Disney in 1946
Walter Elias Disney
December 5, 1901
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 15, 1966 65) (aged|
Burbank, California, U.S.
|Board member of||The Walt Disney Company (1923–1966)|
|Relatives||See Disney family|
Walter Elias Disney ( // ; December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Modern animation of the United States from the late 1980s and 1990s onward is sometimes referred to as the "renaissance age of American animation". During this period, many large American entertainment companies reformed and reinvigorated their animation departments following a general decline during the 1960s to 1980s. The United States has had a profound effect on animation worldwide. Since the late 1990s and the 2000s traditional animation would lose interest against digital and Flash animation, naming this current period as the "millennium age of American animation".
A cartoon is a type of illustration, possibly animated, typically in a non-realistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved over time, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an image or series of images intended for satire, caricature, or humor; or a motion picture that relies on a sequence of illustrations for its animation. Someone who creates cartoons in the first sense is called a cartoonist, and in the second sense they are usually called an animator.
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".
Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, Walt developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, Disney became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-color three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio , Fantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed after World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards.
The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Walt Disney or simply Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
Roy Oliver Disney was an American businessman and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company. He was the older brother of Walt Disney.
Ub Iwerks, A.S.C. was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. The works Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney went on to win numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.
In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in 1955 he opened Disneyland. To fund the project he diversified into television programs, such as Walt Disney's Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club ; he was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, the heart of which was to be a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT). Disney was a heavy smoker throughout his life, and died of lung cancer in December 1966 before either the park or the EPCOT project were completed.
An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme, often featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs and carnivals, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation. They are more elaborate than city parks and playgrounds, usually providing attractions that cater to a variety of age groups. While amusement parks often contain themed areas, theme parks place a heavier focus with more intricately-designed themes that revolve around a particular subject or group of subjects.
Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park designed and built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was originally the only attraction on the property; its official name was changed to Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the expanding complex in the 1990s.
Walt Disney Productions has produced an anthology television series under several different titles since 1954.
Disney was a shy, self-deprecating and insecure man in private but adopted a warm and outgoing public persona. He had high standards and high expectations of those with whom he worked. Although there have been accusations that he was racist or anti-Semitic, they have been contradicted by many who knew him. His reputation changed in the years after his death, from a purveyor of homely patriotic values to a representative of American imperialism. He nevertheless remains an important figure in the history of animation and in the cultural history of the United States, where he is considered a national cultural icon. His film work continues to be shown and adapted; his namesake studio and company maintains high standards in its production of popular entertainment, and the Disney amusement parks have grown in size and number to attract visitors in several countries.
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. The use of the term "racism" does not easily fall under a single definition.
Antisemitism is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is generally considered to be a form of racism. It has also been characterized as a political ideology which serves as an organizing principle and unites disparate groups which are opposed to liberalism.
American imperialism is the term for a policy aimed at extending the political, economic, and cultural control of the United States government over areas beyond its boundaries. Depending on the commentator, it may include military conquest, gunboat diplomacy, unequal treaties, subsidization of preferred factions, economic penetration through private companies followed by intervention when those interests are threatened, or regime change.
Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901, at 1249 Tripp Avenue, in Chicago's Hermosa neighborhood. —born in the Province of Canada, to Irish parents—and Flora (née Call), an American of German and English descent. Aside from Disney, Elias and Flora's sons were Herbert, Raymond and Roy; the couple had a fifth child, Ruth, in December 1903. In 1906, when Disney was four, the family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where his uncle Robert had just purchased land. In Marceline, Disney developed his interest in drawing when he was paid to draw the horse of a retired neighborhood doctor. Elias was a subscriber to the Appeal to Reason newspaper, and Disney practiced drawing by copying the front-page cartoons of Ryan Walker. Disney also began to develop an ability to work with watercolors and crayons. He lived near the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway line and became enamored with trains. He and his younger sister Ruth started school at the same time at the Park School in Marceline in late 1909.He was the fourth son of Elias Disney
Hermosa is one of 77 designated Chicago community areas and is located on the northwest side of Chicago, Illinois. The Hermosa community area contains the Kelvyn Park and Hermosa neighborhoods. The area includes the birthplace of Walt Disney and is the former headquarters of the Schwinn Bicycle Company. While being one of the smaller community areas Hermosa is one of the city's most densely populated neighborhoods.
Elias Charles Disney was the father of Roy and Walt Disney.
The Province of Canada was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of 1837–1838.
In 1911, the Disneys moved to Kansas City, Missouri.There, Disney attended the Benton Grammar School, where he met fellow-student Walter Pfeiffer, who came from a family of theatre fans and introduced Disney to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Before long, he was spending more time at the Pfeiffers' house than at home. Elias had purchased a newspaper delivery route for The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times . Disney and his brother Roy woke up at 4:30 every morning to deliver the Times before school and repeated the round for the evening Star after school. The schedule was exhausting, and Disney often received poor grades after falling asleep in class, but he continued his paper route for more than six years. He attended Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute and also took a correspondence course in cartooning.
Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.
Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.
The Kansas City Star is a newspaper based in Kansas City, Missouri. Published since 1880, the paper is the recipient of eight Pulitzer Prizes. The Star is most notable for its influence on the career of President Harry Truman and as the newspaper where a young Ernest Hemingway honed his writing style. It was also central to government-mandated divestiture of radio and television outlets by newspaper concerns in the late 1950s.
In 1917, Elias bought stock in a Chicago jelly producer, the O-Zell Company, and moved back to the city with his family.Disney enrolled at McKinley High School and became the cartoonist of the school newspaper, drawing patriotic pictures about World War I; he also took night courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In mid-1918, Disney attempted to join the United States Army to fight against the Germans, but he was rejected for being too young. After forging the date of birth on his birth certificate, he joined the Red Cross in September 1918 as an ambulance driver. He was shipped to France but arrived in November, after the armistice. He drew cartoons on the side of his ambulance for decoration and had some of his work published in the army newspaper Stars and Stripes . Disney returned to Kansas City in October 1919, where he worked as an apprentice artist at the Pesmen-Rubin Commercial Art Studio. There, he drew commercial illustrations for advertising, theater programs and catalogs. He also befriended fellow artist Ub Iwerks.
In January 1920, as Pesmen-Rubin's revenue declined after Christmas, Disney and Iwerks were laid off. They started their own business, the short-lived Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. V. Cauger; the following month Iwerks, who was not able to run their business alone, also joined. The company produced commercials using the cutout animation technique. Disney became interested in animation, although he preferred drawn cartoons such as Mutt and Jeff and Koko the Clown . With the assistance of a borrowed book on animation and a camera, he began experimenting at home. He came to the conclusion that cel animation was more promising than the cutout method. Unable to persuade Cauger to try cel animation at the company, Disney opened a new business with a co-worker from the Film Ad Co, Fred Harman. Their main client was the local Newman Theater, and the short cartoons they produced were sold as "Newman's Laugh-O-Grams". Disney studied Paul Terry's Aesop's Fables as a model, and the first six "Laugh-O-Grams" were modernized fairy tales.Failing to attract many customers, Disney and Iwerks agreed that Disney should leave temporarily to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, run by A.
In May 1921, the success of the "Laugh-O-Grams" led to the establishment of Laugh-O-Gram Studio, for which he hired more animators, including Fred Harman's brother Hugh, Rudolf Ising and Iwerks. —based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland —which combined live action with animation; he cast Virginia Davis in the title role. The result, a 12-and-a-half-minute, one-reel film, was completed too late to save Laugh-O-Gram Studio, which went into bankruptcy in 1923.The Laugh-O-Grams cartoons did not provide enough income to keep the company solvent, so Disney started production of Alice's Wonderland
Disney moved to Hollywood in July 1923. Although New York was the center of the cartoon industry, he was attracted to Los Angeles because his brother Roy was convalescing from tuberculosis there, —which later became The Walt Disney Company —to produce the films; they persuaded Davis and her family to relocate to Hollywood to continue production, with Davis on contract at $100 a month. In July 1924, Disney also hired Iwerks, persuading him to relocate to Hollywood from Kansas City.and he hoped to become a live-action film director. Disney's efforts to sell Alice's Wonderland were in vain until he heard from New York film distributor Margaret J. Winkler. She was losing the rights to both the Out of the Inkwell and Felix the Cat cartoons, and needed a new series. In October, they signed a contract for six Alice comedies, with an option for two further series of six episodes each. Disney and his brother Roy formed the Disney Brothers Studio
Early in 1925, Disney hired an ink artist, Lillian Bounds. They married in July of that year, at her brother's house in her hometown of Lewiston, Idaho.The marriage was generally happy, according to Lillian, although according to Disney's biographer Neal Gabler she did not "accept Walt's decisions meekly or his status unquestionably, and she admitted that he was always telling people 'how henpecked he is'." Lillian had little interest in films or the Hollywood social scene and she was, in the words of the historian Steven Watts, "content with household management and providing support for her husband". Their marriage produced two daughters, Diane (born December 1933) and Sharon (adopted in December 1936, born six weeks previously). Within the family, neither Disney nor his wife hid the fact Sharon had been adopted, although they became annoyed if people outside the family raised the point. The Disneys were careful to keep their daughters out of the public eye as much as possible, particularly in the light of the Lindbergh kidnapping; Disney took steps to ensure his daughters were not photographed by the press.
By 1926 Winkler's role in the distribution of the Alice series had been handed over to her husband, the film producer Charles Mintz, although the relationship between him and Disney was sometimes strained.The series ran until July 1927, by which time Disney had begun to tire of it and wanted to move away from the mixed format to all animation. After Mintz requested new material to distribute through Universal Pictures, Disney and Iwerks created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character Disney wanted to be "peppy, alert, saucy and venturesome, keeping him also neat and trim".
