Quantcast Disney Valentines: Walt & Lillian Disney
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Imaginoppolis, Imagination Island
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    Lightbulb Disney Valentines: Walt & Lillian Disney

    For Valentines Day, Walt Disney Company historian Jeff Kurtti takes a look at the impact Walt & Lillian Disney's relationship had on Mickey & Minnie's on-screen romance:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kurtti

    It’s been observed that the legendary animated romance of Mickey and Minnie foundationally shares characteristics with Walt Disney and his wife, Lilly—since after all, they were both responsible for the creation of the cartoon couple.

    The story of Mickey’s conception during a long, disappointed transcontinental railroad trip in 1928 is the stuff of legend. With Oswald the Lucky Rabbit gone, Walt relied on his “best friend and severest critic”—Lilly was right there, supporting Walt, listening to his ideas, and even gently guiding him to his new movie star’s name, Mickey (and away from Walt’s idea of “Mortimer”). Lilly and her sister-in-law, Edna, even secretly painted cels for the first Mickey (and Minnie) cartoon ever made, “Plane Crazy,” in the late summer of 1928, in the garage of their house on Lyric Avenue, near the Hyperion Avenue Studio.

    It’s fairly certain that Walt was as coy as Mickey in romance. When he and Lilly first met, for instance, he would frequently offer to drive her home, along with another ink-and-paint girl, in the studio’s Ford roundabout. Walt always dropped Lillian off last, even though her home was closer. Lillian enjoyed that Walt wanted to spend more time with her.

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    Walt and Lilly also had a marriage based firmly in the unique bond forged by the magical mixture of love and laughter. Frequently, their good-natured sparring surrounded Walt’s beloved hats. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Walt was rarely without a favorite fedora. “When asked to ‘fix’ his hat, Walt would often respond with an exaggerated crush of the hat on his head. Lilly would occasionally abscond with his hat, sailing it far out of reach before Walt could rescue it from her clutches,” says writer and Disney aficionado Reed Milnes.

    Another of Walt’s hats, a worn and rumpled favorite, annoyed Lilly terribly. On her birthday in 1941, Walt presented her with a beautiful arrangement of violets cascading out of and over a low vase. When she removed the flowers, the “vase” was revealed to be that annoying favorite hat—preserved in bronze, with the crown-shaped into a heart.

    Walt must have gloried in his loving joke, and shared it with his artists—in the 1941 Mickey Mouse short The Nifty Nineties, one of the advertisements on the house curtain during a Vaudeville Show scene reads “Walter D’s hats that please.”
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    This is a cute story. The hat escapades made me smile.
    I'll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.

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