IT ALL STARTED WITH “FANTASIA” – Marilyn Armstrong

This post began because my husband is not fascinated by dinosaurs. He seemed a bit baffled as to why I’d want to write a story about dinosaurs.

Note: Should a dinosaur wander through my back yard, be assured that I will be out there taking pictures until either the huge reptile ambles away or eats me, whichever comes first.

Unlike many things which have adult origins — technology, philosophy, history — all the “ologies” and “osophies” that attended my education and subsequent research — my passion for dinosaurs goes all the way back, back, back in time to when I was four or five years old and my Aunt Ethel took me to see “Fantasia,” the original, not the later remake.

Who remembers in “Fantasia” the history of the earth, starring the rise and fall of the dinosaurs? It is set to Igor Stravinsky’s brilliant “The Rites of Spring.” The music itself might be enough, but with the Disney artists on their best game, it was something else and embedded itself in my mind for a lifetime.

None of the movie’s graphics were generated by computers. All of them … each frame … was drawn by human artists. The music was played live by an orchestra full of real musicians. Contrary to popular opinion, special effects were not invented by Steven Spielberg.

I was just a little kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I had nightmares for years about dinosaurs hiding under the bed, in the hallway, in my closet. I couldn’t sleep without a nightlight because I was sure there was a dinosaur lurking, ready to grab me in giant jaws with teeth 9 feet long. I was a child of great imagination and excessive sensitivity.

As I got older, I began to read books and discovered lots of really cool stuff about dinosaurs, most important (to me) was that North America — what is now the middle of the United States had been giant reptile central, the heartland of the Brontosaurus, Velociraptor and other astonishing creatures. Wyoming was the hot point where Tyrannosaurus Rex ruled. Perhaps their legacy lives on in Washington D.C., but I digress.

When this was made, the whole asteroid thing was yet unknown, so the history of the earth is missing that piece of information, but I’m sure Disney’s artists would have happily included it had they known. Meanwhile, I’m totally whacked at the idea of the earth getting hit by an asteroid. I always have a good laugh when someone in some space lab mentions, casually, that there’s an asteroid headed our way, but not to worry, there’s no better than a 50-50 chance it will really hit us.

That we pathetic creatures, crawling around the surface of the earth, believe we are all-powerful and can control our destiny by technology is funny. Not only has this planet been hit by asteroids — not once but many times — but each time, the event precipitated the extinction of Earth’s dominant species. The dinosaurs lasted a lot longer than we have. Should one of those big hunks of space debris smack into us, I think it unlikely that all the computers, weaponry, technology or prayers we can muster will be of any use at all. Our collective ass will be grass without even the opportunity to text our best buddies about the impending big bang.

We will be gone, quite likely having had even less effect on our planet, in the final analysis, than did the dinosaurs.

Humankind has always suffered above all from the sin of pride. Hubris, as the Greeks called it. We think we are creatures of God and perhaps we are, but who said we are the only creatures of God or that He gave us a permanent free pass from extermination?

map-dinosaurs-1993

And this is what so fascinates me and probably always will. That these creatures, these huge, powerful creatures who ruled this planet for more years than we can comprehend were, in a single calamitous event, exterminated. Eliminated from the earth leaving just their bones by which to remember them. And we think we are so all-powerful. I bet they thought so, too.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

32 thoughts on “IT ALL STARTED WITH “FANTASIA” – Marilyn Armstrong”

      1. Regards your first paragraph, I’m fascinated by Dinos. Don’t recall commenting about you writing a piece.
        Dinos and their kin – still scare the bee-jeezus out of me. Thanks, Jurrassic Park.
        I would love to see Godzilla make a surprise visit to the Oval Office, maybe making a pizza delivery.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. They really got around! They have found a whole lot of the Rex’s in Wyoming which apparently was underwater mostly at that point. In fact, the whole world was hot and jungly. Were you afraid of them too? I was sure they were out to get me.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. And I think I saw the first REAL skeleton in the New York museum of natural history. Same thing. So gigantic. I can see why Noah felt the ark just couldn’t handle that much weight. “Sorry, Dinos. If we take you, we’re gonna need a bigger boat. This craft isn’t nearly big enough!”

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Is it synchronicity that just yesterday I resurrected my old TV with VHS slot and determined to watch all my 200+ old VHS movies and then get rid of them? I put the TV in the kitchen while I cooked and first movie I drew was Jurrasic Park! I’ve watched just about 15 minutes of it.

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    1. The movie scared Garry half to death. He’s afraid of snakes and a Tyro Rex is generically similar to a really really big snake. He sat on the sofa with a pillow in front of his face, peeking out to see if it was safe to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That would make a GREAT set of photographs! Sort of “photographer died while photographing dinosaurs” and I’d probably get a lot of hits on the blog — if someone else wrote the story!

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    1. The titans died out as did most of those who’d headed into evolutionary cul-du-sacs, a bit like Koalas and pandas have now, but a great many of the smaller ones survived and thrived. We call em’ by different names now though . . . duck-billed platypuses, sharks, crocodiles/aligators, a lot of sea creatures with exoskeletons eg horshoe crabs, lobsters, snakes, and the ultimate descendants – birds. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So THAT explains it… I remember seeing Fantasia as a kid – but never remembered the dinosaurs. We had a ‘cut down’ version shown on free-to-air here at the start of the year and loved watching it again. Then, recently, it was repeated – only this time the dinosaurs were present. I never remembered seeing them or associated them with Fantasia before!?

    Dinosaurs fascinated me as a kid, i loved learning about them and drawing them. πŸ™‚

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    1. If you can get to see the entire original and their second version from about 15 years ago, they are both very well done and sometimes pretty funny. Flamingoes with yoyo (the second one) is still a personal favorite as is “Dance of the Hours” starring Hippos and Crocodiles as ballet dancers (first version).

      Liked by 1 person

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