We all know him. The man who pioneered the animation industry into what we know it as today. This is the man that we know as Walt Disney.
So that we can get to know Mr. Disney, let’s start from the beginning. Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in Chicago. in 1906, when Walt was four, his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri.
Fast forward 14 years, Walt and his friend Ubbe Iwerks started a short lived company called, “Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists”. Walt decided to start his own little company and he hired his fellow co-worker, Fred Harman. They secured a deal with the local theater so that they could show off their amazing “Newman’s Laugh-a-Grams”.
Disney’s new studio quickly lost money and was unable to pay any debts. Eventually “Laugh-a-Grams” filed for bankruptcy. Disney wasn’t doing so well…
Walt and his brother Roy decided to journey to the once-magical land of Hollywood. There they would start from scratch and begin an animation studio…again.
Walt and Roy started “The Disney Brothers Studio”, and with the help of Roy’s amazing business planning, they didn’t shut down. Mission Accomplished.
One of the ink an paint artists in the company had caught Walt’s eye. Her name was Lillian Bounds. After a short while of getting to know each other, they were married that same year. Well done, Mr. Disney, well done.
The brothers released the “Alice Comedies”. These little short cartoons showed a live-action Alice in a hand-drawn animated world. These cartoons marked the first appearance of Peg-Leg Pete. Who at this time was a peg-legged, bear-ish…thing.
In 1927, Charles Mintz DEMANDED a new animated series for Universal Studios. (sigh) Universal Studios… :I
I have to, right? Right? Okay, hold in the tears Oswald…
In 1927, Walt Disney and Ubbe Iwerks created…Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. My favorite. 🙂
Oswald lasted for only a year. When Walt asked Charles Mintz for more money to create better Oswald cartoons, Mintz refused. Instead he pointed out that under his contract, Oswald belonged to him. Mintz took Oswald and all of Walt’s workers…except for Ubbe.
Walt lost Oswald. Mintz had stolen Oswald from him. Walt went home and had to think of a new character. And thus was the creation of Mickey Mouse. You were waiting for this part weren’t you?
Originally Walt wanted his famous mouse to be named Mortimer. But his wife liked Mickey better. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey’s rival in the cartoon named…um…well… “Mickey’s Rival”.
Mickey continued to become famous and Oswald left the minds of many fans. So sad.
Time went by and Walt Disney created many Academy Award-Winning films. Such as “Pinnochio”, “Dumbo”, and “Mary Poppins”.
In 1955, Walt opened Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth! The park was a big success. Even though the opening day wasn’t. The tar in the streets melted, water ran out, and guests even got sick. Even though this wasn’t such a great way to start off his new park, Walt knew that his park would continue to make millions of children smile.
Walt loved his park so much that he even had an apartment on the top floor of the firehouse on Main Street U.S.A. I had the pleasure of visiting the historical sight myself. I will tell you that the place is small, but it was beautiful. The showers were pretty cool. They have multiple shower heads! That is pretty much the ultimate shower.
Anyways, Walt lived a happy life until he was caught by the terrible lung cancer. Walt’s smoking habit had left it’s mark.
Walt was sent to the hospital. And on December 15, 1966, ten days after his sixty-fifth birthday, he died.
Walt’s death brought tears to everyone, adult and child alike. Walt not only left his studio and his park, but he also left a legacy. A legacy that continues to grow in the hearts of children everywhere. Walt isn’t only a great man, but he was a true animation hero.