“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Old and young can immediately associate cartoon characters at the name of Disney. Born on December 5 as Walter Elias Disney in Chicago, Illinois, Disney is a pioneer in the world of animation.
“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.”
Disney showed an early aptitude to drawing which grew when he was paid to draw the horse of a retired neighborhood doctor. Later he also began practicing drawings by copying the cartoons of Ryan Walker from the front page. Gradually, Disney honed his abilities with crayons and watercolors.
In 1911, Disney moved to Kansas City, Missouri. He started his education at the Benton Grammar School. It was during his school years, when he met his fellow student, Walter Pfeiffer. It was Pfeiffer who introduced Disney to the world of theatre. Pfeiffer came from a family of theatre fans and as destiny prompted, it was Pfeiffer who gave Disney the first insight into motion pictures and Vaudeville.
From his early years of growing up, Disney had taken up a newspaper delivery route, which he continued for six years. Disney woke up with his brother Roy at 4:30 every morning to deliver The Times before school. Due to the exhausting schedule, he received poor grades at school and is alleged that he fell asleep during class.
“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
During his stay in Kansas, Disney attended the Kansas City Art Institute, while also taking a correspondence course in cartooning. After moving back to the city with his family in 1917, Disney took classes at McKinley High School. He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper and is known to have drawn patriotic pictures about World War I. Later he also took night courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He began to take art classes and at the mere age of 18 he became a commercial illustrator.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
In collaboration, Disney tried to start his own business. In early 1920, he established the short-lived Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. During his early years of career, Disney started working more intensely on the concept of cel animation. This later also gave birth to Disney’s short cartoons known as Newman’s Laugh-O-Grams. In 1921, the success of the short cartoons established Laugh-O-Gram Studio.
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
Disney eventually moved to Hollywood in July 1923. In Los Angeles, Disney signed a contract with Margaret J Winkler to produce six Alice comedies. Disney’s move to Los Angeles was mainly because of his brother, Roy, who lived there.
Together with Roy, Disney formed the Disney Brothers Studio which later became The Walt Disney Company.
Disney eventually began to be recognized as an entrepreneur, voice actor, animator and a film producer.
“If you can dream, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse.”
The inspiration for Mickey Mouse allegedly came to Disney from a pet mouse which he had adopted during his work at the Laugh-O-Gram studio. Sources however allege that the origin of the character is unknown. Originally, the character of Mickey Mouse was known to be Mortimer Mouse, which later became Mickey. It is said that Disney provided the voice for Mickey until 1947. He also received an honorary award for the creation of Mickey Mouse.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
It was the success of Snow White that marked the most productive years of Disney’s career. This year was described by the Walt Disney Family Museum as the ‘Golden Age of Animation.’ In 1950, Disney produced Cinderella. It was his studio’s first animated feature which cost $2.2 million for production and in return earned $8 million in its first year.
Disney had since long played with the idea of building a theme park. His ambition was finally realized in March 1952 when he received the permission to build a theme park in Burbank near the Disney Studios. The construction began in July 1954 and Disneyland finally opened in July 1955.
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
“It's kind of fun to do the impossible.”
Throughout his career, Disney has received 59 Academy Award nominations, along with 22 awards. Furthermore, he was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, did not however win them. Disney also became the recipient of four Emmy Awards, of which he won the award for Best Producer for Disneyland television series.
For his television work and for motion pictures, Disney became part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with two stars.
“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, then worrying won’t make it any better.”
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