Glenn Beck Praises Walt Disney and Ward Kimball

Walt Disney and Ward Kimball working on the "Disneyland" space specials, 1955.

Walt Disney and Ward Kimball working on the “Disneyland” space specials, 1955.

It’s perhaps a mixed blessing that the only public personality who talks frequently about Walt Disney nowadays is the right-wing political commentator/conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck. Beck, who has modeled his new Internet media company on Disney’s, praised Walt on the recent 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch.

More impressively, Beck gave multiple shout-outs to the director of the Disney space specials, Ward Kimball, describing him as that “little mousy cartoon artist.” In the video, he praises Kimball and his collaborator, German scientist Wernher von Braun, for breaking down and explaning complicated concepts to the American public, and then ponders why media companies today don’t do the same thing: “You can’t talk about real immigration reform. You can’t talk about real economics anymore. You can’t talk about money printing or how the Fed works or doesn’t work. You can’t talk about the caliphate. No one will take the time to explain it to you.”

You can watch Beck’s praise of Disney and Kimball below:


  • Robert Calcagno

    A broken clock is right twice a day I suppose…

  • Ironhorse

    Beck has mellowed politically lately. He’s sick of “Us v. Them,” Republicans, Democrats… the usual fodder. While it may not be enough for this readership his overall theme has been socially positive, finding where people agree. Guess that’s why he sent soccer balls and water for the border kids even though he doesn’t agree with what’s happening there.
    I drive a lot so I hear a plenty of talk radio on both sides of the issues. I agree, he’s the only one I hear talking about Kimball and Walt.

    • May1979

      Glenn Beck always claim to be tired of “us vs. them,” only to engage in that same “us vs. them” spiel when it serves his interests. Trust me, at the end of the day he’s just another cynical radio shock jock who will say anything for money and attention. That said, I often find myself agreeing with him on Disney history. Beck was spot on about Michael Eisner having to “destroy Disney to save Disney.” He’s done his homework.

      • BlueBoomPony

        Ideology. It’s a hellava drug.

  • jordan reichek

    …with friends like that…

    • Matthew Broussard

      With friends like that…what? Walt Disney was considered staunchly conservative, at least towards the end of his life. He might be happy to have a friend in Beck.

      • Barrett

        Walt Disney would be disgusted for what passes for “Conservatives” these days. While he would surely share many of their market vs. government views, and agree with some of the “traditional values” positions, there is some much aggro, crazy, xenophobix crap out there these days passing itself off as “conservative” that no early/mid 20th century conservative would agree with it. I mean, the far right of 2014 would consider Eisenhower and Nixon to be center-left!

  • Jackadullboy

    Glenn Beck promoting truth/mathematics/science/reason and restraint as a central principle. What kind of Bizarro world is this??

    A genuine new leaf, perhaps?? Well, plus points for not believing the moon landings were a government hoax. Minus ones, however,
    for somehow twisting this into an argument against immigration.

    Now I’m eager to know his (revised ?) views on climate change…

    • Matthew Broussard

      An argument against immigration…?

      You don’t really know Glenn Beck’s talking points, do you? It’s obvious that you’re only acting as though you do, because immigration reform in Glenn Beck’s case =/= being against immigration.

      • Jackadullboy

        Ok, ‘against immigration’ is putting it too strongly.. In the video it’s clear he’s of the opinion that immigration is somewhat out of control and that the flow needs to be stemmed.

        Either way, my point is that bringing up that topic in the midst of everything else he was taking about (much of which made good sense) was a rather telling non-sequitur. Immigration is a well-established scapegoat for ultra-conservative pundits the world over.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/JourneyTraveler NoahClue

    You sure that wasn’t supposed to say JERRY Beck?

    Well, regardless, any mainstream praise for an innovator of the medium can’t be all bad. It’s certainly more welcomed than that OTHER animation company founder’s recognition from this week.

  • John Pannozzi

    He does know that Kimball was pretty liberal, right? I mean, for one thing, when Walt urged him to vote for Nixon, Ward resisted.

  • Sarjex

    Please refer to Katzenberg as “left wing super power bundler,” from here on out since if you can’t keep your editorializing bias to yourself at least be balanced about it.

    • Jackadullboy

      Opinions are ALWAYS biased. (Facts are not)

    • Duane

      Katzenberg as left wing ? seriously ?

      Bring back Education, Health, Communications and Transports to the public service, have it managed by elected people without private campaign investment THEN we’ll talk left wing. ;)

      Call it Utopia ? Roosevelt was almost there.

      • Barrett

        [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to discuss ideas not directly related to the post.”]

  • boyraisin2

    I don’t care what political persuasion you are or sort of are…one can still enjoy a little Walt Disney.

  • Strong Enough

    I bet his intern told him to say Ward to get in with the young hip crowd that loves animation

    • Ant G

      lol I don’t think the young hip crowd know much on Animation History, he’s more impressing a nerdy crowd, young and old.

