Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Disney Buys Lucas; Episode 18 - Ub Iwerks And Me

   When I was a Mouseketeer a lot of famous people would come by the sets to watch the filmings. Usually they were just milling around behind the lights and camera without any fanfare. It is very likely they all wanted to see Annette, but now that I am speaking as an adult, watching the season I was on on videos - which I do not do very often - I can see clearly that the asses of all the girls were deducible from common eyesight based on the design of the blue plaited skirts the girls wore. And looking at Doreen's or Annette's or Cheryl's or Sharon's ass was probably extremely high on the priority list of any famous male with a Screen Actors Guild card who was making in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. My own ass was very likely a draw for faggots, I have to say, based on what I can see of its big black ass proportions on the videos of me at 12. It's almost as though from my new perspective as a grown depraved adult that the handmade tailoring of the boys' trousers in no way attempted to shroud or disguise the flowing, curvy, tight proportions of those young teen male asses. The famous people who showed up may not have been all there to look at the girls' asses at all.
   One day Ub Iwerks showed up. The reason I know is because we were all - the ones who were shooting that day - were brought over to a portion of the sound stage that had a door slightly open to let in some light and sitting quietly and unassumingly on a stool was Ub Iwerks. I know it was him because we were told, "I want you all to meet Ub Iwerks," the presenter said to us. There was a solemn silent perplexity from all the other Mouseketeeers in the troop, except for myself. I, who rarely piped up on the set, blurted "YOU DID FLIP THE FROG AND WILLIE WHOPPER!!!!" The slouching tired-looking man suddenly came to life to some extent and looked at me and seemed to be trying to smile. "Yes. That's correct." All the other Mouseketers in the pack - some of them feral cunning pushy self-absorbed mini-sovereigns - immediately pretended to be on top of all things Iwerks-related. "Yes! Flip The Frog!! Ooooooo! Hi, Mr....... Works."  "You can just call me Ub." "Ummm....what?...." "Ub is his first name," I told the others with a smidgeon of annoyance. I used to watch Flip The Frog cartoons and Willy Whopper cartoons on various cartoon shows and was always impressed with the excellence of the animation for the Iwerks cartoons compared to the other cartoons that were born in the early days. Meeting Ub Iwerks was like meeting someone who actually mattered. Meeting the President would have meant nothing, the President was nothing to me then and is nothing to me now. Cartoons and comics and video games are more important than any politician to me even now. More so now.
   So anyway the other Mouseketeers swarmed Ub Iwerks to be his pal and pretend they knew all about him and I just watched the proceedings and lost myself in the realization that I was actually meeting Ub Iwerks, a cartoon king, a creator of the cartoon phenomenon. I did not know at the time that he helped Walt Disney get started and probably created Mickey Mouse. If I had known he had created Mickey Mouse I would not have liked him as much because I never thought Mickey Mouse was anything but a piece of shit as a cartoon character.
   Anyway I met Ub Iwerks and I knew who he was and he noticed that I knew.

   One day I was called into Walt Disney's office. This actually made me nervous because I considered it my duty to avoid Walt Disney because talking to him would be like talking to the creator of the universe. I was pretty non-chalant around "fame" and "celebrity" festooned people, even the Queen of England would have more or less been of no interest to me - unlike Audie Murphey who I would have bowed down to, or Adolph Hitler who I would have enjoyed meeting and telling him I thought his officers were very well dressed - but meeting Walt Disney - the king of American magic and happiness and all that is the Stars and Stripes....that was more than I could handle without making a total blubbering drooling stammering fool of myself. He was more awesome than Fess Parker!
   I was let in and he was sitting at a desk and looked over and grinned and got up. I was relieved that I was not in trouble. I was constantly in some minor mischief that was considered "unprofessional" by the other lifer-showbiz kids on the show. But I could see that this was a nice guy. At least to kids, fair to say.
   He went and got a chair from near a wall and set it by his desk and sat back down, inviting me to the chair. I sat in it and he said "Ub Iwerks tells me you were excited to see him. That you knew who he was just by hearing his name."
   "He did Willie Whopper!!"
   Walt Disney smiled and chuckled. "Why do you like Willie Whopper?"
   "Who makes a cartoon about a kid who is a devoted liar??!!!" I damn near added, "Willie Whopper is everything Mickey Mouse is not!! Mickey Mouse is a god damn afternoon nap!! No personality, no temper, no humor, no abilities other than talking like a spaded and neutered puppy. And Morty and Ferdie? FERDIE???  Nigger please." Or words to that effect.
   What I actually said was "Willie Whopper lies. Who makes a cartoon about a liar?" (Not you, Mr. Cautious.) "Willie Whopper is a real boy; always in trouble with adults and having to talk his way out of trouble. That's his whole role in life: lying. It's a lot more interesting than the dog knocking over the lamp." This was a reference to Pluto, another cartoon character I fucking detested.
   After a moment Walt Disney said "Ub was very happy to know that someone age 12 in 1956 knew who he was. He asked me to tell you how much it meant to him."
   I said sure, no problem, i was excited to meet him. Disney said yes, he knew that and thanked me again. Then he told me to go back to work, in a friendly sort of way, and a door opened and a woman was waiting to escort me out. I waved bye and went back to work. On the way to the outer door the woman said "The other Mouseketeers do not need to know about this meeting. They will all want to come up here and Mr. Disney is very busy. Mr. Disney and Mr. Iwerks merely wanted you to know they appreciated your appreciation of Mr Iwerks. Mr Iwerks was especially happy you knew who he was. Mr Disney and Mr. Iwerks are old friends, they started in the animation business together, Mr Iwerks was very influential in Mr Disney's success. This has nothing to do with the Mouseketeers. This is separate from your job here as a Mouseketeer. This was like a personal meeting. You should be very
honored by this. This is more important than being a Mouseketeer. It's like three friends." She put her hand on my shoulder and looked right at me, like an agent would, and like agents had in the past and like a few of Benedetto's buddies had also done. She looked intently into my eyes, which were gazing back at her in a kind of dejavu concentration, like something more was going on than was going on. "Mr Disney and Mr. Iwerks would be very happy if you kept this personal moment that has made Mr. Iwerks very happy...if you would keep it to yourself. Just the three of you will know: you; Walt Disney; and Ub Iwerks."
   When you are a child in hollywood and "grow up in the system" - which I did not - you learn as if by osmosis that there are certain protocols that must be obeyed even though no one ever talks about them or admits they exist. For example, you show up on time if you are going before the cameras. You show up when you are told to show up and if you dont - you will be fired. They will find a reason. Hundreds of people are waiting to film you - which is always complicated - and there are time limits and if you are late you piss off a lot of people all at once, most of whom don't even know you, they just know that they can't get started untill you show up because YOU are the reason all the others are there, because YOU are going to be the one being filmed. And it is a film studio. Something has to be filmed. And if it's you - you better be there when you are scheduled.
   But this is never talked about. Showing up on time is merely one of the quiet corridors a child star or any other kind of film actor climbing up the ranks moves on to the next step by doing. Movie making is not about your fucking face or your fucking talent: it's about your fucking face and your fucking talent having the ability to show up on time. Show up on time and maybe we will promote you. Cause we can rely on you to show up on time.
   There are other protocols never talked about but that exist. This is just one example.
   So this personal secretary - or whoever she was - bending down at me with one hand on my shoulder telling me that Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks - and I guess her -  would appreciate it if I kept this among the four of us: sure. I guess this is a protocol. Not a problem. That's show business, I figured.


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