“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
Wise words from the one and only Walt Disney about the company that he started ninety years ago. Yes, NINETY YEARS AGO! The company was started after a bankruptcy and a big move from Missouri to Hollywood. Walt Disney, who arrived with just $40 in his pocket, went on to create the most successful entertainment company ever. Walt Disney’s reach has gone far beyond the cute animated shorts that he began with and now counts major motion pictures, TV, theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, ESPN, retail stores, and this very website in its realm. Yes, Disney is everywhere.
In honor of 90 years, we’ve put together seven things you should know about the Walt Disney company from the beginnings to how it is being honored today.
October 16th, 1923 1 of 7
October 16th, 1923 is considered to be the birth of the Walt Disney Studios as we now know it. But back then, it was actually called The Disney Brothers Studio. This date, October 16th, was when the Disney brothers signed with M. J. Winkler to produce a series called the Alice Comedies.
Laugh O Grams 2 of 7
While working in Kansas City, Missouri, Walt started the creation of the Alice's Wonderland series that starred the bright eyed, blonde-haired actress Virginia Davis who frolicked in an animated world. The company was then called Laugh-O-Gram Films, which went bankrupt. But Alice's Wonderland would get a second chance when they signed with M.J. Winkler on that fateful day.
Oswald 3 of 7
Years before Mickey Mouse was born, Walt Disney had a different character that he thought would be the "one." His name was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who is quite lucky indeed, since there is currently an Oswald renaissance due to the video game Epic Mickey. Oswald made his debut on September 7th, 1927, and after 26 shorts, Disney lost the rights to his character — via his distribution company — to Universal. Universal owned the rights to Oswald until 2006 when the Walt Disney Company traded the sportscaster Al Michaels for the animated character. Yes, they traded an actual human for a cartoon!
Photo Source: Walt Disney
Hyperion Studios 4 of 7
Their first "real" studio was located on Hyperion Street in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles, which they finished building in 1926. That same year, they changed the name to Walt Disney Studios from Disney Brothers Studio.
Photo Source: Wikimap
It All Started With A Mouse 5 of 7
I mentioned in my intro the great quote from Walt Disney: "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse." That mouse, the one and only Mickey Mouse, was invented by Walt Disney and his animator Ub Iwerks in 1928. Mickey was first seen in the short Plane Crazy. But he is more known for his first big short Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928.
You've got to wonder what would happen if Walt hadn't dreamed up this lovable rodent — the world of entertainment would be a very different place.
Photo Source: Wikipedia
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archive in Chicago 6 of 7
To celebrate the past 90 years, D23 opened the "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" on October 16th, which coincides with the 90th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. The exhibit — which runs until May 4, 2014— will be housed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and celebrates the "creative accomplishments and innovations of one of Chicago's native sons, Walt Disney."
"Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives showcases the creative accomplishments and innovations of one of Chicago 's native sons, Walt Disney, and the ongoing legacy of the company that bears his name. From Mickey Mouse to Mary Poppins to Captain Jack Sparrow, the exhibition features many artifacts that have not been widely seen by the public—including drawings; props; costumes; artwork from classic Disney animation, theme park attractions, TV shows and live action films; plus items from contemporary Disney milestones."
Photo Source: Disney Store
And NOW! 7 of 7
The Walt Disney Company got a very nice birthday gift this week. Adweek reported on "the most-loved companies in the world, according to an extensive study by APCO Worldwide," and do you know who was number one? The Walt Disney Company! Out of 100, Walt Disney came in first above Yahoo!, Google, and Sony. The researchers "measured eight emotional feelings people have toward brands: understanding, approachability, relevance, admiration, curiosity, identification, empowerment, and pride." It's no wonder that Disney came in first!
Photo Source: Walt Disney Company