In February 1928, Disney hoped to negotiate a larger fee for producing the Oswald series, but found Mintz wanting to reduce the payments. Mintz had also persuaded many of the artists involved to work directly for him, including Harman, Ising, Carman Maxwell and Friz Freleng. Disney also found out that Universal owned the intellectual property rights to Oswald. Mintz threatened to start his own studio and produce the series himself if Disney refused to accept the reductions. Disney declined Mintz's ultimatum and lost most of his animation staff, except Iwerks, who chose to remain with him.
To replace Oswald, Disney and Iwerks developed Mickey Mouse, possibly inspired by a pet mouse that Disney had adopted while working in his Laugh-O-Gram studio, although the origins of the character are unclear.Disney's original choice of name was Mortimer Mouse, but Lillian thought it too pompous, and suggested Mickey instead. Iwerks revised Disney's provisional sketches to make the character easier to animate. Disney, who had begun to distance himself from the animation process, provided Mickey's voice until 1947. In the words of one Disney employee, "Ub designed Mickey's physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul."
Mickey Mouse first appeared in May 1928 as a single test screening of the short Plane Crazy , but it, and the second feature, The Gallopin' Gaucho , failed to find a distributor.Following the 1927 sensation The Jazz Singer , Disney used synchronized sound on the third short, Steamboat Willie , to create the first post-produced sound cartoon. After the animation was complete, Disney signed a contract with the former executive of Universal Pictures, Pat Powers, to use the "Powers Cinephone" recording system; Cinephone became the new distributor for Disney's early sound cartoons, which soon became popular.
To improve the quality of the music, Disney hired the professional composer and arranger Carl Stalling, on whose suggestion the Silly Symphony series was developed, providing stories through the use of music; the first in the series, The Skeleton Dance (1929), was drawn and animated entirely by Iwerks. Also hired at this time were several local artists, some of whom stayed with the company as core animators; the group later became known as the Nine Old Men. —which he blamed on the machinations of Powers and his own overwork—so he and Lillian took an extended holiday to Cuba and a cruise to Panama to recover.Both the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies series were successful, but Disney and his brother felt they were not receiving their rightful share of profits from Powers. In 1930, Disney tried to trim costs from the process by urging Iwerks to abandon the practice of animating every separate cel in favor of the more efficient technique of drawing key poses and letting lower-paid assistants sketch the inbetween poses. Disney asked Powers for an increase in payments for the cartoons. Powers refused and signed Iwerks to work for him; Stalling resigned shortly afterwards, thinking that without Iwerks, the Disney Studio would close. Disney had a nervous breakdown in October 1931
With the loss of Powers as distributor, Disney studios signed a contract with Columbia Pictures to distribute the Mickey Mouse cartoons, which became increasingly popular, including internationally.Disney, always keen to embrace new technology, filmed Flowers and Trees (1932) in full-color three-strip Technicolor; he was also able to negotiate a deal giving him the sole right to use the three-strip process until August 31, 1935. All subsequent Silly Symphony cartoons were in color. Flowers and Trees was popular with audiences and won the Academy Award for best Short Subject (Cartoon) at the 1932 ceremony. Disney had been nominated for another film in that category, Mickey's Orphans , and received an Honorary Award "for the creation of Mickey Mouse".
In 1933, Disney produced The Three Little Pigs , a film described by the media historian Adrian Danks as "the most successful short animation of all time".The film won Disney another Academy Award in the Short Subject (Cartoon) category. The film's success led to a further increase in the studio's staff, which numbered nearly 200 by the end of the year. Disney realized the importance of telling emotionally gripping stories that would interest the audience, and he invested in a "story department" separate from the animators, with storyboard artists who would detail the plots of Disney's films.
By 1934, Disney had become dissatisfied with producing formulaic cartoon shorts, million to produce—three times over budget. To ensure the animation was as realistic as possible, Disney sent his animators on courses at the Chouinard Art Institute; he brought animals into the studio and hired actors so that the animators could study realistic movement. To portray the changing perspective of the background as a camera moved through a scene, Disney's animators developed a multiplane camera which allowed drawings on pieces of glass to be set at various distances from the camera, creating an illusion of depth. The glass could be moved to create the impression of a camera passing through the scene. The first work created on the camera—a Silly Symphony called The Old Mill (1937)—won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film because of its impressive visual power. Although Snow White had been largely finished by the time the multiplane camera had been completed, Disney ordered some scenes be re-drawn to use the new effects.and believed a feature-length cartoon would be more profitable. The studio began the four-year production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , based on the fairy tale. When news leaked out about the project, many in the film industry predicted it would bankrupt the company; industry insiders nicknamed it "Disney's Folly". The film, which was the first animated feature made in full color and sound, cost $1.5
Snow White premiered in December 1937 to high praise from critics and audiences. The film became the most successful motion picture of 1938 and by May 1939 its total gross of $6.5 million made it the most successful sound film made to that date. Disney won another Honorary Academy Award, which consisted of one full-sized and seven miniature Oscar statuettes. The success of Snow White heralded one of the most productive eras for the studio; the Walt Disney Family Museum calls the following years "the 'Golden Age of Animation' ". With work on Snow White finished, the studio began producing Pinocchio in early 1938 and Fantasia in November of the same year. Both films were released in 1940, and neither performed well at the box office—partly because revenues from Europe had dropped following the start of World War II in 1939. The studio made a loss on both pictures and was deeply in debt by the end of February 1941.
