Walt Disney was an American cartoonist and film producer. As a leader in cartoon cinema, he was the main creator of the classical stage of animation and the founder of the corporation that bears his name. In 1918, young Walt tried to enlist in the army.
a job as a publicist at Pesemen-Rubin Art Studio, where he struck up a key friendship with cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks. They both founded the Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists company in 1920, which proved a failure. They had to work again for someone else at the Kansas City Film Ad, a company in which their first contact with the rudimentary animation techniques of the time would take place, whose possibilities immediately fascinated Disney.
In 1922, when he believed that he had learned enough, Walt Disney founded the Laugh-O-Gram Films company, with which he made successful short films based on children’s stories. However, production expenses outweighed profits, and the following year it had to close. Discouraged, Disney moved to Hollywood with no other idea than to become a “normal” film director. Luckily, a distributor took an interest in Alice’s Wonderland, one of the films that Laugh-O-Gram Films had produced, and commissioned new films to combine animation and live action.
To fulfill the commission, the Disney Brothers’ Studio was born, producing nine Alice Comedies, to be followed in 1927 by the Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit series, a commission for Universal Pictures created by Ubbe Iwerks, who had joined the new career of the Disney brothers. The series were successful and the studio was growing with talented cartoonists, although a stumble with Universal Pictures, which had the rights to Oswald and decided to dispense with his services, almost ruined the fledgling company.
The solution was to create another character and this was neither more nor less than Mickey Mouse, which in time would be the emblem of the so-called Disney Factory. His paternity is disputed; Disney credited it, but it could have been Ubbe Iwerks or both. After two failed attempts, the brand new mouse would triumph with Steamboat Willie, which was a great success. Immensely popular, short films followed one another quickly, and in 1930 the character moved into the comic. The shorts starring Mickey Mouse were alternated with a series of funny musical animations entitled Silly Symphonies.
Disney had to ask for a loan to complete the million and a half dollars it cost. But it happened that, at the box office, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs generated an income of eight million dollars. He had been successful not only as a businessman, but also as an artist, because Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs also turned out to be a masterpiece, of the highest technical level, funny sensitivity and great narrative ease.
The profits allowed Disney to build, two years later, an immense studio in Burbank, and to produce, alongside the usual shorts, extraordinary feature films (Pinocchio, Fantasy, Dumbo, Bambi) that, however, did not always produce profits. Disney also had to face other problems, such as the 1941 strike, which paralyzed the studios and damaged the company’s image; he would take revenge on some of its leaders in 1947, denouncing them before the Committee on Un-American Activities.
We all know how this story ends, we continue today watching thousands of films that follow the ideal and pioneering spirit of Walt Disney.