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The Wonderful World Of Disney

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The Wonderful World of Disney

When people think of Mickey Mouse, people visualize Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and all of his friends. They probably think about the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. Without Mickey and Disneyland, the entertainment industry would not be where it is today. The man who brought Mickey to life was Walt Disney. Many people might think of Walt as the luckiest guy in the world with the greatest life, but his story is anything but great by far. Walt worked his tail off all his life; doing anything he could to become successful. He did not let anything get to him and he did not let anything interfere with what he wanted. Walt, who was a creative, imaginative, and visual person, created a billion dollar empire and made a magical world for all ages to enjoy.

On December 5, 1901 in Chicago, a boy with many dreams that would eventually change the world was born. Elias and Flora Disney gave birth to a handsome boy named, Walter Elias Disney. He was number four out of five children. He had three older brothers, Herbert, Raymond, and Roy, and one little sister named Ruth. After he was born, the family then moved to Marceline, Missouri.

Walt's childhood was anything far from a normal childhood. Moving around as a child did not help out. This was because Walt's father never had a steady business. The boys would help their father with certain jobs, some that even started at three-thirty in the morning, but they never got paid. His father would beat the boys and his older brother Roy would comfort Walt telling him that everything would be all right. Walt would ask Roy "if the man who beat them was really his father, or just some mean old man who looked like him and wanted only to frighten and hurt him" (Eliot 7). His father would beat them daily to get the job done the best way possible. Walt could not understand why his father beat him and why his mother would not stop the beatings. Walt was only eight-years-old.

Walt did not have much playing time as a boy. He was always taught about hard work. In an interview with Roy Disney made years later he said: "As long as I can remember, Walt has been working...He worked in the daytime and he worked at night. Walt didn't play much as a boy. He still can't catch a ball with any certainty"

( Schickel 49). The boys were usually doing chores. Whenever they did have playing time, Walt and his brothers would play made-up games. "They would compete over who could better ride a hog, who could pitch more hay, who could throw the fork farther" (Eliot 7). With other free time available, Walt's interest in art and drawing came about. He would draw farm animals whenever he had other free time, with a piece of coal on some toilet paper. He would sell some of his drawings to neighbors for some extra money since he never had any. This start of his interest in art would carry on until his death, but he did not know it yet. He attended McKinley High School in Chicago and took drawing and photography classes. He contributed to the school paper and would attend the Academy of Fine Arts at night.

Many people do not know that Walt had a love of railroads which played a huge role in the growth of the Disney Empire. There was a Santa Fe Railroad that was close to the Disney family farm. Walt would put his ear against the tracks, to listen for approaching trains (Aldridge). He made his own miniature models that could be ridden on. Soon those small-scaled trains turned into full-sized, steam-powered trains. Walt Disney's dream of a Magic Kingdom and his passion for railroading were as one and this is described in his own words, "I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train" (Broggie).

Walt once said, "Girls, he once recalled, were a nuisance. "I was normal," he said, "but girls bored me. They still do. Their interests are just different" (Schickel 61). His brother, Roy Disney, tried to change that out of his brother. Roy thought that Lillian Bounds was just the right girl. In the summer of 1923, Lillian came to Hollywood to visit her sister. Kathleen, the first female hired by the Disney's studio, met with Lillian and became friends. She told Lillian, "I have a job for you, but I'm telling you about it on one condition: Don't marry the boss" (Eliot 30). She got a job in the Disney Studios working in the inking-and-painting department. Walt began spending a lot of time at her department and gave her tips to help her out. Two days later, Walt proposed to Lillian. On July 25, 1925, in Lewiston, Idaho, Lillian and Walt got married at age twenty-four.

The one guy that changed Walt's life forever was Ub Iwerks. Walt got a job in Kansas City, working as an apprentice in a commercial art studio. There he met Ub. Walt wanted to create a new character so he could save the Walt Disney Studios. Ub and Walt brainstormed together and eventually came up the most famous cartoon of all, Mickey Mouse. There are two stories on how Mickey Mouse came about. Walt's side is that he was inspired by an actual mouse that lived in his old Kansas City office. He told Lillian he wanted to call him Mortimer but she suggested Mickey. He then created the image of Mickey and the plot for the first cartoon. Ub's version of the story is that Walt stood over Ub's shoulder when he created Mickey. Walt and Ub put down all their ideas and Walt sketched his own version of a mouse. Ub declined the drawing saying that it looked too much like Walt. Taking one of his own sketches of Oswald, Ub, with a few swipes of a pen, changed the ears and rounded the eyes, and in doing so turned him into Mickey (Eliot 36).

Work beginning on the first Mickey Mouse cartoon began in 1928. The first Mickey Mouse film was called "Plane Crazy". An average ten-minute cartoon required about 14,000 drawings and a single movement required 16 (Eliot 39). Another short film was called "Steamboat Willie." This cost $15,000 dollars to make and included sound. The first showing was November 18, 1928, and it received a great review. Walt was the first animator to release a synchronized sound cartoon.

Technicolor was introduced to animation during the production of his Silly Symphonies Cartoon Features (Aldridge). The first full-length animated musical feature was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", which premiered in 1937. During the next five years, Walt Disney Studios completed other full-length animated classics such as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi (Aldridge).

When Lillian Disney finally became pregnant, Walt grew to darker days. Walt increased his drinking and he smoked three packs of cigarettes

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