Don Hahn, Becky Cline and director John Gleim share excitement for Disney + premiere of “Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives”
âWe don’t look back very long, we keep moving forward. This is something Walt Disney once said about his studio, but it’s not really true about the Walt Disney Archives. This department, founded in 1970 by Disney legend Dave Smith, was about the company’s past and still is. In Adventure through the Walt Disney Archives, an hour-long documentary film commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney Archives, Disney fans get a glimpse into all divisions of the Disney Archives while learning about the company’s rich history. The film had a virtual premiere last year for D23 Gold Members and goes to Disney + November 19.
“I didn’t want to make a documentary that just talked about heads,” director John Gleim explained at a recent press conference to promote the film’s wide release. He’s no stranger to the Walt Disney Archives, having worked closely with the team on several projects in the past and being a self-proclaimed Disney nerd. The public has the opportunity to meet many of the Walt Disney Archives team and see some really cool items along the way, some of which were requested by John, others that they accepted suggestions from archivists themselves. âWith each archivist, we probably filmed five or six different artefacts, and then, throughout the editing process, we determined which ones were the most interesting or which had the best told stories or which showed the best to the camera, things like that. It was very, very hard to pick things out because part of you just wants to show off all the cool, iconic stuff like the storybook from The Sleeping Beauty. “
The film’s host is producer Don Hahn, whose credits include Who wants the skin of Roger Rabbit, The beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King, Just to name a few. His presence is a reminder of a 1941 film titled The reluctant dragon, produced to meet growing demands for tours of the Walt Disney Animation Studio through the eyes of comedic actor Robert Benchley. âJohn put me in the exact same place Robert Benchley started in the 1940s and we spent our entire tour looking for the Walt Disney office, which is kind of the plot of this movie,â Don explained. Hahn. âI was fun talking to all the archivists and hearing what they are doing. Because when Becky [Cline] asked me if I would, I was totally flattered. I thought the fun part would really be talking to archivists and finding out the things that none of us know we see every day. So being Robert Benchley for a day was dark, but fantastic.
âOne of the reasons I was so excited to see this happen on Disney + is for the casual fan,â Becky Cline, Walt Disney Archives Director, said of the larger audience the film is on. the point of reaching. âIt’s for people who know Disney a little bit but are interested or have met it because their kids are watching something on Disney +. I love the idea that so many pieces that we share here relate to entertainment programming, other movies, animation, amusement parks and things like that. I just think it’s a great primer for anyone interested in Disney history. They can watch that and see all of these beautiful things and then go and watch the movies on the same programming stream. Being able to have that kind of deep dive into Disney history and then have it at your fingertipsâ¦ I think, for me, is one of the most interesting things about this kind of synergy opportunity between the Walt Disney Archives and everything already on Disney + and things to come.
Speaking of things to come, 2023 marks a pivotal year, The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary. While the Walt Disney Archives spend a lot of time looking back, in this case, they are following Walt’s lead and moving forward. âWe’re already deeply involved in the company’s plans for this,â Becky Cline revealed of the upcoming celebration, which will include a traveling exhibit hosted by the Walt Disney Archives. âWe’ll be posting a lot more information down the road, so keep an eye out for that, but I’m sure with the 100th anniversary we’re already getting calls from all parts of the business asking for help and equipment. There are probably a lot of opportunities and we have a lot of great ideas that I think we will try to implement over the next couple of years. But one thing you can guarantee is that whatever it is, it will reconnect to Walt Disney. âWe have a lot of opportunities not only to dive deep into our past, but also to show what Disney is, and what lessons we have learned from Walt and what we are doing now and what we will do in the future. We are always trying to come up with new ideas, âconcluded Becky Cline.
You can broadcast Adventure through the Walt Disney Archives on Disney + from November 19.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).