Walt's Signature

I walked down the long, narrow hallway with a fair degree of trepidation. Like Moses, I felt I strode on hallowed ground. This was the third floor of the Animation Building on the Disney Studio lot and this hallway led to the office of Walt Disney.

Why would I put myself through this fearful task, you ask? The new book, The Art of Animation had just shipped and I was one of the eager young artists to get his hands on the first few copies that had arrived on the Walt Disney Studio lot. While a handful of us poured through the pages of the magical new book, I knew there was one thing I definitely had to do before the task became impossible. It was well known that Walt Disney seldom signed any books or documents if it wasn’t required. Walt was a busy man and so he had a few staffers who were good at faking the Old Maestro’s signature. They would tackle this redundant task for Walt and give him time for more important matters. I didn’t want a “fake Disney signature.” I wanted the real deal. I knew there was only one way to nail an authentic Walt Disney autograph and that was to go to Walt Disney himself.

And so, with book in hand I headed down the long hallway to the office of the boss. I can honestly tell you I considered turning back a number of times. How would Walt react, I wondered? Would he be upset, or annoyed that I was interrupting his busy day? There was only one way to find out. I approached one of Walt’s two secretaries and made my request. “Is Walt in?” I stammered. “I was wondering if he might have time to sign my book.” “Let me check,” said Tommi. She was Walt’s senior secretary and she knew pretty much everything. I stood in the office glancing around at the numerous Academy Awards and other tributes to the animation master. It felt like an eternity, but I waited. Suddenly, the door opened and a man wearing a grey suit emerged. He didn’t have a smile on his face but he didn’t seem angry either. This made me feel just a little bit better. “What have we got here,” he grumbled. Walt often grumbled. It didn’t mean he was angry - it was simply his manner.
“Oh! This thing. It’s about time.” I handed Walt the book and he pulled out what appeared to be a Sharpie. He signed the book and handed it back to me. “Here ‘ya go, kid!” He turned and headed back into his office before I could barely mutter, “Thanks, Walt.”

As I headed back down the hallway I couldn’t resist glancing at the treasure I had just received. I had Walt Disney’s personal autograph. Not a phony signature by one of the Disney artists, but an autograph by the Old Maestro himself. And then, I remembered one final thing. As I stood transfixed waiting for the boss autograph my book I had forgotten to give him my name. Yet, here it was in my book. “To Floyd with all Best, Walt Disney. Did Walt’s secretary, Tommi give the boss my name - or did he already know it? I’ve wondered about that every since.

Walt Disney signed this copy of The Art of Animation back in the fifties. How cool is that?

Walt Disney signed this copy of The Art of Animation back in the fifties. How cool is that?