“ The Disneys were always ambitious and opportunistic, always searching for a better life ” (Gabler 4) “ To me he represented fun in its simplest and purest form.” – Walt (Gabler 14) “ That was Dad. He’d give us impulsive whacks. –Roy (Gabler 23) Mom and Dad Ruth and Walt Walt and Roy
Inspired the creation of Main Street at Disneyland
Walt’s favorite childhood memory
When Walt was 4, the Disneys moved to Marceline, Missouri (population 4,500)
Bought a small farm for $3,000
Coming from the “crowded, smoky” Chicago, Marceline was heaven for Walt
Fascinated by its livestock
Even though the house was old and tiny, Walt loved the countryside.
Started school there at age 7
Loved the spirit of the community (everyone wanted to help each other)
Acted like Walt’s father (he was childless)
“ Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance”
Encourage Walt to draw
Walt’s first memorial of his art: the tar drawing he and Roy created
Elias hated farming, so they didn’t make any money. Had to move to Kansas.
“ It was the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a fellow. I had to practically start in school with my little sister who was two years younger.” – Walt (Gabler 11) “ Marceline was an oasis as well as a touchstone – Walt Disney’s own escape.” (Gabler 18)
House was “so small that when relatives visited, Roy and Walt had to move to what they called “the barn,” a shed out back, and it was so close to the road that the family had to draw the curtains so no one could look inside” (Gabler 19)
Elias purchased the paper route Kansas City Star
Walt had to deliver the papers
This traumatized him
He woke up to nightmares about it even 40 years later
Elias became harsher; beat children more frequently until his breaking point
Walt escaped family every night and went to the Pfeiffers’ house
In school, teachers said he was courteous, but sleepy and preoccupied.
Drew for the local Barbershop.
Hung his drawings in their window
Reminded him of Doc Sherwood
“ It was a great stimulant to me to know my efforts were appreciated” – Walt (Gabler 29)
“ I was working all the time. I mean, I never had any real play time” – Walt (Gabler 21) “ He never even learned to catch a ball the way other boys did” – Roy (Gabler 22) “ There was nothing unhappy about them – they just weren’t used to having fun. But this wasn’t so with the Pfeiffers. Whatever they did, they had the best time doing it, and they were always together.” – Walt (Gabler 26) “ Two Bad Walters”
His family slowly moved away and grew apart. Worst, though, was when his brother Roy moved to Hollywood.
Throughout this period, moved constantly to different friends’ houses.
No one at Laugh-O-Grams knew anything about animation, and his equipment was improvised.
Walt was a poor manager and not very cautious of his money (opposite of father); always lacking money.
Put all his effort and time into Laugh-O-Grams, so when it went bankrupted he had nothing.
He knew he needed to leave, so he departed to Hollywood. Where he reunited with Roy
“ He suddenly couldn’t keep his face straight. He turned and left. He was clearly upset. He knew he was going to be alone” – Ruth (Gabler 62) “ I never once heard Walt say anything that would sound like defeat. He was always optimistic. Never once did I hear anything except determination to go ahead.” – friend of Walt (Gabler 72) “ ..stand there with tears in my eyes and look at the trains going out. I was all alone. I was very lonesome.” – Walt (Gabler 73)
All Walt’s life, he was dedicated to and had a love for drawing. But he was also in love with a woman by the name of Lillian Bounds.
She was a friend of one of his animators at Disney Bros.
One day, he asked her if “He could see her socially if he got a new suit” (Gabler 94). She accepted, and he indeed bought a new suit.
His marriage proposal: He told her to choose between them putting their money together towards a new car or a ring. She chose a ring.
They were married on July 13, 1925
Because he was so into his animations, he was seldom home. So, in order to make sure Lillian did not get lonely, he invited her mother to stay with them and bought her a puppy for Christmas. The scene in Lady and the Tramp is based off of this real-life experience.
They had two daughters together, Diane and Sharon
“ I’ve never seen anybody so crazy over an animal.” – Walt (Gabler 105)
Once he came to Hollywood, Walt was ready to start fresh. He and Roy created their own studio called Disney Bros.
