Oh, and on the topic of old Disney vs. new Disney, I think there is something to both sides of that argument.
I think we hardcore fans of the old stuff can lose sight of this, but it is very true that the equivalent of shows like Hannah Montana and so on could be found from Disney back in the old days with the Mickey Mouse Club material, and the many complaints about current Disney taking tween girls and manufacturing them into pop stars who sometimes don't even have the singing chops to begin with seem irrelevant when we consider that the same thing was done with Annette. The EXACT same thing. But, it looks very different because kids' entertainment and kid shows and stars are obnoxious and overly sexualized now. Therein lies the big difference between the kid-aimed material, and it's just the times a changin'. The moral code was overly strict then, and now it is just totally retarded and hypocritical, with tweens dressed and dancing trampy on kids' channels while you've got Dateline catching predators on the other channel at the same time, ha. But, at the heart of the shows themselves, yeah, you have Disney making shows targeted at kids that are really very, very corny. So, yeah, Disney did do that even then. We might as well stop saying they didn't. And they manufactured pop-stars too. The difference is that they didn't devote the majority of their resources to this in pursuit of the dollars it brought. Walt had higher ideals because it was a family company at the time, and that's very important to note. He had more he wanted to do with his company than just make money. He loved to make films and he wanted to make a theme park to bring them to life. The money was the means to do that. What happens now is they make films and build/run theme parks for the sake of the money. That part is reversed. So, when they make a kids' show and it's a hit, they make 20 copycats and completely turn the Disney Channel into JUST THAT. It was once a high quality, highly respectable premium channel, now it is 24 hours of basically the same thing, and a huge cash cow.
It's the same thing with the feature films. Yeah, Disney always made violent action films. At least, ever since they could afford to, starting back with Treasure Island. Pirates of the Caribbean was an excellent film, and I think Walt would be proud of it, whether or not he would have saw it's value beforehand enough to greenlight it. I think you can go through all the years of Disney and find things here and there that Walt would be proud to have his name on, all the way up to today. However, I think a lot he would not have been happy with either, and some he never would have done. But, sequels and franchises? Sure, if they could be afforded. There were a lot of Herbie films. Okay, that wasn't Walt's doing, but he did make sequels during his day too. Son of Flubber is a great example. And, really, the anthology series was all about franchises, Davy Crockett being the most popular. These resulted mostly in comic books, but other merchandise as well.
So, I think it's true that Disney has always made the sort of material that they make today, and they have always seen profit as a good thing, naturally. However, I think the money was a means to an end during Walt's day, whereas now it is the actual goal, and that hurts the quality. I also think the older stuff looks like classier stuff, and the reason for that is that it simply IS classier. People were classier back then. They had issues, for sure, but as far as the wholesomeness, the way the kids spoke and dressed on television, all that stuff, it was a bit dull, but far less tacky and obnoxious. The acting was often better as well. Sure, kids didn't really act like they did on TV, they couldn't have, but you could believe they did by the way those kids used to act on the Mickey Mouse Club, while, well, have you seen the acting on Austin and Ally? Ugh. I really think we tend to be too hard on the writing of the new shows though, as the old stuff was really cheesy too. But, we certainly don't need a whole channel of the same thing. Which brings me to the point I'm always trying to bring up about Walt's original desires. He was trying to make entertainment that could be enjoyed by the whole family at once. The shorts, the features (even the violent ones, generally I think Americans have never been too concerned with exposing our children too violent programming, at least until things got all PC), the TV shows, the parks... in Walt's day, the material he made was meant for the WHOLE family, to be friendly and watchable by the WHOLE family. I would say the Mickey Mouse Club was the ONE exception. I think entertainment in general is having a negative affect on the family unit these days due to its targeting specific age ranges, and it's also making more of it look like crap to everybody, since only a small range of things appeal to any particular age group. Channels like the Disney Channel, We, Spike, etc..., they put each family member in a different room watching a show tailored to them... This is the ANTI-Walt. They are doing the same thing at the theme parks by increasing the Six Flags factor (if you don't know, I loathe going to Six Flags, and most non-Disney theme parks). Adding more attractions and activities specifically targeted at small children and rollercoasters for the older folks rather than the great, show-driven attractions they used to have takes the Disney out of the Disney parks, in my opinion, and it's definitely profit driven.
Anyway, I'll stop already. I could end this in a less abrupt manner, but I'm spending too much time on it. My point is, Disney HAS always made the kind of material they make now, and yet they used to do it better and in a more tempered fashion, and profit wasn't the final goal, it was what allowed them to continue to create. And that's the difference that makes the old stuff USUALLY better than the new stuff, but some of the new stuff is still as good, nearly as good, and occasionally surpassing the old. Unfortunately, it is not the majority.
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