In LA this week

In LA this week I met a former animator for Disney who now designs murals and sculptures for the Disney Stores. Right now he’s working on a Goofy sculpture for the Disney Store in Paris. He told me that every detail of the three-dimensional Goofy—the length of the ears, the diameter of the eyeballs, the size of the hands—is measured by a precise caliper to ensure that Goofy is perfectly proportioned. Quality control, he called it. There’s a danger of a kind of perspective drift in which over time Goofy’s ears, for example, could slowly become exaggerated, growing ever larger. Eventually Goofy would no longer be recognized as Goofy. The same thing happened with Mickey Mouse. The first twenty or so years of his life Mickey was allowed to evolve, from a very obvious caricature of a blackface minstrel to the wide-eyed, decidedly non-Rat-like mouse we know today, the version that Disney so assiduously protects with a brigade of lawyers and a shield of special-interest trademark legislation, passed by Congress solely for the sake of Disney.