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Disney & Dali: An Unlikely Bromance

New exhibition explores weirdest friendship of all time.


Walt Disney: Father of American family entertainment. Salvador Dalí: cheerful European weirdo. Other than a love of mustaches, you’d think the pair had little in common. But a new exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum reveals that they were longtime friends and aspiring collaborators. What did such unlikely fellows see in each other?


Mutual Fanboyism
Disney was so enamored of Dalí’s work that in 1944 he sent him an honest-to-god fan letter, complete with a book to be autographed. And Dalí loved Disney’s movies, calling him one of “the  three American surrealists.”

Matching Career Goals
Like Disney, Dalí was a huge film buff who desperately wanted to break into Hollywood. The two planned a movie together, Destino. But postwar theaters' reluctance about experimental animated films and, yes, some creative differences conspired to make sure that the film was never formally produced. 

Outré Freethinking
“Disney, in his wasy, was equally as avant-garde and experimental as Dali,” says guest curator ted Nicolaou. Despite his company's rep today, Disney himself often put creativity ahead of moneymaking, which is why he took huge risks on movies like Fantasia. And Dalí, of course, was famous for his, artistic experimentation.



Originally appeared in the July issue of San Francisco.

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