      • Strong Enough

        I said the ones that love animation. everyone who studies animation knows about ward

  • Robert Holmén

    “No one will take the time to explain it to you.”

    They do, Beck just isn’t comfortable with the facts they explain. Beck’s career consists of sounding the alarm at every possible moment even if it means making it all up.

  • Robert Holmén

    “Beck, who has modeled his new Internet media company on Disney’s,…”

    Isn’t media history littered with people who thought imitating Disney was the secret to success?

    • Barrett

      Those people are probably also unaware of how many times Disney came close to crashing his whole studio straight into the ground. Roy O. Disney and others bailed him out in one way or another several times.

      Walt was a creative genius, knew enough to surround himself with people whose talents differed from or exceeded his own, but he wasn’t the greatest businessman.

      • cartooncrests

        He wasn’t the greatest businessman? Sure he was. He thought synchronized sound was the key to making his cartoon a success and he knew he had to be the first to market with it. He thought color would result in more bookings and he got Technicolor to sign an exclusive two-year exclusive contract. He knew the return on shorts was getting smaller so thought the public would sit through an 80 cartoon so he decided to make a full-length feature. He saw the future of television in the late 1940s, hence the reason he wouldn’t sign away the rights to any of his product for use on TV. He then went on to produce a string of successful TV shows and live-action movies, too. And of course he thought the public would embrace a theme park. I’d say he was a pretty successful businessman…no? He made key decisions on which direction to take the company and had his brother there to help with all the finances. The Studio almost went bankrupt during the war but that was due to forces beyond his control…like the loss of foreign markets, which accounted for about 55% of his revenue at the time.

        • DangerMaus

          All of those things you cite indicate a “creative visionary”, not a businessman. Walt Disney had the vision, but not necessarily the financial acumen that is required of a businessman. Like you pointed out, that is where his brother Roy came in. His brother really was a nuts and bolts businessman with the ability to pull financial rabbits out of his hat that allowed his more visionary brother to realize his goals.

          The Walt Disney Company really was the successful child of of both brothers. It would have gone nowhere with out them acting in tandem.

  • BlueBoomPony

    Which then fizzled our and left the space program in a disarray tap hat continues to thus day.

  • Jackadullboy

    Too bad the worthy goal of exploration and discovery seems to have been secondary to winning an ideological war with the Russians.

    Once the Space Race was won, the politicians couldn’t justify any further ambitious undertakings.. Mars was meant to be next, but that became the Space Shuttle. Now that’s defunct, we’re back to tried-and-tested Apollo era technology effectively.

  • Anna

    “Yeah, what a *loon.*”http://thedailybanter.com/2013/05/5-nuttiest-glenn-beck-quotes-of-all-time/

    Um, why yes. Yes, he is. ;)

  • Roberto Severino

    This doesn’t change my opinion of Glenn Beck in any way but it’s good that he actually did something right for once.

  • Ryoku240

    “and then ponders why media companies today don’t do the same thing”

    Even if you simplify things with great animation, media companies are too worried that the results wont be entertaining, they think that people will get bored and turn the channel.

    Its been proven with youtube stars like Vsauce that education isn’t necessarily boring.

  • JUSTTHESMELLZ

    Sorry who got to space first, USSR or the U.S?

  • Paul Griswold

    I have to agree with Sarjex here. Anyone who refers to Glen Beck as “right wing” has never listened to his show – or at least hasn’t listened to it in the past 4-5 years. He hammers Bush, John Boener, etc., on a daily basis. Overall since forming his new media company he’s focused mainly on trying to find areas where the left and right can agree on things, and is constantly bashing both sides for pandering to special interests. It’s really unfair to start an article by using baseless rhetoric just to get views.

  • Leonard Bast

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  • BAM

    I’m not the biggest Beck fan, but if you watch his show or listen for any length of time, he does do one thing that I wholeheartedly respect…

    He does his homework.

    He’s OCD about his research and it doesn’t surprise me at all that he’d actually know who Ward Kimball was. He’s a completist who tries to learn about a subject exhaustively. This allows him to talk about it extemporaneously rather than relying heavily on notes or prompters.

    It’s how I prepare for lectures / discussion groups as well.

    You might be surprised to know this, but far more than ideology, MOST (not the noisy ones, but the vast majority) conservatives love excellence in any form. That is why they still go see LOTS of movies, buy lots of products, and patronize lots of businesses that are run by people of opposing political viewpoints. If the product itself is excellent and does not itself serve to promote a political agenda, it doesn’t really matter to them who runs the company.

    As long as you’re not FORCED to buy the product and as long as the product itself is not an instrument that advances an opposing agenda, they generally don’t care who runs the business (unless the owner is extraordinarily antagonistic).