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Listen: Walt Disney on Evolution…Yes, Evolution

David Klinghoffer

For many of us, encounters with the imagination of Walt Disney were key influences in childhood, and beyond. When I was growing up in Southern California, visits to Disneyland were a touchstone ritual for me — and so too for our colleague John West, the CSC’s associate director. In a fascinating and frankly, thoroughly charming new episode of ID the Future, he recalls a first visit at the age of five, and an ongoing fascination thereafter.

Listen to the podcast here.

Part of the interest here lies in the less-than-obvious question of how Disney shaped young people’s understanding of evolution. Evolution? Yes, that surprised me too when I first heard it. But consider.

Dr. West examines theme park and World’s Fair attractions and, above all, the enigmatic Fantasia with its iconic sequence “Rite of the Spring.” The author of Walt Disney and Live Action, among his other books, West shows that Walt Disney had not only a long curiosity about evolution but some startlingly subtle, even contemporary points to make about it. You’ll enjoy listening — it’s a great way to start to your holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at the Center for Science & Culture!

Photos: “Rite of Spring” cover, Disney Wikia; Walt Disney with cavemen, Look Magazine, February 11, 1964.