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His fairy tales hawe taken a place beside the classics. The earnest mouse, the hot-tempered duck are a permanent part of American folklore. Here is the complete story of how Walt Disney rose from bankruptcy at 21 to become the worlds most celebrated entertainer, with his simple formula: "I am a ham – and it's fun!"

FOR a strong-willed young man trying to exploit a new idea, or a new twist to an old idea, an early bankruptcy can be a stimulating experience. The disaster challenges him at a point which will always be crucial to his fortunes – the stark point at which his money runs out and his backers follow suit. So crushing a blow forces the entrepreneur to take another look at his dream and to decide whether he still believes in it in spite of what has befallen it.

The age at which Walter Elias Disney went hankrupt was precociously early. He was twenty-one. The year was 1923 and the scene of his purgation was Kansas City, Missouri. Ambitiously, Disney had incorporated a venture of his for making animated cartoons of familiar fairy tales. His studio was a garage which he rented from a householder who owned no automobile, a lack which was common in those underprivileged days. He was assisted during the corporation's brief life by several other young men who only lately had teethed on the lowest rung of commercial art, as had Disney himself. They were engaged in drawing literal sketches for the advertising pages of farm publications of such unexciting items as farm machinery, salt blocks for cattle and mashes guaranteed to re-create the self-confidence of melancholy hens and send them into a fury of egg-laying. All hands, understandably, were eager for a more rounded life.

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