Monday, October 23, 2006


Part One...

It's EPCOT Week at the Pickle Barrel!

Not Walt Disney's personal vision for a city of the future, but the corporate wonder created by his immediate successors at Walt Disney Productions!

I give you 1982's orgy of coolness...EPCOT CENTER!!!!

Over the week, I'll post some great images from the original 1982-85 Epcot Center and pepper the posts with thoughts about the park itself.

It's a fascinating saga of a lost visionary, his loyal team trying to find their way without him, the popular culture of a changing America and an organization of seasoned veterans bringing their skills to fruition in a powerful showcase of environmental art.

For many years, the realized EPCOT Center was snubbed (at least by the artistic/historical elite) as a corporate cop-out that aimed and fired far below the targeted heights of Walt Disney's visionary concept for an Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow. Well, to a certain extent, I agree.

The issue I took with these criticisms was the overriding disregard for the wonderful work that was achieved there.

When Walt Disney died in 1966, there was no one....
NO ONE who could possibly take his place. With the passage of time, that only becomes more clear. It was his personal company to commercially exploit his ideas and creative will. Publicly owned or not, what they sold was WALT DISNEY. For almost 40 years, The Disney Bros. Studio did just that.

The way I see it, without Walt, that commercial entity morphed into a marketing tool. To think that someone could ever succeed Walt was a losing proposition that I believe Walt himself chose to avoid. In the almost 40 years since his death (Dec. 15, 1966), little has changed in regards to filling the void left by Walt.

That said, I do believe much credit needs to be given to Walt's immediate successors. Roy Disney, Card Walker, Ron Miller, Marty Sklar and Dick Nunis had their plates full with good intentions and personal responsibilities to their late leader. They and many others at the studio were charged with an impossible task. One has only to glance through any accounts of creative and strategic decisions of the late 60s and 70s at the Walt Disney Company to find the quote, "What would Walt do?" all over the place.

Remember, this was (and is) a publicly owned corporation that had vision because the one man who could stand up to very nature of corporate struggles had the political authority to do so. Anyone else was a target.

I believe, these guys tried their best and it's silly to think you or I could do any better.

Whew! Ok, got that out!

Tune in for the next installment of EPCOT Center 1982!


Blogger Dominic said...

That first graphic is incredible, Jordan! Let me guess, you own it.

12:24 PM  

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