Strange Bedfellows or Kindred Spirits?

Walt Disney. Salvador Dali. Strange bedfellows? Or kindred spirits?

When we say that two people are strange bedfellows, we mean that we don’t usually connect them in our thinking.  The relationship seems odd (unusual or unexpected) to us. Shakespeare used these two words in his play The Tempest to describe two very different characters who, surprisingly, became partners (people who do an activity together).

As a child, Walt Disney loved to draw. The love of drawing led Disney to become an animator – an artist who creates images that give the appearance of movement when they are shown quickly, one after the other. He is the father of Mickey Mouse and all the other well-loved Disney cartoon characters. Before he died in 1966, Disney’s work grew to include award-winning movies and the theme parks, like Disney World, that have brought joy to people from around the world.

Salvador Dali is well-known in the art world, but not as well known as Disney outside of it. Dali, a Spanish painter, lived at about the same time Disney did. Dali is probably the best known of the artists we call surrealists.

Surrealists believed that people put too much emphasis on reason and knowledge, so they created wildly imaginative dream worlds in their art. They put objects together that don’t usually appear together. And they painted common objects in unusual ways. Dali, for example, paints larger-than-life (bigger than you would expect) watches hanging on trees and other objects as if they were laundry (dirty clothing) hanging out to dry after being washed in his famous painting The Persistence of Memory. Many of his paintings, like Persistence, seem to show a great sense of humor and make us smile. Some of his paintings, however, like Christ of St. John of the Cross, are serious works that make us think. I have a copy of it hanging on the wall of my office and often look at it and wonder what exactly Dali was thinking about when he painted it.

A few days ago, I discovered that Disney and Dali collaborated (worked together) on a short film, called Destino, near the end of World War II. Nobody knew about Destino until Disney’s brother Roy found it in 1999. In 2003 Destino was nominated (officially suggested) for an Academy Award (an Oscar).

Destino tells the tragic (sad) love story of Chronos (time as a person), who falls in love with a mortal (human) woman. Disney’s animation brings the two characters to life as they float (move without effort) across Dali’s surrealist landscapes (pictures showing areas of land). The film’s music was written by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez.

I’m fascinated by the different ways the two artists described the film. Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and Disney World, calls it “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.” Dali, the surrealist artist, says it’s a magical display (showing something so it is easy to see) of the problem of life in the labyrinth (something that’s hard to understand and difficult to escape) of time.” I’ll let you decide which it is.

Here are the lyrics (words) of the song; they are repeated (sung again) several times:

Now I can smile and say:
Destino, my heart was sad and lonely
in knowing that you only could bring my love to me.
Destino, this heart of mine is thrilled (excited) now.
My empty arms are filled now as they were meant to be.
For you came along (appeared), out a dream I recall (remember).
Yes, you came along to answer my call.
I know now that you are my destino (destiny=future).
We’ll be as one, for we know our destiny of love.

Walt Disney. Salvador Dali. Strange bedfellows? I think not. I think they’re more like kindred spirits (people who share similar beliefs, attitudes, abilities, or feelings). They were creative geniuses (someone with a high level of ability or intelligence) who have made us smile and helped us think differently about life. I think it’s fitting (appropriate) that they worked together to create Destino.

~ Warren Ediger, creator of Successful English, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Strange Bedfellows or Kindred Spirits?

  1. Sergio says:

    Dear Warren,
    thank you very much for your gift! I’ve been really delighted by your post, because when I was young I liked enormously the surrealism
    and the dadaism as well: from writers like Aragon to film makers like Buñuel and artists like Dalì… Watching the “cartoon” DESTINO
    it looks like to see a Dalì’s picture moving on… I think they’d been represented last human art shakes before the triumph of the economic world…
    About “kindred spirits” I would like to mention to you and all the friends in this fantastic “here” a new cd played by the London Simphony Orchestra
    rearranging some songs written by an Italian singer, Fabrizio de André: something strange happens in the fringes between classic music and a sort
    of pop music…
    See you soon!

  2. sara says:

    Thanks Dear Warren,it was something really nice to see.

  3. Peter says:

    Dear warren,
    You and your posts:)
    Your post itself is dead surrealist.
    Heavy stuff.
    I like your posts ,though.
    They are different. They are eccentric.
    Good wording.
    I like the piece.
    Totally Informative
    I don’t know what to make of the movie.
    But ,the idea appeals to me
    Thanks ,
    As usual ,unusual post of yours always gave me this tingle in my mind.
    I m more into classic.
    I can’t make tails or heads of the rest.
    They are mind boggling
    There are some more important stuff to wreck my brain with.
    However,your dreamy post made me feel dreamy
    It is nice ,for a change.
    Getting off the harsh reality and floating around something surreal is refreshing.
    Thanks bro
    I m keen on your interesting posts.


  4. Betty says:

    Thank you very much indeed, Warren, for this art plus advanced English lesson. I have read your articles many times and searched a lot of information from the internet to find out more about Destino, strange bedfellows, kindred spirits, surrealism etc.

    I am very grateful for your effort to help us learn more important noun phrases every day.

    When I was growing up, I did not have a TV at home. I did not have any chance to watch any Disney’s productions, nor to own a Disney character toy.

    I am glad I am given a second chance to enjoy what I missed as a child.

    I think Walt Disney was a true great creative man who had brought a lot of joy to this world. I have visited every Disneyland in the world apart from the one in Florida with my children. I hope my children can bring their children to an even greater number of Disneyland in future.

    My father still remembers the moment he and my mother visited the Disneyland in Tokyo, Japan almost thirty years ago. It was a real magical moment for my mother who had never seen something so beautiful before in her life.

    I would like to thank Sergio also for using the word “Dadaism”. It is very important for me to learn this word.

