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Saturday, May 09, 2009

More on Once Upon a Time

The eminent historian Michael Barrier has recently posted an item about the fake Disney sighting in the 1944 film "Once Upon a Time."

What struck me in the whole issue is that I find that the office actually REALLY looks like Walt's formal office!

I have shamelessly stolen the screen grab from Mike's site, the left image below. Then, a triptych composed of one black and white photo taken during Walt's lifetime and two taken in 1968, and finally a plan of Walt's formal office in the Animation Building in Burbank, room 3H-1 which I recreated from photos. The office currently may still be hidden behind the walls in the Disneyland Opera House, if it is not already moved into the Disney Archives' storage in conjunction with the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln recreation.


On the floor plan, the camera in the scene from Once Upon a Time sees the light red area, originating behind "Walt"'s left side. The three photos are taken in the direction of the three red arrows. Notice the round shape, possibly a speaker, in the left top of the screen grab? It is the same shape in the top of the left photo!

Furthermore, you see the side of Walt's grand piano, a sofa in a wood-paneled alcove with a table in front of it (implied by the big lamp), a vertical metal pole structure that seems to keep the overhang up - this goes through the side table of the sofa, then a door (closed in the grab) that went out to Walt's secretaries and finally a cupboard of sorts, in the grab with a vase on it. The angle on Walt's desk, the height of the room - all seem to be correct.

Did they actually use Walt's office??? This possibility seems hard to grasp, especially with the relationship that Columbia had with Disney, as explained by Mike Barrier. They would also have a hard time getting a camera in that confined space behind Walt's desk. Then again, would they really go to this much trouble to precisely recreate Walt's office, which was neither well-publicized nor accessible to the general audience, on a sound stage? Maybe it is shot against a rear-projection screen? Or a giant photo backdrop? The shadow of the lamp on the sofa does look a bit phony... What do you think?

The idea that Walt, in a suit, would sit in his formal office with the doors shut making calls seems odd to me - he would most likely be casually dressed in his working office next door - unless he was in a formal meeting, in which case he would not be making this call.
Well, ok, it is a movie after all...

[Remember that the event in Hemet is this afternoon at 3:00!]

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Anonymous John says...

I had a look around at Walt's two offices; he had one for receiving visitors, and one where he actually did his work. I was on friendly terms with one of the cleaning ladies, and she showed me around early one morning.
John Ewing

Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 3:05:00 AM PDT  

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