Walt Disney With Jane Goodall

Well, kind of. I’ll explain in a minute.

This weekend, in commemoration of Earth Day, Disney’s Animal Kingdom hosted Dr. Jane Goodall in celebrating the launch of the Disney Conservation Fund’s “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time” initiative. Disney is working with the Jane Goodall Institute to help protect great apes in the wild and collaborating with her “Roots and Shoots” youth-led community program to help increase the time kids and families spend in nature. Jane has been associated with Disney’s Animal Kingdom since its beginning and has been a tremendous supporter.

Dr. Jane Goodall with Rafiki at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Dr. Jane Goodall with Rafiki at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Photo by Walt Disney Company.

But that’s not where Disney and Jane Goodall first came together.

In August of 1963, National Geographic included a major article on Walt Disney and an article on Jane Goodall–together in the same magazine. Walt Disney was presented in a fantastic article about his entire organization.

The library of National Geographics at Walt Disney Productions. Another image would show Imagineer Herb Ryman using National Geographics to create drawings for New Orleans Square.
The library of National Geographics at Walt Disney Productions. Another image would show Imagineer Herb Ryman using National Geographics to create drawings for New Orleans Square. Photo by Walt Disney Productions

It went into details about animation, theme parks, audio-animatronics, and especially about his nature films–after all–it was National Geographic.

An image from the Disney film "Jungle Cat." Photo by Walt Disney Productions.
An image from the Disney film “Jungle Cat.” Photo by Walt Disney Productions.

The last article in that same edition of National Geographic shed light on a very young woman who writes about her life among wild chimpanzees.

The caption for this photo by Baron Hugo van Lawick notes how David, the chimpanzee hopes to get a banana in a hinged box.
The caption for this photo by Baron Hugo van Lawick notes how David the chimpanzee hopes to get a banana in a hinged box.

National Geographic writes: “A courageous young British scientist lives among these great apes in Tanganyika and learns hitherto unknown details of their behavior.” National Geographic noted that in their partial sponsorship of Jane, found her to “break new boundaries by seeking to understand these animals in the wild, rather than in cages or in captivity.”

The caption for this photo by Baron Hugo van Lawick Jane walks along with chimp, David Graybeard. Noted is that she carries a whistle in her pocket to summon searchers in case of accident.
The caption for this photo by Baron Hugo van Lawick Jane walks along with chimp, David Graybeard. Noted is that she carries a whistle in her pocket to summon searchers in case of accident.

I can’t help but wonder when both of these individuals were holding their first copy of this magazine, if they didn’t wander over to the article of the other. I wonder if Walt wouldn’t have wanted to featureĀ a True Life Adventure with these chimpanzees. I wonder what Jane was thinking looking at the animatronic versions of hippos and crocodiles in a themed jungle cruise.

At any rate, the rest is history. But the beginning of these two together, came in a National Geographic 53 years ago.

By the way, for Expedition Everest lovers and Pirates of the Caribbean lovers, this same editionĀ also has articles on National Geographic’s flag being placed at the top of Everest, as well as “Fluorescent Gems from Davy Jone’s Locker.”

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