In response to the financial crisis, Disney and his brother Roy started the company's first public stock offering in 1940, and implemented heavy salary cuts. The latter measure, and Disney's sometimes high-handed and insensitive manner of dealing with staff, led to a 1941 animators' strike which lasted five weeks. —and the financial state of the company—several animators left the studio, and Disney's relationship with other members of staff was permanently strained as a result. The strike temporarily interrupted the studio's next production, Dumbo (1941), which Disney produced in a simple and inexpensive manner; the film received a positive reaction from audiences and critics alike.While a federal mediator from the National Labor Relations Board negotiated with the two sides, Disney accepted an offer from the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs to make a goodwill trip to South America, ensuring he was absent during a resolution he knew would be unfavorable to the studio. As a result of the strike
Shortly after the release of Dumbo in October 1941, the U.S. entered World War II. Disney formed the Walt Disney Training Films Unit within the company to produce instruction films for the military such as Four Methods of Flush Riveting and Aircraft Production Methods. Disney also met with Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the Secretary of the Treasury, and agreed to produce short Donald Duck cartoons to promote war bonds. Disney also produced several propaganda productions, including shorts such as Der Fuehrer's Face —which won an Academy Award—and the 1943 feature film Victory Through Air Power .
The military films generated only enough revenue to cover costs, and the feature film Bambi —which had been in production since 1937—underperformed on its release in April 1942, and lost $200,000 at the box office. On top of the low earnings from Pinocchio and Fantasia, the company had debts of $4 million with the Bank of America in 1944. At a meeting with Bank of America executives to discuss the future of the company, the bank's chairman and founder, Amadeo Giannini, told his executives, "I've been watching the Disneys' pictures quite closely because I knew we were lending them money far above the financial risk. ... They're good this year, they're good next year, and they're good the year after. ... You have to relax and give them time to market their product." Disney's production of short films decreased in the late 1940s, coinciding with increasing competition in the animation market from Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Roy Disney, for financial reasons, suggested more combined animation and live-action productions. In 1948, Disney initiated a series of popular live-action nature films, titled True-Life Adventures , with Seal Island the first; the film won the Academy Award in the Best Short Subject (Two-Reel) category.
Disney grew more politically conservative as he got older. A Democratic Party supporter until the 1940 presidential election, when he switched allegiance to the Republican Party, ... we find ourselves in sharp revolt against a rising tide of Communism, Fascism and kindred beliefs, that seek by subversive means to undermine and change this way of life". In 1947, during the Second Red Scare, Disney testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), where he branded Herbert Sorrell, David Hilberman and William Pomerance, former animators and labor union organizers, as communist agitators; Disney stated that the 1941 strike led by them was part of an organized communist effort to gain influence in Hollywood.he became a generous donor to Thomas E. Dewey's 1944 bid for the presidency. In 1946, he was a founding member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, an organization who stated they "believ[ed] in, and like, the American Way of Life
In 1949, Disney and his family moved to a new home in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. With the help of his friends Ward and Betty Kimball, who already had their own backyard railroad, Disney developed blueprints and immediately set to work on creating a miniature live steam railroad for his backyard. The name of the railroad, Carolwood Pacific Railroad, came from his home's location on Carolwood Drive. The miniature working steam locomotive was built by Disney Studios engineer Roger E. Broggie, and Disney named it Lilly Belle after his wife;after three years Disney ordered it into storage due to a series of accidents involving his guests.
In early 1950, Disney produced Cinderella , his studio's first animated feature in eight years. It was popular with critics and theater audiences. Costing $2.2 million to produce, it earned nearly $8 million in its first year. Disney was less involved than he had been with previous pictures because of his involvement in his first entirely live-action feature, Treasure Island (1950), which was shot in Britain, as was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952). Other all-live-action features followed, many of which had patriotic themes. He continued to produce full-length animated features too, including Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Peter Pan (1953). From the early to mid-1950s, Disney began to devote less attention to the animation department, entrusting most of its operations to his key animators, the Nine Old Men, although he was always present at story meetings. Instead, he started concentrating on other ventures.
