Wednesday with Walt: This Week in the Life of Walt Disney – 1938

Walt Disney was on top of the world during the week that was this week in 1938. He had successfully released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had already presented him with a special Oscarfor Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and an Oscar for the design and application of the multi-plane camera. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs appeared on the May cover of Hollywood Magazine and the Disney company had already repaid the entire loan accumulated over the past two years for making Snow White. Then in early June, Walt received his first honorary degree, a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California.

Walt’s successful career was in full swing and, during this week alone in 1938, he received more honorary degrees and was featured on the cover and inside The Family Circle.

On June 20, 1938 he and Lillian arrived in Manhattan by train. Walt and Lillian stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria for a couple of weeks during that trip. NOTE: Now, I know you guys might think I am nuts, but remember when I talked about that Disney Magic that keeps invading my life? Well, I stayed in the Towers of the Waldorf-Astoria in June of 2007. The whole time I was there I kept wondering what famous person or persons might have stayed in my room in years past. Wouldn’t it be something to find out Walt and Lillian’s room number and see if it was the same as mine? Try as I may, I have not found any information on his room number during that stay.

On June 22,Yale University presented Walt with an honorary degree of Master of Fine Arts. William Lyon Phelps, Professor of English, said this about Walt.”He has accomplished something that defied all the efforts and experiments of the laboratories in zoology and biology; he has given impressive significance to the word anima in animated; he has given animals souls. … His work has the elements of a great romantic art; the beautiful, the fantastic, the grotesque, all combining in irresistible and ineffable charm.”

On June 23, Walt received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Harvard University. In a press statement, Walt said, “Get me right, boys. I’m grateful for these honorary degrees and the distinction they confer. But I’ll always wish I’d had the chance to go through college in the regular way and earn a plain bachelor of arts like the thousands of kids nobody ever heard of, who are being graduated today.”

On June 24, our dear Walt graced the cover of the issue of The Family Circle periodical. The cover text reads: WALT DISNEY … gave The Family Circle an exclusive interview, with emphasis on his animals (which is why we show your friend Donald Duck here too). We believe you will be as much interested as we were in George Kent’s account of his tour of the Disney studio and his visit with Walt. The inside article is entitled Snow White’s Daddy.

That was a big week for Walt, to say the least. At that time there were all kinds of wonderful things happening in the life of this wonderful man. Walt had a good handle on what it took to entertain people back then. In this interview with Cecil B. DeMille in December, 1938 you can hear his philosophy on the matter. I really enjoy hearing his voice again, don’t you?

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2 Comments on "Wednesday with Walt: This Week in the Life of Walt Disney – 1938"

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Kelly McSmith
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6 years 6 months ago

He was definitely a truly remarkable man!

Brenda
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6 years 6 months ago

Kelly, you are sure right about that!! He was a great man!!

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