Remembering Walt Disney

Nirvana Tandon

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A picture of Walt Disney on his honorary graduation.
Walt Disney receiving honorary degree from Harvard. (Photo Credit: Boston Public Library – flickr)

If you ask the people what their favourite childhood movie was, almost half of them would definitely give you name of a Disney movie. We can say that Walt Disney has made a huge impact by looking at how people recall their childhood years, Disney years. Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901, in the upper bedroom of his family’s Trip Avenue house.

Even as a kid, Walter Elias Walt Disney was quite fond of drawing. When he was only seven, he started selling his sketches to neighbours. He was also interested in photography. Walt Disney went to McKinley High School in Chicago. He took drawing and photography classes there and also was a cartoonist at the school paper. At night, he took courses at the Chicago Art Institute. Disney also wanted to join the army but was rejected because he was underage.

In 1919, Walt Disney started working in Kansas City Film Ad Company. He made commercials there. He had his first studio along with Fred Harman named Laugh-O-Gram.  Laugh-O-Gram made their first seven-minutes fairy tale, which they called ‘Alice in Cartoonland’. However, this studio was declared bankrupt later because of the enormous amounts of debt it had.

After that, Walt Disney invested all of his money along with his brother Roy Disney to begin Disney Brother’s Studio. Whilst hiring people to create his cartoons, he met his wife, Lillian Bound. She was an ink and paint artist. By their third cartoon, the studio was starting taste of success. Their first full-length animated film, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ was a huge success. After that there was no turning back. Walt Disney only expanded his company with many other ventures including the Disney land in 1955.

A few years later, Walt Disney was diagnosed of lung cancer. Even when he was gravely ill, Disney’s mind was at work. In the book, The Animated Man, Barrier quotes Disney ‘Okay, I think you guys [the film producers, including Miller, who answered directly to him] can work as a team, ’cause you’ve shown it in the past three years.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna stick with Disney World and EPCOT. I’ll read the scripts, and I’ll just tell you whether to go or not. I just can’t become as active as I used to be.’

Today even after half a decade, we remember Walt Disney. We marvel at his creations. We have auctions of his drawings from as early as 1920s.

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Nirvana Tandon