For several years Disney had been considering building a theme park. When he visited Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters, he wanted to be in a clean, unspoiled park, where both children and their parents could have fun. 35 miles (56 km) south of the studio, was purchased. To distance the project from the studio—which might attract the criticism of shareholders—Disney formed WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) and used his own money to fund a group of designers and animators to work on the plans; those involved became known as "Imagineers". After obtaining bank funding he invited other stockholders, American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres —part of American Broadcasting Company (ABC)—and Western Printing and Lithographing Company. In mid-1954, Disney sent his Imagineers to every amusement park in the U.S. to analyze what worked and what pitfalls or problems there were in the various locations and incorporated their findings into his design. Construction work started in July 1954, and Disneyland opened in July 1955; the opening ceremony was broadcast on ABC, which reached 70 million viewers. The park was designed as a series of themed lands, linked by the central Main Street, U.S.A. —a replica of the main street in his hometown of Marceline. The connected themed areas were Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. The park also contained the narrow gauge Disneyland Railroad that linked the lands; around the outside of the park was a high berm to separate the park from the outside world. An editorial in The New York Times considered that Disney had "tastefully combined some of the pleasant things of yesterday with fantasy and dreams of tomorrow". Although there were early minor problems with the park, it was a success, and after a month's operation, Disneyland was receiving over 20,000 visitors a day; by the end of its first year, it attracted 3.6 million guests.He visited the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was heavily influenced by the cleanliness and layout of the park. In March 1952 he received zoning permission to build a theme park in Burbank, near the Disney studios. This site proved too small, and a larger plot in Anaheim,
The money from ABC was contingent on Disney television programs.The studio had been involved in a successful television special on Christmas Day 1950 about the making of Alice in Wonderland. Roy believed the program added millions to the box office takings. In a March 1951 letter to shareholders, he wrote that "television can be a most powerful selling aid for us, as well as a source of revenue. It will probably be on this premise that we enter television when we do". In 1954, after the Disneyland funding had been agreed, ABC broadcast Walt Disney's Disneyland , an anthology consisting of animated cartoons, live-action features and other material from the studio's library. The show was successful in terms of ratings and profits, earning an audience share of over 50%. In April 1955, Newsweek called the series an "American institution". ABC was pleased with the ratings, leading to Disney's first daily television program, The Mickey Mouse Club , a variety show catering specifically to children. The program was accompanied by merchandising through various companies (Western Printing, for example, had been producing coloring books and comics for over 20 years, and produced several items connected to the show). One of the segments of Disneyland consisted of the five-part miniseries Davy Crockett which, according to Gabler, "became an overnight sensation". The show's theme song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", became internationally popular, and ten million records were sold. As a result, Disney formed his own record production and distribution entity, Disneyland Records.
As well as the construction of Disneyland, Disney worked on other projects away from the studio. He was consultant to the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow; Disney Studios' contribution was America the Beautiful , a 19-minute film in the 360-degree Circarama theater that was one of the most popular attractions.The following year he acted as the chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, California, where he designed the opening, closing and medal ceremonies.
Despite the demands wrought by non-studio projects, Disney continued to work on film and television projects. In 1955, he was involved in "Man in Space", an episode of the Disneyland series, which was made in collaboration with NASA rocket designer Wernher von Braun.Disney also oversaw aspects of the full-length features Lady and the Tramp (the first animated film in CinemaScope) in 1955, Sleeping Beauty (the first animated film in Technirama 70 mm film) in 1959, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (the first animated feature film to use Xerox cels) in 1961, and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.
In 1964, Disney produced Mary Poppins , based on the book series by P. L. Travers; he had been trying to acquire the rights to the story since the 1940s.It became the most successful Disney film of the 1960s, although Travers disliked the film intensely and regretted having sold the rights. The same year he also became involved in plans to expand the California Institute of the Arts (colloquially called CalArts), and had an architect draw up blueprints for a new building.
Disney provided four exhibits for the 1964 New York World's Fair, for which he obtained funding from selected corporate sponsors. For PepsiCo, who planned a tribute to UNICEF, Disney developed It's a Small World, a boat ride with audio-animatronic dolls depicting children of the world; Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln contained an animatronic Abraham Lincoln giving excerpts from his speeches; Carousel of Progress promoted the importance of electricity; and Ford's Magic Skyway portrayed the progress of mankind. Elements of all four exhibits—principally concepts and technology—were re-installed in Disneyland, although It's a Small World is the ride that most closely resembles the original.
During the early to mid-1960s, Disney developed plans for a ski resort in Mineral King, a glacial valley in California's Sierra Nevada. He hired experts such as the renowned Olympic ski coach and ski-area designer Willy Schaeffler. —a larger and more elaborate version of Disneyland—plus golf courses and resort hotels. The heart of Disney World was to be the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT), which he described as:With income from Disneyland accounting for an increasing proportion of the studio's income, Disney continued to look for venues for other attractions. In late 1965, he announced plans to develop another theme park to be called "Disney World" (now Walt Disney World), a few miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. Disney World was to include the "Magic Kingdom"
an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.
During 1966, Disney cultivated businesses willing to sponsor EPCOT.He increased his involvement in the studio's films, and was heavily involved in the story development of The Jungle Book , the live-action musical feature The Happiest Millionaire (both 1967) and the animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day .
