Friday, December 04, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Walt

This week is very special in Disney history and in the history of animation in general. On December 5th we will be commemorating the birth of Walter Elias Disney, the man responsible for bringing us the wonderful world of Disney Animation. The native Chicagoan began his industry in Kansas City where he began with small animated shorts that became so popular within the city that he earned enough money to create his own studio. From there he hired animators that would soon earn the name of the “9 Old Men,” animators that would help Walt create some of the animated classics that would make him a legend.

Walt first began his career with the Alice Comedies (not Wonderland Alice) and the animated cartoon of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But it wasn’t until Disney lost the rights to Oswald and had to come up with a brand new character that a very familiar character we all know and love was born. Walt used to own a pet mouse as a child, and one of his animators drew inspiration from that to create Mortimer Mouse. But Walt’s wife Lily suggested Mickey was a much friendlier name, and thus Mickey Mouse was born.

Now seen all over the Disney theme parks and considered a classic American icon, Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in a musical cartoon in the black and white Steamboat Willie. Mickey Mouse soon took off, and with the addition of Snow White, Disney’s first princess, the Disney Animation Studio became a staple in American animation and movie making. Though there were set backs throughout the years regarding the animated films the Disney studio, we have the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland and all of the other parks of the Walt Disney World Resort to prove that the Disney Company overcame all of their adversity to become perhaps the most recognized name in the world.

There is so much that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for “Uncle Walt” paving the way that a simple blog couldn’t capture all of it. But we do know that we have the theme parks, the movies, and an entire legion of loyal Disney fans that above all remember the main message of the Disney ideal; that hard work does make dreams come true. The next time you visit the Disney parks, just remember, it was all started because of a mouse. Happy Birthday, Uncle Walt!


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