I suppose I’m kinda going backwards with these things, seeing as I’ve read this but no biographies of Walt. Nonetheless, I don’t think this will stand as a barrier to my enjoyment of either. I received The Vault of Walt as a Christmas present and was thoroughly surprised by what I read.
The first shock was it’s size, over 400 pages! I wasn’t expecting anything near that long, although that did not perturb me from racing through the entire tome in about 4 days such was the ease and eagerness at which I read it.
Jim Korkis, for those who do not know, wrote a blog over on the Mouse Planet website under a pseudonym before leaving the Disney Company and writing this book under his own name. Basically, it is a collection of stories that revolve around Walt Disney that Jim felt are not given adequate exposure in current biographies or even in any other literature.
The book is divided into four parts, each dealing with a different aspect of Walt’s life and work. They include such wide-ranging topics as: The Miniature World of Walt, the Gospel According to Walt, the Song of the South Premiere, Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, Khrushchev in Disneyland and Tinker Bell Tales.
All in all it the book is a smorgasbord of stories that I’d never heard of and that touch on aspect’s of Walt’s life that others either didn’t know about or chose to gloss over. A fine example is Walt’s religious beliefs and his apparent extreme religious tolerance of other faiths.
Some of the stories that revolve around Disneyland are almost as exciting as those surrounding the man himself. For instance there is a fascinating insight in the carousel at Walt Disney World, which is a genuine historical artefact and worth many millions of dollars. Yet park visitors ride it every day without even realising it!
Jim’s writing style is easy-going and easy to read as a result. The break-up of the stories also means that you can read it in a any order you wish, so it’s great for people (such as myself) who might only find time to read on story at a time.
Overall, I found that the Vault of Walt helped give me a more complete picture of the man known as Walt Disney. it helped fill in some blanks about how his childhood in Kansas and Missouri helped shape his work in Hollywood and beyond. As a purely entertainment piece alone I would recommend the book, but seeing as it is quite unique on its topic. As a pseudo-biographical collection of stories about one of the best-known people in the world, it is an essential place on my bookshelf.