Episode #6 of the course “History’s greatest entrepreneurs”
With an imagination that inspired countless people around the world, American cartoonist and vocal actor Walt Disney changed the shapes of childhood and adult dreams. As creator of some of the most iconic cartoon characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Walt Disney founded the Walt Disney Company and Disney Animation Studios, now legendary global businesses. Walt stretched animation past the limits of short cartoons and produced the world’s first full-length animated films. His creations were a huge success. Walt’s legendary imagination accommodated grand visions, like making characters come to life and dreams come true at his Disneyland theme park. He also laid the foundations for later advances in computer technology and animation.
Disneyland Opening Day, Anaheim, California, 1955
Born in Chicago in 1901, Walt Disney received very little early education, except for classes at various art institutes that cultivated his interest in drawing. In his early career, Disney worked as a political cartoonist for newspapers, as well as in marketing and advertising. With his brother Roy, Walt Disney relocated to Hollywood and established an animation studio. It was 1923, and the film industry was beginning to emerge.
Over the next two decades Walt Disney’s animated productions would rock viewers to their core—the first introduction of a sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Steamboat Willie, in 1928, which lead to the production of the first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937. From there, Walt pushed the boundaries, the technologies, and the creativity of his animation team. The catalogue of Disney’s movies includes some of the most beloved in history, and he and the studios received over 20 Academy Awards during his lifetime. Walt Disney now lends his name to international theme parks, a number of television and film enterprises, video games, and some of the happiest family moments on earth.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.”
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
“Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.”
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”
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