Disney had been a heavy smoker since World War I. He did not use cigarettes with filters and had smoked a pipe as a young man. In November 1966, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was treated with cobalt therapy. On November 30 he felt unwell and was taken to St. Joseph Hospital where, on December 15, ten days after his 65th birthday, he died of circulatory collapse caused by lung cancer. Disney's remains were cremated two days later, and his ashes interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
His estate included a 14 percent holding in Walt Disney Productions worth $20 million. He left 45 percent of his estate to his wife and children—much in a family trust—and 10 percent to his sister, nieces and nephews. The remaining 45 percent went into a charitable trust, 95 percent of which was designated for CalArts, to build a new campus (a figure of around $15 million); he also donated 38 acres (0.154 km2) of the Golden Oaks ranch in Valencia for construction of that school. The university moved there in November 1971.
The release of The Jungle Book and The Happiest Millionaire in 1967 raised the total number of feature films that Disney had been involved in to 81.When Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day was released in 1968, it earned Disney an Academy Award in the Short Subject (Cartoon) category, awarded posthumously. After Disney's death, his studios continued to produce live-action films prolifically but largely abandoned animation until the late 1980s, after which there was what The New York Times describes as the "Disney Renaissance" that began with The Little Mermaid (1989). Disney's companies continue to produce successful film, television and stage entertainment.
Disney's plans for the futuristic city of EPCOT did not come to fruition. After Disney's death, his brother Roy deferred his retirement to take full control of the Disney companies. He changed the focus of the project from a town to an attraction.At the inauguration in 1971, Roy dedicated Walt Disney World to his brother. Walt Disney World expanded with the opening of Epcot Center in 1982; Walt Disney's vision of a functional city was replaced by a park more akin to a permanent world's fair. In 2009, the Walt Disney Family Museum, designed by Disney's daughter Diane and her son Walter E. D. Miller, opened in the Presidio of San Francisco. Thousands of artifacts from Disney's life and career are on display, including numerous awards that he received. In 2014, the Disney theme parks around the world hosted approximately 134 million visitors.
Disney has been portrayed numerous times in fictional works. H. G. Wells references Disney in his 1938 novel The Holy Terror , in which World Dictator Rud fears that Donald Duck is meant to lampoon the dictator.Disney was portrayed by Len Cariou in the 1995 made-for-TV film A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story, and by Tom Hanks in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks . In 2001, the German author Peter Stephan Jungk published Der König von Amerika (trans: The King of America), a fictional work of Disney's later years that re-imagines him as a power-hungry racist. The composer Philip Glass later adapted the book into the opera The Perfect American (2013).
Disney received 59 Academy Award nominations, including 22 awards: both totals are records. —for Bambi (1942) and The Living Desert (1953)—and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. He also received four Emmy Award nominations, winning once, for Best Producer for the Disneyland television series. Several of his films are included in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant": Steamboat Willie, The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi and Mary Poppins. In 1998, the American Film Institute published a list of the 100 greatest American films, according to industry experts; the list included Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (at number 49), and Fantasia (at 58).He was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, but did not win, but he was presented with two Special Achievement Awards
In February 1960, Disney was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame with two stars, one for motion pictures and the other for his television work;Mickey Mouse was given his own star for motion pictures in 1978. Disney was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1986, the California Hall of Fame in December 2006, and was the inaugural recipient of a star on the Anaheim walk of stars in 2014.
The Walt Disney Family Museum records that he "along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and citations from throughout the world".He was made a Chevalier in the French Légion d'honneur in 1935, and in 1952 he was awarded the country's highest artistic decoration, the Officer d'Academie. Other national awards include Thailand's Order of the Crown; Brazil's Order of the Southern Cross and Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle. In the United States, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on September 14, 1964, and in 1969, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. He received the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners, and in 1955, the National Audubon Society awarded Disney its highest honor, the Audubon Medal, for promoting the "appreciation and understanding of nature" through his True-Life Adventures nature films. A minor planet discovered in 1980 by astronomer Lyudmila Karachkina, was named 4017 Disneya, and he was also awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Disney's public persona was very different from his actual personality. ... diffident" and self-deprecating. According to his biographer Richard Schickel, Disney hid his shy and insecure personality behind his public identity. Kimball argues that Disney "played the role of a bashful tycoon who was embarrassed in public" and knew that he was doing so. Disney acknowledged the façade, and told a friend that "I'm not Walt Disney. I do a lot of things Walt Disney would not do. Walt Disney does not smoke. I smoke. Walt Disney does not drink. I drink." Critic Otis Ferguson, in The New Republic , called the private Disney: "common and everyday, not inaccessible, not in a foreign language, not suppressed or sponsored or anything. Just Disney." Many of those with whom Disney worked commented that he gave his staff little encouragement due to his exceptionally high expectations. Norman recalls that when Disney said "That'll work", it was an indication of high praise. Instead of direct approval, Disney gave high-performing staff financial bonuses, or recommended certain individuals to others, expecting that his praise would be passed on.Playwright Robert E. Sherwood described him as "almost painfully shy
