When Walt Took Us Way Back
So Dear To My Heart (1948) Celebrates Days Past
|'64 Reissue Sweetened By a Disneyland Short|
|Walt Conveys Personal Sentiment for SDTMH|
|A Soundtrack Album To Hypo 1964 Dates|
There'd be further remove by the time So Dear To My Heart had its first and only reissue in 1964. To by-then increased number of city-bred viewers, rural backdrop was more hardship and place to get away from than vanished utopia. These farm folk didn't even have television, after all. Not that Disney had ignored the theme since 1948. There had been Old Yeller and its more dramatic telling of a boy's attachment to his pet. So Dear's animal focus was a black sheep getting early start on household wreckage that would later occupy Great Danes, darn cats, and way-out seals of Disney 60's menagerie. You could, in fact, credit So Dear To My Heart with giving that formula birth. Slapstick in Disney live action saw first flowering here. Maurice Rapf, who co-wrote So Dear To My Heart, recalled in his 1999 memoir (Back Lot, from Scarecrow Press) that 20's comedies were often shown during lunch hour to animators and story men, there being "much to learn" from Mack Sennett, Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and Charley Chase.
Sight humor would temper So Dear's lament for a past beyond reach. There would also be life lessons spoon-fed by animated critters in short segments throughout, these a hook perhaps over-emphasized by Disney-RKO sales. Not a few ticket-buyers figured cartooning to be bulk of footage, where in fact opposite was true: this time live action would dominate. So Dear To My Heart first went before cameras in 1946, had scenes added through early 1947, Disney spending much of 1948 at further delay and tinkering. So Dear was a very personal project and a closest Walt came to faithful recreation of boyhood he'd known. For having made scant impression when new, the film saw next service on