The Trump in the Room; Dems Push Voting Rights; A House Built by a Mouse
Good morning, it’s Friday, July 17, 2015. Sixty years ago today, Disneyland opened its gates for the first time. It didn’t go perfectly. For a year, Southern Californians had watched as Walt Disney’s amusement and educational arcade was constructed on 160-acre parcel in Anaheim. Now it was ready, or at least it was supposed to be.
“Uncle Walt” had sent out some 6,000 V.I.P. invitations to friends, the media, and employees of Hollywood’s studios, including his own. Invitees were encouraged to bring their families, naturally, and Disney figured on a crowd of some 11,000.
Instead, some 28,000 people showed up, many of them with counterfeit passes. Landscapers were planting the last of the trees, some of the paint was still wet, and a heat wave had prevented the asphalt on Main Street from fully drying. Concessions ran out of food, rides broke down, and as a result of a plumbers strike in Orange County, drinking fountains lacked water.
It could have been worse: So many people clambered aboard the Mark Twain steamboat that it nearly capsized.
Local news crews captured the turmoil and cheerfully reported it. Walt Disney himself was mostly unaware of the glitches as they happened, but the coverage later dismayed him, and for years he referred to the chaotic soft launch as “Black Sunday.”
Mostly, though, patrons ignored all that. They came back the next day, and the next and the next.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can watch Disneyland’s July 17, 1955 dedication, hosted by Hollywood fixtures Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, Ronald Reagan on YouTube. Linkletter introduces Reagan at about the 3:50 mark, with a buoyant, “Ronnie Reagan, come on in!” With that, the show is off and running. So was Disneyland.
“For all who come to this happy place, welcome!” the park’s visionary founder began. “Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past. And here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America -- with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”
I’ll have more quotes by Walt Disney in a moment. First, I’d refer you to RCP’s front page, which aggregates columns, video clips, and analysis spanning the ideological spectrum. We also have a complement of original pieces from RCP’s reporters and contributors this morning, including the following:
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Handling the Trump in the Room. The uber-confident billionaire gunning for the presidency creates unexpected challenges for his rivals for the GOP nomination, Caitlin Huey-Burns explains here.
Obama Orders FBI Probe of Tennessee Shootings. The president phoned the families of four U.S. Marines murdered Thursday as security was increased at American military locations, Alexis Simendinger reports.
The Rise of Concealed Carry. In RealClearPolicy, Courtney Such does a Q&A with “More Guns, Less Crime” author John Lott.
House Democrats Want Tougher Voting Rights Act. They’re pushing the House speaker to schedule a bill that would restore minority voter protections struck down in 2013. Andrew Desiderio has our coverage.
Will Obama “Evolve” on Planned Parenthood? In his Friday column, Tom Bevan weighs in on a bracing video that is roiling the battlefield on the contentious issue of abortion.
Deciphering German Energy Policy. In RealClearEnergy, William Tucker tries to make sense of competing claims about what’s happening in Germany’s energy sector.
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Like Ronald Reagan, Disney was a New Deal Democrat who veered away from the political faith of his father – the party of Roosevelt. With Reagan, high taxation seems to have been the galvanizing issue. With Uncle Walt, it was over labor strikes against his studio.
They channeled their philosophical beliefs in different ways, however. Although neither man ever wavered in their old-fashion Midwest patriotism, or their essential optimism about America, Walt Disney eschewed politics.
At a 1960 dinner party at the home of Disney illustrator Herbert Ryman, the subject of that year’s presidential campaign arose. Someone quipped that Walt could be elected himself.
“Why would I want to be president of the United States?” he replied. “I’m the king of Disneyland.”
During intermission at the Metropolitan Opera on March 1, 1941, Disney gave a brief radio speech. “Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave,” he said. “That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.”
Here are some other memorable Walt Disney lines:
-- “All right, I am corny, but I think there’s just about 140 million people in this country who are just as corny as I am.”
-- “The hell with the critics. It’s the audience we’re making the picture for.”
-- “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.”
-- In December 1938, Disney was interviewed on the radio by famed filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille. Here is an exchange from that interview:
DeMille: “In their written form, Walt, fairytales are only for children. But when you bring one to the screen, it captivates everyone. Age, language, race make no difference. What is the secret?"
Disney: “Well, here is half an answer. Over at our place we’re sure of just one thing -- everybody in the world was once a child.”
--I’ll end this morning’s missive with a brief scene. Walt is walking in Disneyland one sunny California day with his friend Joe Fowler, a retired Navy admiral who’d run the San Francisco shipyard during World War II -- and who built the park’s famed replica of a riverboat.
“You know,” Walt said, “when we get too old to work we can just sit up here on the Mark Twain and see all the people and the enjoyment they’re having.”
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics