Walt Wednesday: Everybody’s Got a Laughing Place!

Where would you be without your childhood best friend? Try and think back to that person and figure out why they were your best friend in the first place. Did you have a lot in common? Did you live near each other or were in the same class at school?  Whether that person is still in your life many years later or not, I’m sure everyone can appreciate the fond memories they bring.

Walt shared a lot with his childhood best friend — including his name.

Walt Disney met Walt Pfeiffer in the fifth grade at the Benton School. They lived on the same block and the two became close friends after Walt stayed with Pfeiffer when he came down with the mumps. Walt kept him company and taught him how to draw and the Pfeiffers quickly became Walt’s safe haven, a place to escape from his father’s strict discipline. He would later call the Pfeiffer home his “laughing place.” (Are you humming the Splash Mountain tune too?) Where everything in the Disney home was serious and a tad on the religious side, the Pfeiffer home was filled with laughter and singing. The two Walts would put on skits together sometimes accompanied by Pfeiffer’s little sister. Soon under the direction of Mr. Pfeiffer (who greatly encouraged this playtime) they put on acts at school for other students and talent shows. They started to do a “Dutch” act where they played Hans and Mike. Walt would wear his father’s old Deacon coat and Pfeiffer would wear a coat decorated with badges and medals.

When that turned into a hit, they started doing Charlie Chaplin impersonations with Walt playing The Tramp and Pfeiffer his arch nemesis, the Count. They had every mannerism down perfectly much to the delight of their audience. With the Pfeiffer family supporting Walt’s new creative talents, he found something within himself that I don’t think he would have realized otherwise. He knew how to draw in a crowd, make people laugh. He knew how to entertain them. Walt Pfeiffer was not only his best friend, but his escape. Walt had always been a jokester with his family, but I think the time with Pfeiffer showed him that he could do more than just make his mom laugh — he could make everyone laugh.
 
And as he’s said, “Laughter is America’s most important export.”
 
What did your childhood bff do for you?

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A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

2 thoughts on “Walt Wednesday: Everybody’s Got a Laughing Place!

  1. Thanks so much for reading! We're glad you liked it! There are so many books out there on Walt the LEGEND. We just wanted to try and make him a bit more personable with these Walt Wednesdays. =) -Chelle

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