Views of Disney and his work have changed over the decades, and there have been polarized opinions. ... a peroxided American cutie". The reviewer opined that Disney "has slaughtered good Barrie and has only second-rate Disney to put in its place".Mark Langer, in the American Dictionary of National Biography, writes that "Earlier evaluations of Disney hailed him as a patriot, folk artist, and popularizer of culture. More recently, Disney has been regarded as a paradigm of American imperialism and intolerance, as well as a debaser of culture." Steven Watts wrote that some denounce Disney "as a cynical manipulator of cultural and commercial formulas", while PBS records that critics have censured his work because of its "smooth façade of sentimentality and stubborn optimism, its feel-good re-write of American history". Although Disney's films have been highly praised, very popular and commercially successful over time, there were criticisms by reviewers. Caroline Lejeune comments in The Observer that Snow White (1937) "has more faults than any earlier Disney cartoon. It is vulnerable again and again to the barbed criticisms of the experts. Sometimes it is, frankly, badly drawn." Robin Allen, writing for The Times, notes that Fantasia (1940) was "condemned for its vulgarity and lurches into bathos", while Lejeune, reviewing Alice in Wonderland (1951), feels the film "may drive lovers of Lewis Carroll to frenzy". Peter Pan (1953) was criticized in The Times as "a children's classic vulgarized" with "Tinker Bell
Disney has been accused of anti-Semitism, —including the animator Art Babbitt, who disliked Disney intensely—ever accused him of making anti-Semitic slurs or taunts. The Walt Disney Family Museum acknowledges that ethnic stereotypes common to films of the 1930s were included in some early cartoons. Disney donated regularly to Jewish charities, he was named "1955 Man of the Year" by the B'nai B'rith chapter in Beverly Hills, and his studio employed a number of Jews, some of whom were in influential positions. Gabler, the first writer to gain unrestricted access to the Disney archives, concludes that the available evidence does not support accusations of anti-Semitism and that Disney was "not [anti-Semitic] in the conventional sense that we think of someone as being an anti-Semite". Gabler concludes that "though Walt himself, in my estimation, was not anti-Semitic, nevertheless, he willingly allied himself with people who were anti-Semitic [meaning some members of the MPAPAI], and that reputation stuck. He was never really able to expunge it throughout his life". Disney distanced himself from the Motion Picture Alliance in the 1950s.although none of his employees
Disney has also been accused of other forms of racism because some of his productions released between the 1930s and 1950s contain racially insensitive material. —and by this I mean all people—can only be called exemplary."The feature film Song of the South was criticized by contemporary film critics, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and others for its perpetuation of black stereotypes, but Disney later campaigned successfully for an Honorary Academy Award for its star, James Baskett, the first black actor so honored. Gabler argues that "Walt Disney was no racist. He never, either publicly or privately, made disparaging remarks about blacks or asserted white superiority. Like most white Americans of his generation, however, he was racially insensitive." Floyd Norman, the studio's first black animator who worked closely with Disney during the 1950s and 1960s, said, "Not once did I observe a hint of the racist behavior Walt Disney was often accused of after his death. His treatment of people
Watts argues that many of Disney's post World War II films "legislated a kind of cultural Marshall Plan. They nourished a genial cultural imperialism that magically overran the rest of the globe with the values, expectations, and goods of a prosperous middle-class United States." ... values 'concealed' behind the innocent, wholesome façade of the world of Walt Disney"; this, they argue, is a powerful tool as "it presents itself as harmless fun for consumption by children." Tomlinson views their argument as flawed, as "they simply assume that reading American comics, seeing adverts, watching pictures of the affluent ... ['Yankee'] lifestyle has a direct pedagogic effect".Film historian Jay P. Telotte acknowledges that many see Disney's studio as an "agent of manipulation and repression", although he observes that it has "labored throughout its history to link its name with notions of fun, family, and fantasy". John Tomlinson, in his study Cultural Imperialism, examines the work of Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, whose 1971 book Para leer al Pato Donald (trans: How to Read Donald Duck ) identifies that there are "imperialist
Several commentators have described Disney as a cultural icon. ... love for our fellow man, fair play and toleration". Disney's obituary in The Times calls the films "wholesome, warm-hearted and entertaining ... of incomparable artistry and of touching beauty". Journalist Bosley Crowther argues that Disney's "achievement as a creator of entertainment for an almost unlimited public and as a highly ingenious merchandiser of his wares can rightly be compared to the most successful industrialists in history." Correspondent Alistair Cooke calls Disney a "folk-hero ... the Pied Piper of Hollywood", while Gabler considers Disney "reshaped the culture and the American consciousness". In the American Dictionary of National Biography, Langer writes:On Disney's death, journalism professor Ralph S. Izard comments that the values in Disney's films are those "considered valuable in American Christian society", which include "individualism, decency,
Disney remains the central figure in the history of animation. Through technological innovations and alliances with governments and corporations, he transformed a minor studio in a marginal form of communication into a multinational leisure industry giant. Despite his critics, his vision of a modern, corporate utopia as an extension of traditional American values has possibly gained greater currency in the years after his death.
