Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our Sentiments Exactly

ay I have your attention for just a moment please…

As you might be aware, there is quite a celebration upon us. Today is the birthday of a very dear friend of mine – a friend whom I’ve known as long as I can remember. I speak of course, of Disneyland. There isn’t much that I can say about Walt Disney’s fabulous kingdom that hasn’t already been said. We all share this mutual friend, and we all know the bond we hold. We know the enlivening sights and sounds, the fond memories, and that gushy feeling which pulses through us at the mere mention of its name.

On this day, Disneyland celebrates 57 years of giving us that tingle, and though we might gripe and grumble at the ravages of time and maturity on our dear comrade, that feeling has always been there, and will always remain. As I stated, there aren’t many original compliments one can pay to Disneyland, but I would love to honor our shining Birthday Star with a little celebratory anecdote…

I have to preface this story with the moderately-known fact that I am an artist, and have largely dedicated this talent to an un-Disneyland-related comic for the last several years. (The very nerve, right?) Well, last Saturday – hot out of Comic-Con, San Diego – I sat down at a quiet coffee shop table, hoping to accomplish a little writing and sketching for this project. I stared at a blank piece of paper, brainstorming for ideas, and though I was seemingly without distractions, this is what wound up on my page in less than an hour:

This isn’t unlike most of the doodles I churned out as a kid. Every other piece of paper had a crudely-drawn Matterhorn on it, complete with cave holes and a Skyway.

I keep this little index card scribble close by, as it’s always been one of my favorites:

 Judging by the Fantasmic! dragon on the right, I was probably about 10 when I sketched this… quickly, in pen, without photo references. That’s what Disneyland did to us as children. It CONSUMED us! Whether you were an artist or not, you probably couldn’t close your eyes without seeing Dumbo spinning in circles or pirate cannons blasting over your heads or a baby Brontosaur begging for food. I know you did, don’t lie!

I recently acquired a ’58 Disneyland souvenir guide on eBay. Upon first opening its pages, I noticed quite a few key words had been underlined by its original owner. While some might have frowned at a “graffiti’d” item, I absolutely loved that another child – a little girl, in fact, named Jeannette Johnson – was as enamored by Disneyland as I was… in the 50's! I had found a new friend.

Who could possibly be upset that a child found the words “on a mule ‘train’” and “ultra-modern in exterior design” important enough to underline?!

The biggest gem of all, however, was an index card (See a connection there..?) with what appears to be the opening of a school report:

“How would you like to ride a flying elephant as though you were 3 or 4 yrs. old. Or had you rather take a voyage to the bottom of the sea, or explore the universe in a space rocket.

There is a particular place in the United States where a person can do all three of these things in just one day. This fabulous place is Disneyland.

Disneyland is a “Magic Kingdom” because it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,”

And unfortunately, that’s all we get to see of Jeannette’s amazing report. I couldn’t find any way to describe how wonderful Disneyland is, or how it fascinated and enthralled us as kids… but I think these few lines speak volumes. (Jeannette, if you’re reading this, and have a fantastic memory or are an organized hoarder, please share the rest of this report with us. I need to know how it ends!)

So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I conclude my brief testimonial with a toast. Let’s raise a glass and a bottle o’ rum to This Happy Place of 160 acres. Here’s to our dear old friend, thriving as ever, and may it continue to enrich the lives of the young and young-at-heart for another 57+ years..!

Happy Birthday, Disneyland! Now, it's your turn to close your eyes and make a wish.
Love: Eric, Ginger, and Jeannette 


  1. I LOVE this birthday tribute....and your artwork! Since Jeannette's report was put on an index card, I wonder if it was perhaps an oral report that she had prepared? I bet she earned an "A".....or maybe even an "E"!

    In the words of our dear ghost host....I'll be seeing you both a little later!

  2. LOL, TM! Getting an "E" sure would have inspired me to try harder in school.