Walt Disney through time

Born on the 5th of December 1901, Chicago, Illinois, USA.  Died 15 of December, 1966.

Walt showed an interest in art and started drawing at a young age, selling his first sketches to neighbors when he was only seven years old.  At McKinley High School in Chicago, Disney showed attention at drawing and photography as well.  Also contributing to the school paper.  At night he attended the Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1920, Walt met Ub Iwerks and formed Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists. The company failed after one month.  In the same year he created and marketed his first original animated cartoons, and later perfected a new method for combining live-action and animation.

In August of 1923, Walt Disney left Kansas City for Hollywood.  Walt’s brother, Roy 0. Disney, was already in California.  They established the Disney Brothers Studio when they received an order from New York for the first “Alice Comedy” featurette, and the brothers began their production operation.  In 1926 Walt and Roy renamed the studio to  ‘Walt Disney Studios’.

Disney Brothers Studios

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928.  He made his screen debut in “Steamboat Willie,” the world’s first fully-synchronized sound cartoon, which premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York on November 18, 1928.  Technicolor was introduced to animation during the production of the “Silly Symphonies.” In 1932, the film entitled “Flowers and Trees” won Walt the first of his 32 personal Academy Awards. In 1937, he released “The Old Mill,” the first short subject to utilize the multiplane camera technique.

Multiplane Camera

Walt Disney’s Mutliplane Camera

In 1929 Walt launches “Silly Symphonies,” a series of cartoons that combine music and animation.

In 1933 Three Little Pigs, the 36th “Silly Symphony,” is distributed, with the original song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” The song becomes a national hit and an anthem for the Great Depression.

In 1937 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated musical feature, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.  During the next five years, Walt completed such other full-length animated classics as “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” and “Bambi.”

In 1940, construction was completed on Disney’s Burbank studio. The staff numbered to more than 1,000 artists, animators, story men and technicians.

Walt Disney Studios

Disney’s 1945 feature, the musical “The Three Caballeros,” combined live action with the cartoon medium, a process he used successfully in such other features as “Song of the South” and the highly acclaimed “Mary Poppins.” In all, 81 features were released by the studio during his lifetime.

'The Three Caballeros'

Disneyland, launched in 1955.  By its third decade, more than 250 million people were entertained, including presidents, kings and queens, and royalty from all over the globe.

A pioneer in the field of television programming, Disney began production in 1954, and was among the first to present full-color programming with his “Wonderful World of Color” in 1961. “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Zorro” were popular favorites in the 1950s.

Walt planned a whole new Disney world of entertainment to include a new amusement theme park, motel-hotel resort vacation center and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. After more than seven years of master planning and preparation, including 52 months of actual construction, Walt Disney World opened to the public as scheduled on October 1, 1971.

Walt Disney took a deep interest in the establishment of California Institute of the Arts, a college level, professional school of all the creative and performing arts.  Walt once said, “It’s the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can help provide a place to develop the talent of the future, I think I will have accomplished something.”

California Institute of the Arts was founded in 1961 with the amalgamation of two schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Chouinard Art Institute.  Walt Disney conceived the new school as a place where all the performing and creative arts would be taught under one roof in a “community of the arts” as a completely new approach to professional arts training.

Walt Disney, along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and citations from every nation in the world, including 48 Academy Awards and 7 Emmys in his lifetime. Walt Disney’s personal awards included honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California and UCLA; the Presidential Medal of Freedom; France’s Legion of Honor and Officer d’Academie decorations; Thailand’s Order of the Crown; Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross; Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle; and the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Walt Disney Awards

David Low, the late British political cartoonist, called Disney “the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo DaVinci.”


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