Today might be a good day to whistle while you work. On this date in 1937, the first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered at the Cathay Circle Theater in Los Angeles. Walt Disney’s pioneering idea led to dozens of other musical films and stage shows, hundreds of wonderful songs, theme parks around the world, and characters that delight the young and linger in the loving memory of the old.
It doesn’t hurt that Walt Disney was a brilliant businessman, an uncommon innovator, an insightful critic of “the critics,” and an unabashed lover of America and its tradition of liberty. A few choice quotes from the man:
“Laughter is America’s most important export.”
“We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”
“Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”
“I have no use for people who throw their weight around as celebrities, or for those who fawn over you just because you are famous.”
“Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.”