Hey! Are you doing anything today? If not, let’s take a stroll around the backlot of the Walt Disney Studios. Of course, we won’t be taking that walk today in 2014. We’re going back to the late fifties when Walt Disney Productions (as it was called then) still had a backlot.

There’s construction going on for a new Disney live-action motion picture. I hear Walt’s pretty excited about this new project. Initially, he thought about filming the movie in Ireland but decided it would be a lot easier to film the fanciful movie in beautiful downtown Burbank. Of course, that location is the backlot of Walt Disney Productions where talented art directors can make magic happen. This amazing plot of land can become anything you want it to be. Need a frontier out post or an Indian village? Done. Need the African velt or a Swiss countryside? Done. Nothing was beyond the realm of possibility with Walt’s talented team and they could accomplish pretty much anything needed. In this particular instance, an Irish village is needed, so the construction crew is hard at work creating one.

By the way, those are two Disney animators taking a lunchtime stroll through the work area. Ed Parks and Sam Jaimes are Disney artists and they’re checking out the work being done. In a matter of a couple of weeks the empty backlot will be transformed into a small village in Ireland and no one will ever guess this was all being filmed right here in Burbank. Of course, you’ll get to meet a handsome young movie actor who shows promise as a budding screen idol. After all, Walt Disney picked him, so the Old Maestro ought to know. The actor’s name, you ask? It’s Sean Connery, and I think he just might have a screen career ahead of him. During the film he’ll be singing to the beautiful, Janet Munro. And, of course, there will be a fair share of Leprechauns that will inhabit this fanciful Disney world.

It’s a pretty good tour, wouldn’t you say? It’s a good deal more fun than a visit to a parking lot which is what you’ll see today should you visit this same location. Yes, this is the Disney of years past. A Disney Studio that no longer exists. But, at least you had the opportunity to pay a short visit to Walt Disney’s studio backlot and remember a time that once was.

Animators, Ed Parks and Sam Jaimes (center) visit the set of Walt Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. It's 1958 and the Disney backlot was a magical place.

Animators, Ed Parks and Sam Jaimes (center) visit the set of Walt Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. It's 1958 and the Disney backlot was a magical place.

Posted
AuthorFloyd Norman