Salvador Dali and Walt Disney: two visionary artists whose names I never thought I’d hear in conjunction with one another until I watched the Academy Award nominated short film and love story “Destino” in 2003. It seems that Dali and Disney, back in the mid-1940s, had hoped to work together on a short film by that name. The project was eventually scrapped due to their differing temperaments. (After all, Dali was the kind of guy who gave lectures while wearing a diving suit. He certainly sounds like a unique professor, but probably not the easiest employee.) “Destino” was only completed when Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew, hired Dali experts and animators to piece together the few images and sketches left.
Well, it seems that the story doesn’t end there: art historian Ron Barbagallo, a classic animation art conservationist who once worked as Roy Disney’s personal art conservator, believes he has found a collection of 72 hand-drawn story sketches and 13 storyboards that fill in the missing details of “Destino.” As he recently explained to a class at Chapman University, “Dali had a very definite narrative for this thing… It’s just not all in the 2003 short.”
For his lecture at Chapman University, Barbagallo created a 12-minute filmed rough draft using the discovered lost storyboards and drawings. The new version is similar to 2003 short, but is greatly extended and differs wildly in its final 7 minutes. According to the O.C. Register, the story manages to be much more straightforward and emotional, owing to extra scenes making for smoother transitions coupled with an altered ending that sends a powerful message of love. Now that’s a statement we can get behind! Barbagallo claims the animation techniques needed to produce Dali’s version would have been impossible at the time. Even if they could be done, such a project would demand years and millions of dollars. Walt Disney was not willing to spend the money at the time, particularly since the Disney Company in the mid-1940s was battling some economic woes, ones that couldn’t be rectified with Dali’s often grandiose ideas.
Luckily for us, after the project was cancelled, many of Dali’s sketches were displayed in the Disney cafeteria, and then collected by the unnamed owner of the sketches who died and left them to his partner, who reached out to Barbagallo. If verified, the sketches could be worth millions. “Salvador Dali and Walt Disney are among the most iconic artists in the 20th century,” explains Ted Nicolaou, guest curator of “Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination” at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. “Any work or collaboration between the two of them has added value – not just Dali (or) Disney but both of them – and therefore, this would be a spectacular find.”
Just looking through the images, we have to agree. If only Walt Disney had the money to spend (and the patience to withstand Dali’s extravagances), who knows what visions that dynamic duo could have shared with their adoring fans! (Images via Twitter)