Geocities was once a popular web-hosting service that allowed anyone to create their website without any cost. Thus, this service made it possible for people, even those without much coding knowledge, to create and publish websites on anything they were interested in. Unfortunately, this service was eventually shut down. However many archive sites exist today that allow users to still view these old Geocities sites.
Within my blog, I chose to look through a Geocities gallery created through the restorativland project. After scrolling through the numerous Geocities sites varying in different topics, I eventually came across one that caught my attention. The name of the webpage is “Steve’s Disney collection.” As someone who enjoys watching Disney movies, I immediately clicked on this Geocities website to learn more about it. After clicking on the website, I was greeted by a page with a black background, a beautifully-made image for the title, several blue links, yellow text, and, most interestingly, an array of hand-drawn pictures. Since the webpage’s title was called “Steve’s Disney collection,” my initial thought was that the creator of the site was Steve and that Steve was the one who drew the drawings.
Simply looking at the drawings, I could tell that the creator of the drawings was a very experienced and careful drawer. The sketches on the website seemed like lots of time was spent making them perfect. After scanning the sketches for a few more minutes, I began recognizing more and more characters, including Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Maleficent, Dumbo, and so many more. It was also very interesting how I also didn’t recognize some of the movies, such as characters from “Make Mine Music,” “Melody Time,” “The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad,” “Saludos Amigos,” and a few more. From further research, I have found out that most of these movies came out in the 1940s. Given this fact as well as the fact that Geocities was launched in 1994, this confirmed my beliefs that the creator of this site was an adult rather than a child.
After I finished looking through the main screen, I began going through the blue links as well as clicking on the individual images on the main page. From clicking each of the links and pictures, it brought me to a new screen that contained the movie title, movie release date, personal comments, more sketches of the same movie, as well as links that took users to the movie frame on which the sketch was based. Additionally, some of the pages have downloadable music or other files. From looking through these pages, I eventually figured out that my initial assumption that Steve was the artist was incorrect. Instead, the drawings were created by the animators of the Disney movies themselves. Thus, this Geocities site appears to be used by Steve to showcase his collection of these sketches made by Disney animators.
After looking through the drawings, I also came across a link found on the main page that is titled “Items to trade, swap or sell.” This completely surprised me since I originally thought that the site was solely dedicated to displaying the creator’s interests and showing off the drawings. However, after looking through this new page, I recognized that the creator was more interested in getting money from the drawings through trading, swapping, or selling with users who visit their site. The site would be more targeted towards other Disney enjoyers who may be interested in Disney pre-production drawings and have something to offer in return.
Lastly, and more importantly, there was a link that directly took the user to a page titled “Personal Details.” This page not only gave a lot of information about the creator of the site, but it also clarified the purpose of this Geocities site. First of all, the full name of the site’s creator is Steve Lee and he lives in England. He mentioned that his passion for Disney animation came from living in Florida as well as through his job within the children’s theater and writing Disney television scripts. Furthermore, he mentioned how finances played a role in creating this collection of drawings.
Another very important feature that I found on the “Personal Details” page included the fact that Steve Lee included not only his email address but also included a direct link to his own business called “The Puppeteers’ Company.” Unfortunately, the link to the company website did not work correctly on the Geocities website. However, I was able to google the name of the company directly to my search engine, thus allowing me to find several websites that mention the company. From further research, I found out that Steve Lee was one of the co-founders of a puppet company that toured around the world and performed shows. They used a variety of different puppets, including string puppets, rod puppets, and hand puppets. Unfortunately, Steve Lee’s touring company stopped in 2012. In addition to this, I also tried looking for the original company site by inputting the non-functioning link into an internet archive. Fortunately, I was able to find snapshots of their company website, which contained their telephone number, address, email, and even a picture of Steve Lee with Peter Franklin (the other co-founder).
Geocities provided a way for people to easily create a website about any topic they want. The Geocities site “Steve’s Disney collection,” has shown how a puppeteer managed to create his site about a collection of Disney drawings. Through a few pictures, text, and hyperlinks, Geocities allowed Steve Lee to create an incredible, but simple, website that served its purpose. This is one of the main reasons why Geocities became very popular before it eventually got shut down.
Francis, Penny. 2016. “The Puppeteers’ Company.” World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts. April 6, 2016. https://wepa.unima.org/en/the-puppeteers-company/.
Lee, Steve. n.d. “Steve’s Disney Collection.” Geocities.restorativland.org. https://geocities.restorativland.org/Hollywood/Picture/2983/index.html.