The Walt Disney Company dies
The Walt Disney Company
It all started with a mouse - the story of the Walt Disney Company
On October 16, 1923, Walt and Roy Disney founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood. The studio formed the cornerstone of what is now the company called The Walt Disney Company. This studio, founded by Walt Disney and his brother Roy, has had a major impact on the development of the entertainment industry from the very beginning and over the years has grown into one of the largest media groups in the world.
Walter Elias Disney was already enthusiastic about drawing and cartoons as a child. He sold his first drawings at a young age. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, he developed an interest in cel animation and experimented with his first film camera. After his first company, Laugh-O-Gram Studios, went bankrupt in 1923, Walt moved to live with his brother Roy in Los Angeles. Roy worked there in a bank.
Walt Disney managed to sell the Alice short films he had produced with Laugh-O-Gram and to negotiate a contract for more of these films. In order to be able to produce these films, the Disney brothers founded their company, which they initially called Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. The two persuaded Ub Iwerks, who Walt knew from Kansas City and Virginia Davis, who played Alice, to join them in their Hollywood venture.
First successes and the birth of Mickey Mouse
The Alice short films were so successful that the small office they worked from was no longer enough. In 1925, space on Hyperion Avenue in Hollywood was rented. The next step was to develop a series based on the character Oswalt the Lucky Rabbit. However, Disney gave up the rights to Oswald when it came to a dispute with Charles Mintz and his rental company. It turned out during negotiations that Mintz had already poached some Disney employees and owned the rights to the character of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
But this setback also had something good, because the most famous mouse in the world was created almost as a replacement or successor to Oswald: Mickey Mouse, which, incidentally, was initially to be called Mortimer Mouse.
With the short film Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse was introduced to the public and began to be an incomparable success.
Short films are not enough
Walt Disney was convinced by the popularity of the Mickey Mouse short films and the Silly Symphonies that his studio should try a full-length animated film in the next step. Work on it began in 1934. This project, repeatedly referred to as Disney’s Folly, far exceeded the studio’s budget. It got bigger and more elaborate, so that critics and friends feared that this film could mean the ruin of the studio. But when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937, the film was a huge success.
Since then, the Walt Disney Company has produced numerous films, both animated and feature films - many of them have been extremely successful and have received multiple awards.
Disney - more than just movies
The movie business wasn't enough for Walt Disney. From an early age he dreamed of opening an amusement park where children and parents could have fun together. This project was put into practice in the 1950s and in 1955, Disneyland in Anaheim opened the world's first Disney Park. Since then, numerous other Disney parks have been added around the world, there is also a whole cruise fleet and even a Disney island in the Caribbean.
But the Walt Disney Company also continued to do business in the media and TV sectors. In addition to the production of its own content, various companies were bought over the course of the year, including ABC, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
The originally small studio that produced cartoons has thus developed into one of the world's largest media companies today.
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