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Saturday Matinee

 

January 19, 2019

Disney Cartoon #3: "The EPCOT Film" (October27, 1966)
by Albert Gutierrez
This week's Saturday Matinee is unique, as I've decided to pick a short that was never screened in theatres and went largely unseen in its entirety until 2004.  In fact, less than half of the film is animated, the rest is live-action material shot in Disneyland and with Walt.

The EPCOT film was one of the last projects that Walt Disney worked on, and was a basic outline and proposal for his lofty Florida Project.  It was intended to create a futuristic and ideal community, designed with a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic areas of commerce, and pedestrian-focused residential areas.  The film is quite fascinating not only from an animator's perspective, but from economic, business, and urban planning perspectives as well.

It starts with a narrated look at Disneyland, offering us a nice and contemporary (for 1966) view of the park and its many lands.  Its focus is on how Disneyland has been hailed as the "greatest piece of urban design in the United States" (James W. Rouse, 1963), as it had become one of the best planned communities, by raising the standards and performances of what a theme park is.  From there, we move on to the "Florida Project" room, as Walt gives his own introduction to the project.  He explains how EPCOT will benefit from a lot of things that Florida has to offer: the sheer size of the property (over 27,000 acres), the two highways that can bring in tourists, the new theme park, the electric-powered transportation system, etc.  But most of all, he focuses on the city that has been designed as the centerpiece of the entire "Disney World": EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

At this point, we get to see the plans for EPCOT.  Sketches of the city and limited animation allows us to see how such a community would function, based on the "radial plan" that was used in Disneyland.  It's quite a sight, especially when you consider how New Pedestrianism practically dominates the entire design.  The use of electric-powered vehicles like the PeopleMover and the Monorail also show the evolution of transportation and an opportunity to move on from the reliance on gasoline and other polluting fuel.  What really struck me the most, however, was the residential areas.  Although they are a part of EPCOT, they also feel like their own sub-community.  It's very much like the suburban sprawl that develops in growing cities, although it is much more organized, pedestrian focused as mentioned earlier, and less concentrated in terms of number of homes per-square-inch.

After the spiel and summary of the EPCOT city, we also get a very brief discussion of the Industrial Park, which for all intents and purposes would gradually evolve into the "Future World" attractions that we have at the Epcot park.  A showcase for future technology, although the proposed Industrial Park is more business and technology minded than the theme park is, as it is proposed to be fully-functional work plants and factories.  Finally, we return to Walt, who says some closing words and then enthusiastically ends with, "We're ready to go right now!"

As lofty as the EPCOT film is, it sadly did not come to fruition the way that Walt ever dreamed.  True, we did get a theme park and monorail system, and EPCOT Center did open in 1982.  But a planned community on such a scale was sadly never accomplished.  Celebration, Disney's planned community in Osceola County, is nowhere near the lofty vision that EPCOT ever was.  As such, the EPCOT film is rather bittersweet.  It captures one of Walt's last dreams, which sadly still goes unrealized today, although there is always hope for the future, which is what EPCOT was all about.  Given the size of Disney's Florida property and the scope of the Disney corporation, I firmly believe that one day, EPCOT as Walt envisioned will one day be a reality.

For those interested in viewing the EPCOT film, it's available on YouTube, but I recommend purchasing it in "Walt Disney Treasures: Tomorrow Land", as it also includes several technological/future-themed episodes of "Disneyland", an interview with Ray Bradbury, and a very insightful interview between Leonard Maltin and Marty Sklar, the Disney Legend and Imagineer who wrote the script for the EPCOT film.

 

 

Past Saturday Matinees

Mickey Mouse
     - The Band Concert (1935)
     - Birthday Party, The (1931)
     - Boat Builders (1938)
     - Brave Little Tailor (1938)
     - Building a Building (1933)
     - Clock Cleaners (1937)
     - Croissant De Triomphe (2013)
     - Get a Horse (2013)
     - Hawaiian Holiday (1937)
     - The Jazz Fool (1929)
     - Lonesome Ghosts (1937)

     - Mad Doctor, The (1933)
     - Magician Mickey (1937)
     - Mickey and the Goat Man (2002)
     - Mickey Down Under (1948)
     - Mickey's Delayed Date (1947)
     - Mickey's Steam Roller (1934)
     - Mickey's Trailer (1938)

     - No Service (2013)
     - Orphan's Benefit (1934 and 1941)
     - Shanghaied (1934)
     - Steamboat Willie (1928)
     - Steamboat Willie Revisited (1928)
     - Thru the Mirror (1936)
     - Ye Olden Days (1933)
     - Yodelberg (2013)

Donald Duck
     - Beezy Bear (1955)
     - Chips Ahoy! (1956)
     - Donald's Diary (1954)
     - Double Date Don (2001)
     - Grand CanyonScope (1954)
     - How to Have an Accident in the Home (1956)

     - Lighthouse Keeping (1946)
     - Modern Inventions (1937)
     - Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940)
     - No Hunting (1955)
     - Sea Salts (1949)

Goofy
     - Goofy and Wilbur (1939)
     - Hello Aloha (1952)
     - A Knight for a Day (1946)

