Disney Generations, Part 2
Kids rushed home from school in the 50s to watch The Mickey Mouse Club. Kids rushed home in the 80s to watch The Disney Afternoon. This was back when The Disney Channel was aimed at nostalgic adults and preschoolers, with little to nothing aimed at teens and tweens. Now, the situation is almost completely reversed, with huge emphasis on tween programming and none on the core audience that began watching back in the Vault Disney days. As Anne Sweeney told me in 2000, “To this generation, Hilary Duff *is* Walt Disney.” and there’s the difference. The Disney Afternoon remembered where it came from, reminded kids – and their parents who loved the Duckbergians and watched too – that there is a rich, timeless legacy of Disney characters, and adding strong, interesting and lovable new characters like Darkwing Duck, while remembering that rich history, is what keeps families coming to what I like to call “core Disney”, things like the parks and animated characters. There’s a disconnect between the tween shows and core Disney. I won’t buy tickets to the Jonas Brothers’ theme park, visit Miley Cyrus’ prototype city, nor bet any money on Hilary Duff’s amazing innovations in technology and storytelling. Walt was the tree, those who worked with him the roots and branches. There was a creative centralization that hasn’t been seen before or since. I’m looking at you, George.
It seems that those running Disney on TV seem to be making a concerted effort to drive away longtime, dedicated fans, whether it be removing all signs that a man named Walt Disney ever existed from the channel with his name on it to replacing beloved daytime dramas with cheap knock-offs of Food Network “cooking and lifestyle” shows that people started getting burned out on two years ago. Perhaps Disney is trying to kill of ABC Daytime altogether, driving people away to the point that it would be more cost-effective to just hand over daytime to shows in syndication for the ABC affiliates for the 12 -3 slot.
It’s disheartening to think of Disney walking away from core audiences, especially when, in terms of core Disney and soaps, it’s something often passed down to the next generation, something people have fond memories of doing with their parents and grandparents. Will Marvel, whose creative philosophy mirrors that of Disney in many ways, pick up the classic Disney comics and start publishing them? I hope so.
@AaronSparrow: “We would love to continue Darkwing with the Disney books and Marvel – the American market is untapped. With a powerhouse like Marvel and their marketing, there’s no reason these comics can’t be wildly successful in the United States again.”