I'm not referring to the famous theme park when I say, Magic Kingdom. That nifty idea was probably somewhere in Walt's head but it remained a long, long way from being a reality. No matter. Things were going pretty well for the "Old Maestro" (still a young man) as he ruled over his Burbank Kingdom.
I love this photograph probably taken sometime in the late thirties or early forties. The boss looks pleased and relaxed. Walt Disney Productions had finally made the move from Hyperion over in Silverlake to their swanky new digs in the San Fernando Valley. I would imagine things looked pretty promising to Walt as he made plans for the future. Of course, as we know from history there would be many things that would negatively impact the fledgling studio. A world war and a strident labor action would be one of the many challenges Walt Disney Productions would eventually face.
Putting those things aside, let's take a moment to enjoy a peaceful spring afternoon with Walt Disney as he smiles for the camera. That's the Animation Building in the background and employees often enjoyed lunch on the sprawling studio lawn. More university campus than grundgy movie studio lot, Walt Disney Productions offered its employees a good deal more than simply a challenging job. It was the premiere animation house. The cartoon studio every other studio measured itself by. Walt Disney Productions was the top of the heap and simply having worked there for a time gave your resumé a considerable boost.
The Magic Kingdom is much larger today. It's employees number in the hundreds of thousands and I doubt the "Old Man" would even recognize the place if he came back today. The world we see in this photograph is long gone along with many of the ideals that once made this company so special. Of course, that's the plight of many companies today so we shouldn't be surprised. Trading your legacy for a buck has pretty much become the American way of life, hasn't it?