From Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counterculture

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From Walt to Woodstock: How Disney Created the Counterculture


Douglas Brode

Date published:



Austin: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292709242 (cloth : alk. paper), 0292702736 (pbk. : alk. paper)


The author overturns the idea of Disney as a middlebrow filmmaker by detailing how Disney movies played a key role in transforming children of the Eisenhower era into the radical youth of the Age of Aquarius. The author argues that Disney films contain more sociopolitical daring than any other Hollywood films of that era. Using close readings of Disney projects, the author shows that Disney’s films were frequently ahead of their time thematically. The author also argues that Disney, more than any other influence in popular culture, should be considered the primary creator of the sixties counterculture, a reality that couldn’t be further from his “conventional” reputation. To support his thesis, the author uses such films as The Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber and takes a closer look to find a figurehead of radicalism in Mary Poppins.

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