Marceline, Missouri is an almost mythical place to Disney fans. Those who know the history of Walt Disney know that this is that place he associated with his childhood. It was the place he fashioned Main Street, USA after at Disneyland. Some in Marceline even say that this is where “Walt found the magic.” Up until recently, Marceline really was a storied place. While descriptions and very old pictures could be found of this town in biographies of Walt Disney, for most people it lived on in the parks that Walt Disney dreamed up. However, there are real life people who lived around the Disney family and have memories of him and the connection he had with this town.
In Marceline, Andy Neitzert and his wife Sara journey to this town to discover the stories and memories found about Walt Disney. What he finds is really quite remarkable. This is a town that takes the role it had in Walt Disney’s life seriously. This of 3,000 has worked very hard to preserve the legacy they have in the Disney story. They have built and maintained the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. They have rebuilt and preserved the barn that Walt once played and performed in. From the local school to the park, Marceline strives daily to preserve the Walt Disney that they knew and loved in this small town.
As the residents of Marceline tell their stories, a picture of Walt the boy and Walt the man emerges. This isn’t a picture of some big Hollywood magnate but instead a person with a heart of gold who never let go of his roots. The Disney farm becomes
more than a black and white picture. The same goes for the “dreaming tree” and Marceline’s Main Street. They all jump to life as a place you can really visit. There is no illusion here. This is a living breathing town with a deep connection to Walt Disney. They love the man who lived in this town for five years as a boy and then continued to return and contribute to the community for the rest of the life. This film captures that love and devotion that is shared by the citizens of Marceline.
Walt Disney was a storyteller. Listening to the stories told by the many interviews found in Marceline, you begin to understand where this gift began. Marceline is a collection of stories about Walt Disney and his connection to this beautiful town. Many of these stories I had never heard before. Many were at risk of being lost to posterity. This documentary does a wonderful job of preserving a piece of Walt Disney’s history that could very easily have been overlooked. Any Disney fan really should check this film out. It offers a wonderful glimpse at a very foundational part of Walt Disney’s life. A look at this foundation gives Disney fans a much better glimpse at who Walt Disney really was and where he came from. A big hat tip to Andy and Sara Neitzert for a job well done. Go out and see this film!
For more information on Marceline, you can visit: http://marcelinefilm.blogspot.com/