A SALUTE TO THE MOUSE
Remembering the Disney Classics My Kids Loved on Mickey Mouse Day
These days Disney is an empire that has made billions and courted controversy, but once upon a time, it was just The Mouse House, home to Mickey and crew and a host of beautifully illustrated cartoons. When I realized that Nov. 18 is Mickey Mouse Day — designated to celebrate Mickey’s 1928 debut in “Steamboat Willie” — I knew I wanted to dedicate this newsletter to the Disney cartoons of the ‘90s that my sons were raised on (and obsessed with). My son Clinton is 27 now, but, back when he was a sunny 6-year-old, he was hooked on “The Lion King.” We must have watched it together 75 or 100 times — enough to wear out three VHS tapes. For months, he wanted to watch it every day! It was the first thing he asked for every morning when he woke up, and when I agreed, watching it with him was a rollercoaster. Considering the movie is based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” it’s no surprise it has its emotional ups and downs. Little Clinton would get so sad every time Mufasa was trampled in the wildebeest stampede even though he’d seen it dozens of times before. Luckily, that tearful mood would only last until Timone and Pumba appeared on screen and cracked a joke. It’s a great feel-good movie overall, and, even though I got burned out on it at the time, now I look back on those mornings in front of the TV as great memories. One not-so-great Disney memory came a bit later in 1998 when my family made a trip to Disney World in Orlando. The trip itself was fantastic, but the trouble came when we were getting ready to hop on the plane to head home and 6-year-old Clinton was stopped by airport
security. It turned out he’d slipped a little plastic knife we’d bought him as a souvenir from a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed boat ride into this backpack, and was trying to take it on the plane! This was before 9/11, but even then, nothing that looked like a weapon got the green light, no matter how cute its 6-year-old owner was. We had to leave it behind, and Clinton was inconsolable. Thankfully, we had our worn-out copy of “The Lion King” at home to cheer him up. When my now 17-year-old son Elliot came along, he was more into Pixar than Disney though they collaborated on his two favorites: “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.” I have to say, I loved the “Toy Story” movies almost as much as he did and still do! I appreciate the adult humor they slip in that little kids won’t get, and in the end, they’re just great stories. I watch them whenever they come on TV and even went to see the fourth
movie twice in theaters. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil the ending for you, but let’s just say it’s not what you’d expect! Funnily enough, both my sons got their names in part from Hollywood: Clinton from Clint Eastwood, and Elliot from the main character in the movie “E.T.,” which my ex-wife and I loved. Considering “E.T.” is a Disney movie, I guess I have a lot to thank the mouse for beyond just good memories! Next time you call me up for tax advice or help to get out of a snag with the IRS, let me know what your favorite Disney movie is — I’m always ready to talk cartoons.
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