California storms are a rare thing these days. It did manage to rain yesterday and that was fun. Actually, it was more of a drizzle than a full rain. We don't usually have weather here in perpetually sunny southern California and such stuff is almost unusual. My wife, Adrienne couldn’t care less for rain, but I’m a guy who truly loves a rainy day. And, that leads me to this odd rainy day story at the Walt Disney Studio.
Back in 1957, our little clean-up unit was toiling away on Walt Disney’s latest feature, “Sleeping Beauty.” We were located in G-Wing on the first floor of the Animation Building and as late afternoon approached, so did an unusual California rainstorm.
It seemed odd, because less than an hour ago the sun was shinning. But now, the sky grew darker, and ominous clouds began to roll in from the north. Suddenly, we heard the rumble of thunder and lightning crackled across the sky. Surprised by this unusual weather, a number of artists put down their pencils, and hurried over to the window to gain a better view. Soon, torrents of rain began to fall along with chunks of hail. I gotta tell you, the whole darn thing was pretty dramatic. It was almost like a scene in a Walt Disney animated motion picture. “What could have caused such an unusual twist in the weather,” one Disney artist inquired. “How could such a strange summer storm seemly come out of nowhere?” Had we been in Orlando Florida it would have been perfectly normal, but this was Burbank in Southern California where real weather is hardly ever experienced.
Suddenly, an idea popped into my head and I rushed back to my drawing board where I quickly made a sketch. There was a reason for the electrical fireworks and the rolling thunder. There was clearly someone on the rooftop controlling the whole thing. Like Mickey Mouse in “The Sorcerers Apprentice,” the forces of nature were being commanded by none other than Walt Disney himself.
Well - perhaps not. However, the Old Maestro, Walt Disney was in the building. And - who knows whether he took an unexpected trip to the Animation Building rooftop that strange summer afternoon?