p. 354 p. 355 p. 377

WALKING through the gates of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., is like stepping into a wonderland the likes of which Alice never imagined. It is another world.

All around you are modernistic buildings painted in glowing tones of rust, tan and green. The neatly tended lawns and shrubs add up to a landscape that Grant Wood might have painted. The broad thoroughfares that lead from one streamlined building to another have storybook names like Dopey Drive and Mickey Avenue. Here and there, cute girls in shorts and pigtails giggle and shout as they paddle ping pong balls over the net. In a field nearby, a thundering herd of grown men, yelling and laughing like kids on a sandlot, gleefully chase a football about. But it isn’t just what you see that’s different, it’s what you feel.

There’s an atmosphere inside those gates that belongs more to the world of fantasy than to that of reality. It grows on you. After a few minutes you almost expect to see the Seven Dwarfs come swinging around a corner to the tune of “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho! It’s Off to Work We Go!” There’s a kind of heartbeat to it, an undercurrent of excitement that seems to throb from within those brightly colored stucco walls.

This is the home of Mickey Mouse and Pluto and Donald Duck. This is the fun factory that spawned such visual delights as “Pinocchio,” “Bambi,” “Dumbo,” the magnificent ‘Fantasia,” ‘Make Mine Music,” “Song of the South,” “Fun and Fancy Free.” This ts the huge laboratory in which art and science are fused together onto brilliantly tinted strips of celluloid.


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