The Walt Disney Co. has traditionally kept a tight control on the image of its co-founder and namesake, but the company took a rare hands-off approach for a new four-hour PBS documentary examining the man who built the Burbank entertainment giant.

“They gave us access to their archives but had no editorial control,” said Sarah Colt, producer and director of “American Experience: Walt Disney,” which will air in two installments Sept. 14 and 15.

Colt made a previous film for the same series about Henry Ford, which showed her subject to be a virulent anti-Semite. Though similar rumors have long swirled about Walt Disney, Colt said her research found no evidence to substantiate those claims, so this documentary doesn’t address them.

It does, however, show that despite Disney’s avuncular public image, he was a tough boss and many of his employees were terrified of him.

“Walt was a very polarizing figure and there are people who didn’t like him too much but this film takes a very objective approach,” said Disney biographer Neal Gabler. “I’ve seen the documentary and think it’s exceptional.”

An interesting side note: The four-hour production is the first documentary of its length PBS had devoted to anyone other than a U.S. president.


Tickets for Taylor Swift’s sold-out set of shows at Staples Center have been selling for three or four times face value on secondary ticket markets.

The chart topper’s five-night run at the downtown L.A. venue, which will conclude Aug. 26, has drawn an average resale ticket price of $338.

Upper-level tickets with a face value of $40 were going for $165, while floor seats next to the catwalk originally priced at $160 were fetching $492 on ticket site Seat Geek.

“We estimate $5.7 million has already been spent on the secondary market for Taylor’s five Los Angeles shows,” said Chris Leyden, spokesman for the New York-based ticket reseller.

Nye-ce Work

Bill Nye, an L.A. scientist and TV personality known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, has broken a crowdfunding record.

A planned film about his life has become the most funded documentary project ever on Kickstarter, with $859,425 pledged by 16,850 backers. The campaign, which launched July 13 and closed Aug. 13, had set out to raise $650,000.

The movie, which has Nye’s support, has just started filming. It will be released on streaming services, but a premier date has not been set.

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