Occasionally the thought haunts me that Disneyland is a lamentably small place. As a preteen boy, I didn’t know about the park designers’ (at Walt Disney’s behest) clever achievement of actual size illusion. Later, beginning in my teen years the place still seemed just fine even as I became better informed about the tricks being played upon my eyes and mind. But now in my world-weary decrepitude, the current park does seem limited both in physical size (maybe it’s the crowds) and in visionary scope. Continue reading
Ten year Lute Dodgson and his family visit Disneyland in 1961. He has two older sisters, one is a teenager and the other has aspirations in that direction. Currently he is feuding with them. Because in the past they’ve teased and pranked him, he has retaliated by writing stories depicting them as ugly witches. While eating lunch at the Casa de Frito, his sisters play a trick on him causing him to knock himself out. He gains consciousness in the kingdom of authorial ghosts. His family, of course, isn’t there nor are the normal park visitors – just ghosts of authors whose stories were turned into Disney cartoon movies and Fantasyland dark rides. Continue reading
In doing research for the Disneyland stories, J. M. has been reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and has discovered that Mark Twain’s dialogue and prose is a goldmine of archaic expressions and words. I shall borrow many nuggets from that source. One of the slang expressions used by the boys is, “gay”.
Has the modern definition of “gay” made its old usage archaic? Of course, most everyone nowadays titters when a not so old movie is mentioned: Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. I only ask because Mr. Twain has Huck Finn (whose diction is always rough and ungrammatical) use the word “gay” the same way as “bully” would’ve been in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Just before it became the polite way of referring to homosexuals, “gay” simply meant the same as joyful or elated. However, young Mr. Finn seems to be using the word in a different sense than joyful. Witness the difference: “Tom, that would be ever so joyful.” Versus, “Tom, that would be ever so bully.” If Huck had been around in my teenage years, he would’ve said, “Tom, that’s going to be so bitchin.” (I suspect the reason we liked using that superlative is because it sounded similar to the word, “bitch” which had a vaguely dirty word quality to it.) Continue reading
Speaking of the Magic Kingdom, a small and inexpert bit of research revealed that “Magic Kingdom” is trademarked by Disney Enterprises, Inc. While this was not unexpected, the research did reveal an interesting case of a Floridian company that tried to trademark “The Magic Swingdom” (golf instruction, not the dance or anything else). Disney Enterprises opposed it and won. The court found it significant that “swing” rhymes with “king”… well, that and the choice of the phrase’s first word “magic” combined with an “ing” word that ends with a “dom” automatically brings to mind “Magic Kingdom”. Continue reading
The Kingdom of Authorial Ghosts novelette is done. J. M. Barrie is the last authorial ghost to guide my little hero through his version of the dark ride which in the land-of-the-living Disneyland is called Peter Pan’s Flight. Mr. Carroll and Mr. Grahame join him, but not Alice or Mouse. I’ve read the 1904 play and the 1911 novel but haven’t yet finished a biography by Lisa Chaney, entitled Hide and Seek with Angels. Presently I’m with the faction advocating that the Peter Pan character is based on J. M. Barrie’s brother, David, and not on Peter Llewelyn. But, maybe I’ll change my mind and my novelette (presently just under 14,000 words) after I finish the bio or at least the chapters on the Llewelyn family. Continue reading