They rented a cramped office in the back of a realty building
Their first project was a series called Alice’s wonderland . It consisted of a little girl interacting with cartoon characters.
Margaret Winkler, a film distributer, liked it and set up a contract with them.
They were frantically putting together two a month and invited Iwwerks to come help them.
Eventually, the company grew and they were able to hire employees as well.
When Alice’s Wonderland started to slow down, Walt decided to create a new character: Oswald. It was a success!
Unfortunately, his life went bad once again. Mintz and Winkler took all the rights to Walt’s characters, leaving him no where.
“ I want the characters to be somebody. I don’t want them to just be a drawing.” – Walt (Gabler 103) “ He told it just like the plot of one of his stories where good will win and villain will be defeated. He lobed telling that story because it was so poetically just.” – one of Walt’s animators (Gabler 109) “ He was like a raging lion on the train coming home. All he would say, over and over, was that He’d never work for anyone again as lone as he lived; he’d be his own boss” – Lillian Disney (Gabler 111)
With this recent failure, Walt needed to create a bigger and better character. And he did. He created a mouse named Mortimer. Lillian hated the name, so he eventually changed it to Mickey Mouse.
His first moving animation with Mickey was Steamboat Willie , which became a huge success. Walt combined sound with the cartoon.
Harry Reichenback bought it for $1000, the highest price anyone had paid for a cartoon at that time.
But that wasn’t enough for Walt. He wanted more. So, he created his cartoons in technicolor.
The first cartoon in technicolor was The Three Little Pigs .
In addition, a man named Kay Kamen helped sell over $35 million of sales in Disney Merchandise.
In 1934, Donald Duck was created. His selfish and hot-tempered personality created a lot of comedy in the series.
During WWII, he also created propaganda cartoons.
During all this success, he had a breakdown. After this, he had an occasional temperamant and wasn’t always happy.
“ The only thing that got through to me was that horrible name, Mortimer…I’m afraid I made quite a scene about it. Too sissy.” –Lillian (Gabler 112) “ I never saw such a reaction in an audience in my life. The scheme worked perfectly. The sound itself gave the illusion of something emanating directly from the screen.” – Iwwerks (Gabler 118) “ Being a duck, he likes water. Sailors and water go together.” – Walt (Gabler 201) “ Sometimes it was hard for an audience to tell whether Ickes was imitating the Duck or the Duck was imitating Ickes.” – Walt (gabler 202) Fun fact: The names considered for Snow White’s Dwarfs were: Deafy, Dirty, Awful, Blabby, Burpy, Gabby, Puffy, Stuffy, Nifty, Tubbyk, Biggo Ego, Flabby, Jaunty, Baldy, Lazy, Dizzy, Cranky, and Chesty
Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955 after 365 construction days.
It wasn’t ready to open, but they did anyway.
Women’s heel sank into Main Street because the asphalt wasn’t dry
Ride’s broke down
People faked invitations
There was a plumber’s strike, so Walt had to choose between putting in bathrooms or drinking fountains.
Walt had his gardeners cover the bare patches of dirt with weeds they found in the parking lot. They just gave them long, fancy-sounding names
He created another studio for himself above the firehouse on Main Street.
He wanted to put live animals in the Jungle Cruise, but zoologists wouldn’t allow him to.
Walt did not put any of the characters in their own rides (for example – Mr. Toad did not appear in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride). People did not understand this concept, so he went and gave them a breif appearance.
When the Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev tried to visit Disneyland, Walt Disney was excited to show him the high-tech submarine ride, but the U.S State Department wouldn’t allow Krushchev to enter.
Fun fact: There’s a basketball court in the Matterhorn!
“ People can buy Pepsi-Cola, but they can’t pee in the street.” – Walt
He had great storytelling skills; people were constantly amazed at what he could come up with
He could think like the characters, thus creating their perfect reactions to the problems of the plot
Had great enthusiasm, brought up spirits, and was a great cheerleader. He encouraged his animators to think boldly.
