With today’s wide release of the fabricated and manipulative Saving Mr. Banks, it is an appropriate time to take a look at a different and more authentic side of the man, Walt Disney. These incredible photos, which came to my attention a few years ago, completely altered my perception of his personality.
The advertised image of Walt Disney is that he was all business—gruff and slow to crack a smile. These revealing snapshots taken at a private party, away from the confines of work and business, unveil a man who knew how to have a good time, who could be playful and goofy, and who doesn’t fit the stereotypes often invoked about him. Disney animator Ward Kimball, who knew Walt on a more personal basis than almost any other Disney employee, often described Disney as excitable and child-like. These photos are the clearest visual evidence of that side of Walt.
This hand-made spiral-bound book popped up at an auction in 2011. Titled “Walt Disney demonstrates an appendectomy with Drs. Bowers, Avery & Nelson,” the photos depict Walt doing all sorts of crazy things like wearing his suit inside-out and backwards, checking his heartbeat, wearing a make-shift surgical cap and mask, and performing an operation on an orange. The set ends with a priceless maniacal look as he cuts into the orange.