“The Wonderful World of Disney,” a hugely popular television show on Sunday nights for 25 years, gathered America around a tribal fire for magical storytelling. The theme song was classic Disney–“When You Wish Upon a Star.”
The joy-giving stars we are celebrating this week have each added wonders to our world, like Emily Dickinson, mostly self-cloistered for decades, created her own world of words, and Jay-Z, one of the most popular wordsmiths in today’s world.
In 1953, Walt Disney bought a 160-acre site near Anaheim, California and created “Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth.” This wonder-filled theme park, the only one built under the direct supervision of Mr. Disney, is our destination for “The Wonderful World Birthday Party.”
Since its opening, Disneyland has embraced many changes, some saluting the world as we know it and many—otherworldly. The expansions and innovations include the addition of “New Orleans Square” (1966), “Bear Country—now “Critter Country” (1972), “Mickey’s Toontown” (1993) and “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” (2019). Almost seven decades after opening, Disneyland is still the second most-visited theme park in the United States, surpassed only by the very park it inspired—Disneyworld.
You feel the joy of “The Wonderful World Birthday Party” as you cross over the moat and hear the merry laughter coming from our happy place in “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.”
HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.)
PLEASE GIVE A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THESE JOY-GIVERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK:
Dec. 4—JAY-Z (Shawn Corey Carter) is a rapper, songwriter, recording executive, businessman and media proprietor. He is one of the most influential hip-hop artists in history. He has 23 Grammy Awards, the most for any rapper. He was the first rapper honored in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Dec.5—WALT DISNEY (Walter Elias Disney) was an animator, entrepreneur, writer, voice actor and film producer. Along with his brother, Roy Disney, he was the founder of Walt Disney Productions. He is famous for creating what is known as “The Happiest Place on Earth—Disneyland.” He won 22 Academy Awards and seven Emmys.
Dec. 6—STEVEN WRIGHT is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer and film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokes, paraprosdokians (think “brain hiccups”), non sequiturs, anti-humor and one-liners. He won an Academy Award for acting, writing and producing in his short film, “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.”
“Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Wright as the “15th Greatest Comedian” in its listing of the 50th greatest stand-up comics.
Dec. 7—SARA BAREILLES is a singer-songwriter, actress, author and producer. She is best known as the composer and lyricist of the hit Broadway musical, “Waitress.” She has sold over a million albums and nine million singles in the U.S. Bareilles has received a Grammy Award, three Primetime Emmys and two Tony Awards. Her best-selling memoir is titled, “Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song.”
Dec. 8—JAMES THURBER was a cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright and celebrated wit. He celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in “The New Yorker” magazine and collected in numerous books. His most popularly read work today is the short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”
Dec. 9—CLARENCE BIRDSEYE was an inventor, entrepreneur and naturalist, considered to be the founder of the modern frozen food industry. A 2012 biography of the scientist born in Brooklyn (NYC) is titled, “Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man.”
Dec. 10—EMILY DICKINSON was little known during her lifetime, but she has since been regarded as one of America’s most important poets. She lived much of her life in isolation, never married and her friendships depended almost entirely on written correspondence.
Though Dickinson was a prolific writer, of her almost 1,800 poems, only 10 were published while she was alive. Her poems contain short lines, typically have no title and employ unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Her themes are often about death, immortality, aesthetics, society, nature and simplicity.
