Renowned film historian and critic Leonard Maltin has had a life-long love for Disney. In 1973, he published a book on the films of Walt Disney, which was the first of its kind. He has released several other books including Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, which was a staple for film buffs during its 45-year run. You can find Leonard in numerous film documentaries and on his weekly podcast which he co-hosts with his daughter Jessie called Maltin on Movies. Starting in 2019, he also began hosting a film festival called MaltinFest. In this exclusive interview, I talk with him about his experiences in publishing, as well as the DVD line Walt Disney Treasures, which were released between 2001 and 2009.
What are your earliest memories of Disney?
It’s a two-part answer. One is, the first time I remember being in a movie theatre, my mom was leading me by hand into the Guild Theater, which is on 50th Street right behind Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. We were there to see the 1955 reissue of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In those days, they had continuous showings, and parents that were eager to get out were streaming out, though the film hadn’t finished yet. It was the last shot of the film. My mother was leading me in and the first image I saw was the last shot of Snow White, where the Prince and Snow White are going off into the brilliant sun. That’s burned in my brain. But also, I was the right age to start watching the Mickey Mouse Club and Disneyland TV show when they first went on the air. So that’s where and when I got bitten by the bug.