Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization
Chapter 5. California Political Economy: The Emotional Environments of Walt Disney
137 Chapter 5 California Political Economy: The Emotional Environments of Walt Disney1 In his 1920 ur-handbook on the art of animation, E. G. Lutz provides a handy list of the necessary qualities for the successful cartoonist or “animator.”2 These include such obvious traits as a sense for form and hard “courageous” work. But they also include a further requirement that may not be all that obvious: “skill as a manager” in planning the whole work through “expedients and tricks” and “economy of labor” in getting as much action as possible through as few draw- ings as possible. In 1920 Walter Elias Disney, arguably the most significant figure in the twen- tieth-century affair with animation, read Lutz’s book as he made a crucial turn in his own development from producing art, drawing and film to producing ani- mation proper. Although Disney later deprecated the standard of Lutz’s work and while Lutz’s reference to management skills clearly refers to the animator’s control over his own resources, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to suggest that this third trait would be expanded soon enough by Disney into his most endur- ing contribution to the field and activity of animation, namely, the creation of the “emotional environments” of the first fully animation studio and, in time, application of what he learned through that creation into a series of innovative projects that in effect created the modern theme park (Disneyland), the modern Gesamtkunstwerk art school (the California Institute of the Arts), and hoped, at...
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