A brief discussion of the role which Walt Disney played as the "dean" of those who seek to use the commercial mass media for educational benefit, including some mention of his aims, method, and "curriculum.'
With the rapid growth of educational television and the increasing awareness that schools and the mass media are, in a number of ways, partners in the overall educational process, it was particularly saddening last December when word came of the death of Walt Disney. Before he died, Walter Elias Disney's fertile mind led him to occupy many roles, but, most of all, he was a master of communications who brought both entertainment and education into the world in a distinctive way. In this respect, Disney may be considered the dean of those who have tried to use the commercial mass media in a manner which would make those media educationally beneficial to persons who attend to their messages.
Disney did not often admit to being an educator; he said he was an entertainer who dealt with factual material, but professional educators could hardly show better understanding of what makes children tick. And his mass media presentations likewise have drawn many adults into their audiences. His aim was to provide constructive experiences through the media, and he pointed out on a number of occasions that he sought to make movies which pleased his own family-the whole family rather than just part of it.