Marceline, Missouri is the small town where Walt Disney spent his boyhood. I stop to sketch a farm at the edge of town near the Disney family's place.
Walt watched his first movie at the Uptown Theatre. He came back in 1956 to premiere "The Great Locomotive Chase." Today a stuffed Goofy slumps and grins in the box office admission window. They still give free Friday night family movie screenings here.
Marceline was the inspiration for the "Main Street America" in Disneyland. Today, Marceline is not quite the town it once was when Walt was a kid. There's a small Disney museum and an annual event called Toonfest that attracts animators and cartoonists. There's a hardware store and a cafe.
But a lot of the other stores are closed, and the rest struggle to attract regular customers. Most of the traffic goes to the franchise businesses near the highway.
Like most small towns in the Midwest, Marceline bravely clings to memories of its past glories. Walt Disney's gift to the world was to encourage average Americans to wish upon a star. But the reality sometimes has a hard time keeping up with the dream.
The Marceline Walt Disney Knew (recollections from Walt)