Royal Dano and Abraham Lincoln

Royal Dano as Lincoln

On Monday night I was watching an old Rifleman episode and it was an odd one.  One of Lucas McCain’s neighbors turns out to be Abraham Lincoln!  Well, not the real Abraham Lincoln, but rather a man who incurred psychic trauma during his Civil War service and now he believes he is Abraham Lincoln.  However, the man, portrayed by the late actor Royal Dano, looks and acts just like Abraham Lincoln.  This show was broadcast in 1961 when the Civil War centennial was big news, and this was a clever way of getting Lincoln on the Rifleman show, a series set in the 1880’s, without having to invoke time travel!  The episode was moving and as I listened I thought the actor portraying Lincoln sounded familiar.  Then it struck me: the Disney Animatronics Lincoln!


Dano provided the voice of the Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln show which Disney premiered at the World’s Fair in 1964. Disney chose Dano because he believed his voice was most like what Disney imagined Lincoln sounded like.  In this Disney was probably incorrect.  Most contemporaries described Lincoln as having a high pitched voice.  However, Disney was a showman and not an historian, and I think Disney hit upon a voice that did fit the popular imagination of what Lincoln sounded like, said imagination having been formed by deep voiced portrayals of Lincoln on film by actors such as Walter Huston, Henry Fonda and Raymond Massey.  The Animatronics Lincoln now has a new voice actor as Lincoln, but to generations that came of age in the final decades of the last century and visited Disney World, Dano’s voice will be that of Lincoln’s.


Published in: on December 29, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Royal Dano and Abraham Lincoln  
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Zorro: Foe of Big Government?

When I was a small boy, I loved watching the old Walt Disney show Zorro.  I have read recently that Disney, a political conservative, used the Zorro show to argue against big government.  There are some episodes that support this, involving outrage by the people over unjust taxes.  The fictional character Zorro fought against tyrannical government in Old California, and I guess Disney decided that this was  a good story line for how he viewed big government. (more…)

Published in: on September 29, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Zorro: Foe of Big Government?  
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Lincoln Courtesy of Walt Disney

Not bad as a simplified version of Lincoln and his role in American history.  The speech of the animatronic Lincoln consists of a compilation from various Lincoln speeches and writings:

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.

What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and independence? It is not our frowning embattlements, our bristling sea coasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, that if it ever reach us, it must spring from amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be the authors and finishers. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide. (more…)

Published in: on September 28, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lincoln Courtesy of Walt Disney  
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Bare Necessities


Something for the weekend.  The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book (1967).  My Bride and I watched The Jungle Book (1967) earlier this week.  It  had been decades since I last watched it and I had forgotten just how immensely entertaining it was and is.  The last film produced by Walt Disney before his death on December 15, 1966, ten days after his 65th birthday, Disney made no bones about the fact that the movie was to bear little relationship to Kipling’s masterpiece which Disney found to be somewhat dark.  This was to be a fun Disney production with lots of singable tunes and endless merchandising opportunities.  (His kindly Uncle Walt image was largely make believe, but Disney was a potent combination of artist and uber shrewd businessman.)  The Jungle Book was the second most popular animated film released by Disney, and I recall how in ’67 families flocked to see it.  The film is all about fatherhood, good and bad.  In Bagheera we have responsible Dad who wants get man-cub to a village to save his life from the tiger Shere Khan.  Baloo the Bear is fun loving Dad who teaches Mowgli about all the food, including tasty ants, that exist in the Jungle.  The various surrogate Dads in the film ultimately save the man cub from the tiger.  One wonders what Kipling would have made out of all this, but doubtless he would have cashed the Disney check, Kipling being one of the few professional writers who didn’t die broke and alcoholic.


That’s What Friends Are For.  The three mop topped Vultures were originally supposed to be voiced by the Beatles, but, regrettably, Lennon nixed the idea.

Bonus 2:


Go here to take The Jungle Book quiz.  I was Mowgli.



Published in: on February 20, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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The Three Caballeros

Donald Duck a good will ambassador?  Definitely in the strange but true category.  During 1944 Walt Disney produced the feature length cartoon Three Caballeros as part of the US Good Neighbor policy to rally support for the Allied cause in Latin America and oppose Axis influence south of the border.  Rather popular among audiences both in the US and Latin America, the critics were fairly mixed.  The most searing review was doubtless by Wolcott Gibbs of The New Yorker.  Go here to read it. (more…)

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Three Caballeros  
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