With the success of the Hundred and One Dalmatian film, Peet suggested T.H. White’s, ‘The Sword in the Stone,’ molding Merlin’s nose and personality after Walt. Peet did his best writing the story, while that was being wrapped up, he was trying to get Walt to say yes into doing the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. He believed tat after the Jungle Book, he would make his exit from Disney Studios and pave his way to writing. By this time, he had five books in print, ‘Ella,’ ‘The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg’ and ‘Smokey.’ Walt was already aware of Peet’s children’s book. Peet had to put all his effort in the Jungle Book to prove to Walt that he wasn’t neglecting his films. Peet put his heart and soul in the animation.
With seven boards ready, Peet presented them to Walt, who so pleased with them that he shook his hand. The project got the green light and Peet began working on the rest. But trouble began to brew between him and Walt. Walt wasn’t happy with anything Peet presented him. It was too dark, Walt complained. Peet knew it was his time to leave. He had worked for Disney for twenty-seven years. A change was needed and he walked out of the studio one silent night.
Peet wasn’t happy with how he ended his relationship with Walt. The next few days he kept himself busy with his sixth book, Randy’s Dandy Lions, which was followed by Chester the Worldly Pig. Peet feels Chester probably resembles his past struggles and triumphs. Though, Peet had been excited to being part of Walt Disney grand show, he wanted to make something on his own, prove that he too could display his knack for writing wonderful stories and he did. He wrote 36 children’s book that he also illustrated on his own. He learned a lot from Walt, but, he also had to learn to stop getting Walt’s approval and do what he liked doing.
A year after Peet had left the studio, Walt Disney passed away. It broke his heart and it took some time for him to accept that Walt was gone. It was hard to see the world without a man that made his life work strenuous. Most say, Walt brought out the best in them and it may be true for Peet, but that is something he decided to keep for himself. On Talking Terms
Copyright 2015 by M. Stieg
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