By Chuck Woodbury
Sometimes I catch myself comparing real life to imitation life. I see places in my travels and I think, “Gee, that looks just like Frontier Town at Disneyland,” or “Gee, that looks just like a scene from a movie.”
That’s wrong, of course, for Disneyland and movies are only imitations of life, not the real thing. Main Street Disneyland appears like many small towns’ main streets but it’s not an honest-to-goodness street, just a wide walkway in an amusement park. Movie sets and amusement park attractions are designed to resemble real life and it’s easy for us to forget that they are like actors playing a part. An actor is just a regular person pretending to be someone else, and they are good at it.
Remember the ad: “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV,” in which an actor in a white coat pitched you on the merits of a health product. The fact that he played a doctor on TV was enough to convince some folks that he really knew about the product. The late actor Robert Young, TV’s Doctor Welby, was often asked by his fans about their medical problems. People confused his real life with his imitation life.
Disneyland has an area that looks like New Orleans’ French Quarter. I’m sure there are people who have visited French Quarter Disneyland and then visited the real thing and said “Gosh, this looks just like Disneyland.”
When I rode Colorado’s historic Durango and Silverton steam train the conductor told me that he would overhear some passengers say, “This is just like riding the train at Disneyland,” or “This is just like the train ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.”
“This is a real train,” the conductor said to me, showing some frustration.
It’s good to pause once in awhile to ponder what is real and what is only pretend. It may seem obvious. But think about it; maybe you’ll understand what I mean.