Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
I watched Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) last night and I thought about writing this article about the little leprechaun that lives in Disneyland.
Have you ever heard the tale of The Little Man of Disneyland? When Disneyland opened in 1955, there was a book published by Little Golden Books titled The Little Man of Disneyland.
Donald Duck is on the front cover. In the story, Patrick Begorra, a leprechaun, walked out of his house, which was in the trunk of an orange tree, to discover people walking around his orange grove. It was Donald, Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto. They said they were digging up the trees to build Disneyland. Patrick would have nothing to do with it. He tried to stop them. Mickey told him about a rocket trip, a Wild West stagecoach, and flying pirate ships. Patrick did not believe him, so Mickey flew him in their helicopter to the studio to show him the concept art for the park. Patrick agreed to let them build Disneyland there as long as he was able to keep a house in one of the trees near the roots. Mickey shook on it and flew him back to the park. Every day Patrick watched the construction of Disneyland, until the very end when Mickey approached him and said it was time to remove his orange tree and move him to a new house. Patrick did not want to have anything to do with it so he packed up his stuff and left. During the daytime, he would rest in the shade; and in the safety of the darkness of the night, he would roam around the park looking for the perfect place to live.
Nobody knew where he lived. Until now. In the summer of 2015, for the 60th-anniversary celebration, Disney installed a little house for Patrick at the base of a tree next to the Indiana Jones entrance sign. If you look closely at the front mat, you can see the initials P.B. for Patrick Begorra.
How many of you out there have found Patrick’s house? At Christmas time he may have a wreath out or a little present on his stoop.
If you want to get a copy of the Little Golden Book, go to AMAZON.
You could also just watch this video read-through of the book. This animated story was created by Mike and Patty Peraza. Patty worked for Disney as a special effects animator, among other things, and Mike was a concept artist for Disney. He worked on projects like The Fox and the Hound, The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Goof Troop, and Darkwing Duck.