Mickey Mouse is a funny animal cartoon character and the mascot of The Walt Disney Company. He was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studios in 1928. An anthropomorphic mouse who typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves, Mickey is one of the world's most recognizable characters.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is an anthropomorphic rabbit and animated cartoon character created by Walt Disney for cartoon animal films and distributed by Universal Studios in the 1920s and 1930s, serving as the Disney studio's first animated character to feature in their own series. A total of 27 animated Oswald one-reelers were produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios. In 1928, Charles Mintz took the rights of Oswald from Walt Disney and claimed Oswald as an official Universal Studios character. In November 1928, as a replacement to compete with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse for the Walt Disney Studio.
Plane Crazy is an American animated short film directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. The cartoon, released in 1928 by the Walt Disney Studios, was the first creation of the character Mickey Mouse. It was made as a silent film and given a test screening to a theater audience on May 15, 1928, but failed to pick up a distributor. Later that year, Disney released Mickey's first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which was an enormous success. Following this, Plane Crazy was released as a sound cartoon on March 17, 1929. It was the fourth Mickey film to be released after Steamboat Willie, The Gallopin' Gaucho, and The Barn Dance (1928).
The golden age of American animation was a period in the history of U.S. animation that began with the advent of sound cartoons in 1928 and continued until around 1972, by which time theatrical animated shorts had begun losing to the newer medium of television animation.
Ward Walrath Kimball, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was an animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios. He was one of Walt Disney's team of animators, known as Disney's Nine Old Men. His films have been honored with two Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film.
Orphan's Benefit is an animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was first released as a black-and-white cartoon in 1934 and was later remade in Technicolor in 1941 under the title Orphans' Benefit. The cartoon features Mickey Mouse and his friends putting on a Vaudeville-style benefit show for a group of unruly orphans. It contains a number of firsts for Disney, including the first time in which Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck appear together.
The Chain Gang, also known as The Gaolbreaker, is a Mickey Mouse animated film produced in 1930 by Walt Disney for Columbia Pictures. It is one of a group of shorts of strikingly uneven quality produced by Disney immediately after Ub Iwerks left the studio. The cartoon was primarily drawn by Norm Ferguson, and featured a pair of bloodhounds, who helped to track down Mickey after his escape from prison. Although these dogs were not named, the style in which they were drawn makes them clear forerunners of Pluto, who first officially appeared in The Picnic.
Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated musical fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the Alice books by Lewis Carroll. The 13th release of Disney's animated features, the film premiered in London on July 26, 1951 and in New York City on July 28, 1951. The film features the voices of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice, Sterling Holloway as the Cheshire Cat, Verna Felton as the Queen of Hearts, and Ed Wynn as the Mad Hatter.
Laugh-O-Gram Studio was a short-lived film studio located on the second floor of the McConahay Building at 1127 East 31st in Kansas City, Missouri.
Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), also referred to as Disney Animation, headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, is an American animation studio that creates animated feature films, short films and television specials for The Walt Disney Company. Founded on October 16, 1923, it is a division of Walt Disney Studios. The studio has produced 57 feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).
Burton F. Gillett was a director of animated films. He is noted for his Silly Symphonies work for Disney, particularly the 1933 short film Three Little Pigs.
The multiplane camera is a motion-picture camera used in the traditional animation process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another. This creates a sense of parallax or depth.
The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms is a book by Christopher Finch, chronicling the artistic achievements and history of Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company. The original edition was published in 1973; revised and expanded editions were issued in 1975, 1995, 2004, and 2011. The newest edition of the book covers a broad history of the company and specific sections for movies, Pixar, live action and the Theme parks. The latest edition also includes a foreword by John Lasseter.
The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. In the film, four human skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard—a modern film example of medieval European "danse macabre" imagery. It is the first entry in the Silly Symphony series.
Mickey Mouse is a character-based series of 130 animated short films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The films, which introduced Disney's most famous cartoon character, were released on a regular basis from 1928 to 1953 with four additional shorts released between 1983 and 2013. The series is notable for its innovation with sound synchronization and character animation, and also introduced well-known characters such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy.
The Opry House (1929), first released on March 28, 1929, was the fifth Mickey Mouse short to be released, the second of that year. It cast Mickey as the owner of a small theater. Mickey performs a vaudeville show all by himself. Acts include his impersonation of a snake charmer, his dressing in drag and performing a belly dance, his caricature of a Hasidic Jew and, for the finale, a piano performance.
Steamboat Willie is a 1928 American animated short film directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was produced in black-and-white by Walt Disney Studios and was released by Celebrity Productions. The cartoon is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, although both the characters appeared several months earlier in a test screening of Plane Crazy. Steamboat Willie was the third of Mickey's films to be produced, but was the first to be distributed because Walt Disney, having seen The Jazz Singer, had committed himself to producing one of the first fully synchronized sound cartoons. The real first cartoon with synchronized sound was My Old Kentucky Home.
Benjamin Ashby Clopton, Junior was an artist best known for his work on Walt Disney and Harman-Ising animated cartoons.
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