Although he is sadly no longer with us, we’d like to honor another famous entrepreneur in entertainment, Walt Disney. Mr. Disney was a man who transformed the world of entertainment and never failed to capture the imagination of his audience.
According to JustDisney.com, Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. His father’s name was Elias and his mother was Flora Call Disney. Together, the Disneys had five children and only one of them was a girl. Walt grew up in Marceline, Missouri, where his family moved after his birth. Even as a child, Walt had an interest in art and would sell his drawings to the people who lived in his neighborhood to make money. He grew up to study art and photography at Chicago’s McKinley High School.
At the young age of sixteen, Walt Disney tried to join the military, but was refused for being too young. This did not choke out his desire to help others and serve and he joined the Red Cross instead. The Red Cross sent Disney to France, where he drove an ambulance and gave rides to Red Cross officials for one year. Upon returning home from France, he chose to pursue his art career and started a company with a friend named Ub Iwerks, who was a very talented young artist. Unfortunately, it soon went bankrupt. Yet again, Disney did not allow his entrepreneurial spirit to die and he took off for Hollywood to start over with twenty dollars and a suitcase.
As biography.com explains, it was at this point that Walt and his brother Roy resumed a cartoon series known as “The Alice Series”, which had been an important part of the failed business of Walt and Iwerks. Walt convinced Iwerks to help him once again, and invented a new character for their cartoons known as Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit. They landed a contract to distribute their films for $1500 each, and their enterprise was born. Mickey Mouse was born in 1928, just before motion pictures were given the element of sound.
Disney soon became obsessed with using only the latest technology to create his films. For two years, he had exclusive rights to use Technicolor in his animated films and won his first Academy Award in 1932 for his film Flowers and Trees, the first ever cartoon that was in full color. Disney went on to win 26 Oscar awards, which is the most ever won by one person.
Although Mickey was soon joined by Goofy, Donald Duck and many others, Walt Disney wanted to make movies. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937 and became the very first feature-length animated film that was made in Technicolor. The cost of the making of the film was almost one and a half million dollars, which was unimaginable during the Depression; yet the company still flourished.
Sadly, the world lost Walt Disney in 1966, but his imagination, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit will live on forever. Five years after his death, Disney World was opened in Orlando, Florida. The Epcott Center opened in 1981. Disney has been honored and remembered by many companies, writers and film stars, including Time magazine, who named him one of the most important people in the 20th century. In spite of all of the recognition, it is, perhaps, the children who appreciate his work the most. And one of his more famous quotes shows that he never forgot that; “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was started by a mouse.”
Angela Kaye Mason is an online researcher, writer, and contributor at entrepreneurweek.com blog network. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Angela on Twitter. Find her on Facebook .
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