More than any other filmmaker, Walt Disney typifies the Great American Dream of the 20th Century - that of self-made success. From his earliest beginnings, working out of a Hollywood garage in the Twenties, to the great globe-spanning corporation bearing his name, Walt Disney acquired a reputation for innovation and artistic integrety.
The feature you are about to read ist the work of Richard Holliss and has been planned since the end of last year. So what better was a way to round out 1983, the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Walt Disney Studios than with a detailed biography of the man who built an empire on the back of a Mouse with a squeaky voice.
In 1966, when Walt Disney died, American re search statistics showed that an estimated 24 million people had seen a Disney movie, 1 million had watched a Disney television show every week, 800 million had read a Disney book or magazine, 80 million had bought Disney licensed merchandise and 6 million had made the yearly journey to Disneyland in California. The company's net income was reported as $12 million on a gross of $116 million
In 1981, the revenues had increased to a net ncome of $121 million on a gross of $1 billion, in Walt Disney World alone, tne number of tourists visiting the area (near Orlando Florida) since the park opened in 1971, has risen from 1 million to over 6 million.
A legend in his own lifetime, Walter Elias Disney received more film awards than any other individual. He was also the recipient of four TV Emmys scores of citations from many nations, decorated by the French Legion of Honour, the Art Workers Guild of London received honorary degrees from Har vard, Yale, and the University of Southern Califor nia, wore Mexico's Order of the Eagle, was awarded the Medal of Freedom and it was rumoured, prior to his death, nominated for the Nobel Prize.
Born in Chicago on December 5th 1901, Walt was to grow up on a farm in Missouri with his father Elias, his mother Flora, his three brothers Herbert Raymond and Roy, and his sister Ruth. Moving to Kansas City, the young Walt Disney found himself delivering newspapers, appearing in amateur dramatics and selling soda pop on long train journeys. After the First World War he spent some time in France, before returning to America as a cartoonist for a local paper. Making friends with another artist by the name of Ub Iwerks, Walt branched into early animated cartoons. He started his own company, Laugh-O-Grams, where he made a series of shorts utilising a live actress along with cartoon characters called Alice in Cartoonland. When his distributor ran off with the money, he liquidated Laugh-O-Grams and moved to California.