September 2, 1998
Post #736 – 19980902
Dear Mr. Pinkwater,
I don’t know if you’ll remember me or not. I’m an elementary school teacher (and a fan of your books, but that goes without saying) and I wrote you about two years back suggesting that you try to get a copy of the animated movie “My Neighbor Totoro” by the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. You wrote back saying you wanted to wait since you too were thinking about writing a story about a “tree spirit” and didn’t want to mess up your story by accident by watching his movie. Anyway, I’m writing with a new suggestion. Disney has now bought the video distribution rights to *all* of Miyazaki’s movies and the first one, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” will be released on Sept 1. If you get a chance, you really ought to watch it (unless you’re working on a story about witches).
Although Disney has redubbed it into English, they’ve left the rest of it alone. It’s so unlike anything Disney does that it’s going to surprise people. It’s more of a series of sketches and character studies than a fully plotted story. In order to become a full witch, 13 year old Kiki has to leave home and make it on her own for one year. She settles in a Scandinavian style coastal town, but since she doesn’t have any magic other than flying, so sets up a delivery service. Through this she meets various people and builds up a surrogate family in her new town. And she never once bursts into song to wonder “who am I?” :^)
Seriously, there is more heart and soul in this one film than in half a dozen of Disney’s features, and I really think that within a year you’ll start hearing critics and parents asking “Why can’t Disney make a movie like Miyazaki’s?”
If you are interested in it, there is a great website that tells a lot about with some interesting background information at
I hope you’ll take my suggestion and, if you do, I hope you’ll like it.
What a great idea! Disney stops making movies, and just distributes good ones instead! Have you emailed the studio with this breathtaking notion? Not only would they still be able to make vast sums of money, they'd save all the production expenses, and quit polluting the culture. Maybe there could be a massive letter-writing campaign...stickers and buttons: Disney: Just say NO to movie-making!
Where do I send my five dollars?