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  1. #1

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    December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Walt Disney was born December 5, 1901—that’s 107 years ago. The Chicago house in which he was born is still standing. It's not a historic monument. Two other significant structures from Walt Disney's youth are also still in Chicago.

    Link to Walt Disney in Chicago at Yesterland

    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Interesting article Werner. And happy 107th Walt!

  3. #3

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Werner, thanks for spotlighting some of the great historical areas in my backyard
    MagicalTrash.com - Documenting the trash cans of Disney theme parks and resorts

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    It was interesting to read about Rev. Parr. Do you think he's any relation to Bob Parr AKA Mr Incredible?
    With kind regards,
    The Tony

  5. #5

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    That's a thorough tour! Thanks for a neat article, and happy 107, Uncle Walt!

    ETA: Barbossa, your avatar is cracking me up!

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    I love this type of article, it's perfect for Disney geeks! It's sad that the house where Walt was born cannot be preserved by some organization. You would think that the Disney company itself might make some sort of gesture towards preserving it. I thought I read that a group of fans got together to preserve Walt's Uncle Robert's garage which now is it Garden Grove - it's sad that it takes the fans to take the initiative to preserve history. Doesn't the Disney company realize that these things are precious to fans, and if preserved, would generate loyalty and loosening of pocket books all at the same time? Instead of planning an America theme park in Virginia as Eisner did, why not preserve these sites for the fans? Just think how inspired fans would be to actually see Walt's birthplace, at the same time fueling their passion for Disney even more?

  7. #7

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Werner, I have a great idea for an article, I don't think you've done it. I was in DL the other day, looking up at the windows on Main Street. There are names I recognize, of course, but there were some names I didn't recognize. Why not do a complete list of all the names on the windows, and explain who those people are?

  8. #8

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    This got me going...I just checked the Adventures by Disney website, they offer North American trips to Alaska, Arizona, Boston etc. - why not the ultimate Disney adventure - a tour through Walt's historical sites? Disney offers a night in the Disneyland Dream Suite - how about a night staying in Walt's birthplace house? Disney geeks would go crazy! Come on Disney, I'm not interested in going with you to Wyoming, but to tour Marceline in depth with a Disney guide? Yeah!

  9. #9

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    nice article. is there any reason the dont recognize them as historical landmarks? i mean you'd think at least his house would have something

  10. #10

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Great Article! I loved the details. Obviously it was well researched. Thanks!
    Jiminy Cricket Fan
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    Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Parr, Where have I heard that last name before?

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    Happy birthday Walt Disney! You remember me, don't you? I was one of the 3 year-olds frothing at the mouth to enter Disneyland when you first opened the gate in 1955.

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    I really enjoyed the article. Thanks for posting it! I love this sort of thing. I never cease to be amazed by how "fluid" Walt Disney was with his ideas and business ventures.

    After working the summer selling candy on the railroad, 15-year-old Walt entered McKinley High School in Chicago at 2040 West Adams Street in Chicago. It would be his final year of formal education.
    ...
    The same year that Walt attended McKinley High School, he took evening cartooning classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts at 81 East Monroe Street—
    This got me to wondering what motivated Walt to drop out of HS and try to join the army at age 16. That sounds like such a drastic thing to do, even if public perception of the need for formal education was less than it is now. Was he thoroughly bored and disenchanted with public education? Was it pure patriotic zeal that made him want to serve in the war? If he was already taking art classes did he figure that high school wouldn't do much to further his goals of being an animator?

    Quote Originally Posted by APJ1127 View Post
    It was interesting to read about Rev. Parr. Do you think he's any relation to Bob Parr AKA Mr Incredible?
    Wow. I wouldn't be surprised if Brad Bird or John Lasseter had made that connection.

  14. #14

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    First, thank you to everyone who has posted a reply. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. It was fun taking the photos and researching the article.

    Quote Originally Posted by RenMan View Post
    This got me to wondering what motivated Walt to drop out of HS and try to join the army at age 16. That sounds like such a drastic thing to do, even if public perception of the need for formal education was less than it is now. Was he thoroughly bored and disenchanted with public education? Was it pure patriotic zeal that made him want to serve in the war? If he was already taking art classes did he figure that high school wouldn't do much to further his goals of being an animator?
    Walt Disney joined the Red Cross, not the Army. I agree that it was a surprising move for the 16-year-old.

    In The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney (2007, University of California Press), biographer Michael Barrier described that Walt got the idea because his older brother Roy was in the Navy:

    Roy Disney had joined the navy on June 22, 1917, soon after the United States entered the First World War. He was called up in the fall of that year, and after leaving Kansas City he passed through Chicago with other recruits on their way to Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Walt met Roy at the rail terminal, where Walt was briefly mistaken for one of the recruits. “It put a bee in my bonnet,” he said. When Roy came down from Great Lakes to visit the family, “he looked swell in that sailor’s uniform,” Disney said. “So I wanted to join him.”

    He was too young, but in the summer of 1918, when he was working in the Chicago post office, he signed up with “a private subscription deal forming for the Red Cross,” as a driver in the American Ambulance Corps. “I was still a year too young,” he said, and his father balked at signing the required affidavit, so his mother signed for both of them. Disney then altered his birth date on the affidavit, changing “1901” to “1900,” so that he would appear to be seventeen, rather than sixteen, and thus old enough to get the required passport.

    To me, that doesn't really answer the question of why a 16-year old, who at time aspired to be a cartoonist, chose to go overseas to drive an ambulance rather than staying in Chicago and continuing to develop his skills as an artist.

    Biographers have had different opinions about the temperament of Walt's father Elias Disney. If you choose to believe some of the more negative portrayals, it's possible Walt wanted to get away from home.

    In any case, it seems that Walt was highly ambitious and hard-working. I can imagine that he found high school to be limiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by RenMan View Post
    Wow. I wouldn't be surprised if Brad Bird or John Lasseter had made that connection.
    I have have no idea if the name Parr in The Incredibles is a reference to Rev. Walter Parr or just a coincidence.

    When I heard the name Parr during The Incredibles, I thought of Jack Paar, the host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962 — after Steve Allen and before Johny Carson. The youngest member of the Parr family in The Incredibles is even called Jack Parr, which sounds the same as Jack Paar. But that's probably just a coincidence.

    I like the connection between Bob Parr and Walter Parr that's been discussed in his thread. It's better theory than any connection to Jack Paar.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  15. #15

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    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago

    What ever happened to that first post about walt disney in Chicago? I think Chicago could be perfect for such a place.
    Re: December 5, 2008: Walt Disney in Chicago I love this type of article, it's perfect for Disney geeks! It's sad that the house where Walt was born cannot be preserved by some organization. You would think that the Disney company itself might make some sort of gesture towards preserving it. I thought I read that a group of fans got together to preserve Walt's Uncle Robert's garage which now is it Garden Grove - it's sad that it takes the fans to take the initiative to preserve history. Doesn't the Disney company realize that these things are precious to fans, and if preserved, would generate loyalty and loosening of pocket books all at the same time? Instead of planning an America theme park in Virginia as Eisner did, why not preserve these sites for the fans? Just think how inspired fans would be to actually see Walt's birthplace, at the same time fueling their passion for Disney even more?

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