The cult favorite documentary was produced to promote Tron's release, featuring a trippy plot and the strangest computer graphics this side of SIGGRAPH — and it quickly became a staple of the LA club scene as visual accompaniment for whatever was floating your boat that night.
Jordan Pearson tracked down the former Disney execs responsible for the project and got the inside story on how a combination of largesse and neglect allowed a group of young turks to produce this bizarre show:
There was a wave of interest at Disney in computers that was spurred by Tron. Once Tron hit the lot, it was this computer hysteria that was going on. All the young people at the studio at the time were super hungry to find out about computers.
What was interesting about that time at Disney was that the senior management was occupied with EPCOT. There was this sense of young people running amok in a creative, good way. You got to do things that you wouldn't normally have gotten to do if senior management had been back in Burbank, minding every little thing that happened. Everyone was experimenting. It was a celebration. Computers were part of that.
How Disney Was Hustled into Making the Trippiest Movie About Computers Ever [Jordan Pearson/Motherboard]