    Thanks again, Warren, I am art illiterate but I am learning to appreciate art through your lessons. A bit late in life; but better late than never.

  5. emiliano says:

    To me S.Dali is one of my favorite artists.
    Years ago Cuca and me visited Figueras
    where it is his most important museum as
    this is the city where he was born and he
    donates his most important works to
    the city´s museum.
    Looking to his painting works alive is
    Cuca and me enjoyed the visit absolutely,
    we also went to Cadaques to see the
    little village where he spent the long
    years of his long life.
    Several of his paintings are the light
    of this Mediterranean village.
    The light is magic in this village and his
    works have this magic light.
    Dali spent a period of his youth in
    Madrid, being in touch with Federico
    Garcia Lorca and Luis Buñuel.
    The three were close friends and
    Garcia Lorca fall in love with him
    either, but Dali did not felt the
    same for Lorca.
    Dali also collaborated in two movies
    of Luis Buñuel, but also with Alfred
    Hitchcock and other directors.
    He was fascinated with all kinds of
    art expressions.
    He met also Picasso and Miro in
    To me is a genius of the art, eccentric,
    I do like Salvador Dali very much, in
    fact to me he is one of the greater
    spanish artists.

    Thank you very much Warren, you
    have touched one of my favorite


  6. emiliano says:

    Yes, Warren, Christ of St. John of the Cross is incredible, I had a copy also at home
    for some time as it is one of my favorit also.
    You can spend hours looking to a Dali´s art paints without being tired of seeing them
    as long as you want.
    One by one for a long long time.
    As Picasso or Miro I think Dali gives some influence to all kind of designs
    and colours.

    I would like to recommend to the blog friends to see his paintings in google
    images, sure they will be fascinated.

  7. Sergio says:

    Dear Emiliano, at the Tate Modern in London last summer I’ve been so lucky to see a Miro’s exhibition:
    Absolutely amazing and moving!!! He’s a favourite painters of mine – among them Georges Braque too…
    Having only two hours I didn’t see anything else at the Tate, but I’ve no regrets, absolutely.
    Is there something of him in Madrid?
    P.S. Do you remember the Buñuel movie about people stuck in a church? Great! What’s the title?

  8. emiliano says:

    Yes Sergio, there are in the Reina Sofia Museum and in Thyssen-Bornemisza.
    There are three museums in a small area of Madrid, The Prado, The Reina Sofia
    Modern Art Museum (“The Guernica” and other famous paints) and the Thyssen
    Bomemisza Collection.
    So Madrid has the Mile of Art in the centre of the city, in fact is the unique
    city that has so much art in such so smal space of land.
    Art lovers could have a lot of pleasure being in the city.
    From Buñuel one of the most famous films is:
    “El Angel Exterminador” but I think you are referring
    to “Viridiana” that it was declared obscene and blasfeme
    by the Vaticano as he made some scens that simulated
    “The Last Supper” of Leonardo da Vinci with music from
    The Mesias of Haendel.
    It was forbidden here, in Spain, by the franco´s government
    but also by the Church, of course.
    Well, I think Luis Buñuel is a very interesting director
    who observes all society´s sins and also the hypocrisy
    of the time he was living.
    There is another great film from him “Nazarin” that is
    about a priest that asked himself about his own faith.
    It is based on the Perez Galdos novel and the priest is
    absolute honest and having also lot of piety but seeing
    poor people of the surroundings have also too many
    doubts about faith, God, etc.
    Being an atheist, Buñuel, asked himself about Religion,
    God, and Jesus Christ nearly in a lot of his films.
    It is absolutely curious that people like him has so
    much doubts about human beings and God.

    Think about that Sergio, I could remember our talks about
    these kind of subjects.
    If you could, it would be nice for you to see some of Buñuel´s films.

    My best to you dear Sergio.


  9. Hilario says:

    SOUL MATES ARTISTS OR MORE.- Beyond of surrealism, some people think of another additional kind of kindred connection between Dali and Disney. Here in Spain runs an urban legend about Walt Disney´s real parenthood. It was in 1918 when young boy Walt Disney tried to join the army and he was rejected, apparently for being under age, but the real reason was for not having the compulsory official certificate of birth, among his filiation´s papers. The thing was feeded when some Disney executives came on to Spain in 1954 looking for evidences about the same paper issued in the village´s parish where he was baptized in 1901. Some Disney´s biographers support the fact that the real filiations of him is José Guirao and that he was born in the little village of Mojacar in the Southern region of Andalusia in Spain. Here in Spain all parochial birth records were destroyed after the uncivil Spanish war and the counterpart offical document was impossible to obtain in Chicago for the reason that Jose Guirao was the baby son of a recent immigrant which after severe illness was giving her son in adoption to neighbors close friends, the marriage Elias and Flora Disney, which adopted him and registered as foster son in 1902.
    Salvador and Walt became very close friends, and Dali, said and left wrote, that he asked once to Disney about this at the time when Disney was doing him a summer visit in Cadaqués, and Disney replied that the reason cause he loved so much surrealism might be the fact that he was born Spanish.

  10. Myo ko ko says:

    Thanks Warren,
    You bring in a heavy stuff.
    In fact, the subject “art” is a little Greek to me.
    But now it seems I get familiar with it thanks to you writing about it! 😀
    Keep it up! Warren, we are learning something from you day by day.

  11. Sanaz says:

    “I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream” Van Gogh said. It’s truly a fact.
    I think every artist like Dali and Disney did or does it. And when we look at a piece of art, we can find the artist’s feelings, thoughts, and even part of her/his spirit in it.
    Salvador Dali and Walt Disney were great geniuses we never forget. I know them by their works which are like reading their autobiographies. I love them both.
    Also love and enjoy your creative writings, Warren.
    Thanks alot!:)

Comments are closed.