Acted out his ideas, which entertained everyone
Believed immensely in his studio and cartoons
He was inspirational, determined, hard-working
He didn’t just supervise, he coordinated and put together everything the studio did
NO, BECAUSE HE WAS:
Mercurial (ever since breakdown)
Impossible to please *
The undisputed power of the studio
After his company became successful, he never animated or wrote the stories.
Operate entirely by instinct, which changed constantly
* Not according to everyone
“ It would usually be like listening to a new fairytale, and we would break up the session happy and amazed that the solution to your story problems should be so simple and different.” – Walt’s animator (Gabler 208)
Although Walt Disney is cherished by many around the world and has inspired numerous amounts of people, there is still a mass of people who are against this man.
The educators against him believe his stories:
Leave no imagination for the children; everything is too obvious and does not force them to think
Are too simplified to read, yet the content should be for a generation that is capable of reading
Are setting a bad example (ex: in Pinocchio , there is a street called Tobacco Lane and Jiminy Cricket smokes a corncob pipe.)
Make children believe animals and toys can talk and come alive when you are not looking
Ruin the beauty of how a folk tale should be
Give children false accusations of life (the prince always gets the girl; your nanny can have magical powers so you don’t have to clean your room; etc)
Others against him say:
He is just out to get money. He raised prices on stuffed animals just because they are famous characters.
His cartoons keep the children from going outside.
Some people even think he was a pervert. There are individuals who believe he has put sexual innuendos in his cartoons
This pretty much sums it up:
"$360 for a family, $20 to park, $100 to eat, crowded lines, perpetuating the fantasy that animals can talk and actually have feelings". Really Walt...the happiest place on earth??? Whose dreams are really made here?” – An unhappy chemistry teacher, Mr. Langdale
As a child, Walt Disney was constantly optimistic and spreading enthusiasm throughout his neighborhood. He suffered through beatings from his father, bankruptcy, and mental breakdowns while keeping a true determination and a positive attitude when surrounded by other people. Although he was temperamental at times to his loyal employees, they were inspired by him and saw his creativity daily. Through constant hard work and always believing in himself, Walt Disney was able to make a lasting impression on the world.
“ If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
"50 Things You Didn’t Know About Disneyland | Listropolis." Listropolis | All Your List Are Belong to Us . <http://www.listropolis.com/2008/04/50-things-you-didn%e2%80%99t-know-about-disneyland/>.
01 May 2009 <http://www.whosdatedwho.com/what/publicity_view.asp?RD=003062201m>.
Famous People With Dyslexia." Dyslexia Online . 01 May 2009 <http://dyslexia.learninginfo.org/famous-people2.htm>.
Gabler, Neal. Walt Disney The Triumph of the American Imagination (Vintage) . New York: Vintage, 2007. "Proclamation 5585 -- Walt Disney Recognition Day, 1986." Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, National Archives and RecordsAdministration . <http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1986/120586a.htm>.
"Questions and Answers about Walt Disney." Disney Dreamer Home! 01 May 2009 <http://www.disneydreamer.com/waltqa.htm>.
ThinkQuest NYC . 01 May 2009 <http://www.tqnyc.org/2007/nyc074230/disney_land.htm>.
Thomas, Bob. Walt Disney an American original . New York, N.Y: Hyperion, 1994.
Walt Disney - Just Disney.com - Your Source For Disney . 01 May 2009 <http://www.justdisney.com>.
"Walt Disney Accused." The Horn Book, Inc. / Publications about books for children and young adults . 01 May 2009 <http://www.hbook.com/magazine/articles/1960s/dec65_sayers.asp>.
"Walt Disney Family Museum." The Official Home Page for All Things Disney | Home | Disney.com . 01 May 2009 <http://disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/index.html>.
"Walt Disney: More Than 'Toons, Theme Parks - CBS News." CBS News - Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News . <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/01/earlyshow/leisure/books/main2141735_page2.shtml>.
"Walter Elias "Walt" Disney." Conrad N. Hilton College: Portal Home . <http://www.hrm.uh.edu/cnhc/ShowContent.asp?c=9301>.
"Walt's Inside Story: Creative Explosion: Walt's Political Outlook." The Official Home Page for All Things Disney | Home | Disney.com . <http://disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/collection/insidestory/inside_1933d.html>.