A Few Goofy Thoughts

It's ironic that these rough sketches of Disney's “Goofy” would be gracing the hallways of the North Building on the Disney Campus in Glendale. This particular structure could be called a temple of technology or the cathedral of computing. It's where you'll find applications for mobile devices being devised and computer games being developed. Scores of young men and women work on Online Services and if you didn't know differently you'd think you had stumbled into a high tech facility in Silicon Valley.

As I stared at the rough sketches of Goofy in the hallway of the tech building I couldn't help but think how things have changed since these early sketches were created at Walt Disney Productions. Over at the Hyperion studio in Silverlake things were a bit low tech. Artists sketched on pads of paper and painters embellished the backgrounds with colors from bottles and tubes. The smell of paint and graphite filled the air and drawings littered the floor. There was an organic feel to the studios of the thirties and forties, and it's an atmosphere that has been totally lost today. As I walked down the hallways of our digital facility I couldn't help but notice how neat and tidy everything is. Young staffers sit at neat little work stations and executives hide behind trendy glass walls. There's even free coffee and snacks in the sparkling new facility, and a well appointed game room is provided should you need a break from your labors. It's a world none of us could even imagine when I arrived at Walt Disney Productions as a kid some sixty years ago.

The rough sketches of Goofy on the studio wall remain a reminder of those times many years ago. A time of pencil sharpeners and graphite. A time of messy brushes and pots of paint, and when a photo copier was considered high technology. I would imagine few can barely remember those days as they move a stylus and stare at a glowing screen. And, I can't help but wonder how many of the artists could even manage a simple rough sketch of the cartoon character, Goofy?