The Films That Made Me A Disney Fan: The Rescuers & Pete's Dragon.

I had gotten into a conversation about what Disney films really made me a Disney fan. As with any Disney question where you have to choose one over another, it's always difficult. But, for me, the answer undeniably comes to two films - The Rescuers and Pete's Dragon. Both films came out in 1977 when I was 8 years old. While I had seen Disney films before these films, I don't think I was cognizant of them being Disney films. They were just funny films and cartoons.

In 1977, I was in 3rd grade. I had just finished reading a couple of books my Margery Sharp - Miss Bianca and The Rescuers. I loved these books and the characters so much. Later that year, Disney released an animated film based on Sharp's Rescuers books. I, of course, wanted to see it. And, I remember being a wild eyed child, getting to see characters he had become so acquainted with on the big screen, and my first thought was, "Ah ha! That's what Miss Bianca sounds like!" I remember it like it was yesterday.

As for Pete's Dragon, I hate when people say its largely a forgettable film. And, I get that you can sum up this film with this sentence - "A musical adventure about a boy and his dragon escaping a bunch of white slaver hillbillies to go live with a nice lady and her lovable drunk lighthouse keeper father all while helping save the dragon from the bumbling machinations of a flamboyant flim flam snake oil salesman and his equally lovable drunk assistant." But, for me, and I think you can ask a lot of people my generation, that this is a special film. It is one of my favorite Disney films of all time. I think part of it is, being 8 years old, I really wanted a dragon. And, truth be told, I though, and still think, the music is absolutely wonderful. Some call it a knock off of a Sherman Brothers soundtrack, but, I love them and can sing them by heart.

I think the biggest connective tissue to identifying these films to Disney for me was going to Disneyland and seeing the characters there. I remember meeting Bernard and Bianca along with Orville. I wish I had pictures, but I just remember thinking it amazing to see them up close. The most amazing thing to me, though, was seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade. I remember looking down the street and seeing Elliot in all his glittering lights coming down the street and being so amazed. I can still feel my body tensing up with excitement and jumping up and down. It was so magical. I love the fact that Pete and Elliot are still part of the Main Street Electrical Parade and am sure I will feel the same way I did when I was 8 years old seeing him roll down Main Street when the parade comes back to Disneyland again.

So, these are the films that made me a Disney fans. What is/are yours and why?


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