Chip 'n' Dale
     - Chips Ahoy! (1956)
     - Corn Chips (1951)
     - Out of Scale (1951)

Humphrey the Bear
     - Bearly Asleep (1955)
     - Beezy Bear (1955)
     - Hooked Bear (1956)
     - In the Bag (1956)

Oswald
     - All Wet (1927)
     - The Fox Chase (1928)
     - The Mechanical Cow (1927)
     - The Ocean Hop (1927)
     - Ozzie of the Mounted (1928)
     - Trolley Troubles (1927)

Alice Comedies
     - Alice's Wonderland (1923)

Other
     - Adventures in Music: Melody (1953)
     - All the Cats Join In (1946)
     - Ben and Me (1953)
     - Bueno Nacho (2002)
     - A Cowboy Needs a Horse (1956)
     - Daisy's Road Trip (1999)

     - Disneyland Showtime (1970)
     - Disney's Electric Holiday (2012)
     - Epcot Film (1966)
     - Evolution of the Dunk the Mayor scene (1965-2006)
     - Feast (2014)
     - Figaro and Cleo (1943)
     - The Flying Mouse (1934)
     - Football Now and Then (1953)
     - General Hospital - The Introduction of Lucky Spencer (1993)

     - Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (1964)
     - Grievance of a Starmaker (2002)
     - The Hardy Boys: The Stranger (1956)
     - John Henry (2000)
     - The Little Matchgirl (2006)
     - Max's New Car (2001)

     - Mickey and the Firefighter (1993/2002)
     - Muppet Mayhem: Baseball
     - Muppet Mayhem: Clapboard
     - Muppet Mayhem: Soap
    - My Heart Was an Island (1960)
     - Oliver and Company VHS Preview
     - Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Firing Lane (1942)

     - Paperman (2012)
     - Scrooge McDuck and Money (1967)
     - Seven Wise Dwarfs (1941)
     - Snow White World Premiere Newsreel (1937)
     - Tangled Ever After (2012)
     - Three Notable Disney Commercials (circa 1950s and 2002)
     - Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom (1953)
     - Tummy Trouble (1989)
     - Victory Through Rocket Power (1991)

     - War Shorts (1941-1945)
     - Welcome to the Future

Pixar Shorts
     - Geri's Game (1997)
     - Jack-Jack Attack (2005)
     - La Luna (2012)
     - Toy Story Treats (circa 1996)

Silly Symphonies
     - Father Noah's Ark (1933)
     - Music Land (1935)
     - Peculiar Penguins (1934)
     - The Skeleton Dance (1929)
     - Three Little Pigs (1933)
     - Tortoise and the Hare (1934)

Specials
     - 100th Week Retrospective
     - Animation Sequence Analysis: Beauty and the Beast
     - Animation Sequence Analysis: Robin Hood
     - Animation Sequence Analysis: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
     - Animation Sequence Analysis: Sword in the Stone

     - As the World Turns and Disney
     - Beauty and the Beast: A Look at three versions of the story
     - Beauty and the Beast: Theatrical Reviews Trailer
     - Beauty and the Beast TV Spots
     - Bedknobs and Broomsticks
     - Casablanca scene of The Great Movie Ride
     - Happy Holidays from Saturday Matinee!

     - Cinderella vs. Cinderella III
     - Colors of the Wind Multi-Language Reel
     - Comparing Three versions of Alice in Wonderland
     - Deleted Disney
     - Disney Classics: Timeless Classics
     - Disney Classics: Modern Classics
     - Disney Classics: Television Classics

     - Disney Family Movie Night - Summer in June
     - Disney Studio Album: 1960
     - Frozen Review
     - Golden Girls go to Walt Disney World
     - Golden Girls Pilot Episode
     - Great Movie Ride Week One: Mary Poppins

     - Great Movie Ride Week Two: Singin' In the Rain
     - Great Movie Ride Week Three: Raiders of the Lost Ark
     - Great Movie Ride Week Four: The Searchers
     - Great Movie Ride Week Five: Alien
     - Great Movie Ride Week Six: Footlight Parade

     - Great Movie Ride Week Seven: Wizard of Oz/Fantasia
     - Great Movie Ride Week Eight: Casablanca
     - Heffalumps and Woozles vs. Pink Elephants on Parade
     - "It" Moments
     - Life Comes to Fantasy
     - Lion King Bloopers and Stand by Me

     - Live Action Character References
     - Muppets through Films
     - The Newsies' Santa Fe
     - Peter Pan's deleted song, "Neverland"
     - Remembering Steve Jobs
     - Saving Mr. Banks Review
     - Sleeping Beauty Backgrounds

     - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' first trailer
     - Song Showcase: Three Essential songs in Pete's Dragon
     - Spaceship Earth video
     - Spot Marks the X (1986)
     - Special Song Showcase: Disney's Greatest Love Songs

     - Step in Time from Mary Poppins on Broadway
     - Thor: The Dark World Review
     - VHS Deluxe Collectors Sets for Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin
     - Walt's Sweetheart Team - Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten
     - The Watcher in the Woods
     - A Whole New World Recording Session

Winnie the Pooh
     - Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)

 

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