Remembering a Legend: An Interview with Dave Smith

Dave Smith

This week the Disney community lost Dave Smith, the founder of the Disney Archives. In 2011, DAPS MAGIC contributor DC Sarah conducted an interview with Smith. As we remember his life and the incredible contributions he made to The Walt Disney Company, read this interview with Dave Smith.

1. You recently retired from being the Chief Archivist for the Disney Archives, what is your favorite memory from your 40 years of working with The Walt Disney Company?

I have so many fun memories that it is hard to pick one.  If I had to choose, I guess it might be meeting and working with so many Disney Legends over the years.

2. What is your favorite artifact in the Disney Archives? Why?

I like the things related to Walt Disney, such as school drawings he made, for these are things that most collectors can hope to have.

3. What is your most cherished piece of Disney memorabilia?

I’d have to say my bronze Legends award statue.

4. Which Disney Park is your favorite? Why? Do you have a favorite attraction?

I like Disneyland, because that is the park I grew up with.  In Florida, I like Epcot–so many things to do and places to get a fine meal. 

5. What is your favorite Disney movie? Why?

My favorite Disney movie is the first one I saw as a kid–Song of the South.  Among the animated films, I like Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast.

6. The Disney parks have been updating older rides with new technologies, do you think this is in sync with Walt’s vision for the Disney Parks?

Yes indeed.  Walt was very interested in technology and always tried to be the leader when it came to the technology in his attractions.

7. Who is your favorite Disney character? Why?

Pluto; I like dogs.

8. What do you think of the move from 2D animation to CGI?

At first I didn’t like the new style, but recent movies, like Tangled, are so well done that they could almost be 2D.  So, CGI is growing on me.

9. When it comes to Park snacks: churro or popcorn?

I almost never snack.  But I do like both churros and popcorn.

10. Why is archiving is important? In a Disney sense, in a general sense, why do we need to remember the past?

It has often been said that “the past is prologue,” in other words, if you learn from the past, you won’t make mistakes in the present and future.  Disney is a company that reuses its past all the time, and makes a significant profit from its older characters and films. 

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