams, and some extra advice if it happens to involve Disney history;
- Shameless Plug Time.
Find Jim Online:
- WDW Radio appearances
- MousePlanet – Korkis Corner and Wednesdays with Wade
Faith and the Magic Kingdom:
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Music and voiceovers provided by Rick Moyer.