COMMENTS OVERHEARD AT “THE WONDERFUL WORLD BIRTHDAY PARTY:”
“Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever.”—Walt Disney
“Hip-hop is a perfect mix between poetry and boxing.”—Jay-Z
“Right now, I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.”—Steven Wright
“Started a flicker, meant to be a flame. Skin has gotten thicker, but it burns the same.”—Sara Bareilles
“Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?”—James Thurber
“Go around asking a lot of damn fool questions and taking chances. Only through curiosity can we discover opportunities, and only by gambling can we take advantage of them.”—Clarence Birdseye
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”—Emily Dickinson
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”—Jay-Z
“If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”—Walt Disney
“If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.”—Steven Wright
“…time did what it always does—soften the edges.”—Sara Bareilles
“Two is company, four is a party, three is a crowd. One is a wanderer.”—James Thurber
“Worthwhile success is impossible in a 40-hour week.”—Clarence Birdseye
“Forever is composed of nows.”—Emily Dickinson
“We change people through conversation, not through censorship.”—Jay-Z
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”—Walt Disney
“Everywhere is in walking distance if you have the time.”—Steven Wright
“Show me…how big your BRAVE is!”—Sara Bareilles
“There are two kinds of light—the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”—James Thurber
“I am best described as just a guy with a large bump of curiosity and a gambling instinct.”—Clarence Birdseye
“That if will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”—Emily Dickinson
“Everyone needs a chance to evolve.”—Jay-Z
“To be successful, you must be unique, you must be so different that if people want what you have, they must come to you to get it.”—Walt Disney
“When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.”—Steven Wright
“The kaleidoscope of experiences you have had this year are deeply meaningful and have enhanced your perspective on what actually matters.”—Sara Bareilles
“Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”—James Thurber
“Anyone who attempts anything original in this world must expect a bit of ridicule.”—Clarence Birdseye
“Bring me the sunset in a cup.”—Emily Dickinson
“I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not trying.”—Jay-Z
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”—Walt Disney
“I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”—Steven Wright
“And so, here we go bluebird, back to the sky on your own. Oh, let him go bluebird, ready to fly, you and I, here we go. Here we go.”—Sara Bareilles
“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody else.”—James Thurber
“I am out with lanterns looking for myself.”—Emily Dickinson
“I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time,’ so I ordered French toast from the Renaissance.”—Steven Wright
MENU FOR “THE WONDERFUL WORLD BIRTHDAY PARTY:”
APPETIZER—Walt Disney Small, Small World Mini-Appetizers (southernliving.com)
SOUP—Emily Dickinson Sunset Cup of Soup (allrecipes.com)
ENTRÉE—Sara Bareilles Apple-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (thespruceeats.com)
SIDE DISH—Jay-Z Young, Gifted and Blackened Broccoli (cookingchew.com)
BEVERAGE—Clarence Birdseye Frozen Strawberry Grape Smoothie (see below)
DESSERT—James Thurber Walter Mitty Clementine Cake (feastofstarlight.com)
ONE TO GROW ON—This holiday suggestion is from the “New York Times” best-selling, children’s biography series. “Who Was Walt Disney?” written by Whitney Stewart with illustrations by Nancy Harrison, reveals the creative mind of the boy and then the man behind the wonderful worlds he conjured. Perfect Christmas stocking stuffer!
“The Wonderful World Birthday Party” ended with entertainment as all sipped their Clarence Birdseye Christmas-y smoothie. Jay-Z rapped some of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. James Thurber unwrapped some of his iconic cartoons, including the “barking seal”—Google it.
Steven Wright shared a few more one-liners: “If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?” …”Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your life.”…”Why isn’t the word ‘phonetically’ spelled with an ‘f’?”…”I have an inferiority complex, but it’s not a very good one.”
Walt Disney, magically made a grand piano appear in Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Sara Bareilles played this wonderful, world-aware song while all the others joined hands and sang along:
“It’s a small world after all.
It’s a small world after all.
It’s a small, small world.
It’s a world of laughter and a world of tears.
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.
There’s so much that we share.
That it’s time we’re aware.
It’s a small world after all.
There is just one moon,
And one golden sun,
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It’s a small world after all.
It’s a small, small world.”
CLARENCE BIRDSEYE FROZEN STRAWBERRY GRAPE SMOOTHIE
1 cup green grapes
1 cup red grapes
1 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
½ cup ice cubes
- Place all ingredients into a blender container and secure the lid.
- Select a smoothie program.
- Switch machine to Start and allow machine to blend smoothly.