Happy 110th Birthday, Walt Disney!
The American film producer, animation innovator and co-founder of Wald Disney Productions would have celebrated his 110th birthday Monday. Best known for his imaginative animation ideas and for his determination to make a creative theme park, Disney was one of the most influential American entertainers in the twentieth century.
After spending a year as an ambulance driver in France during World War 1, Disney returned to America with the hope of being an artist. He started a career as a newspaper artist, drawing political cartoon, caricatures and comic strips. When he was unsuccessful at selling his cartoons, he worked temporarily at his brother Roy's bank creating advertisement for movie theaters, banks and magazines.
In 1920, Disney and a fellow cartoonist, Ubbe Iwerks, started their own commercial artists company, but when the pair ran out of money, Disney joined the Kansas City Film Ad Company where he first became interested in animation. He borrowed a camera from the company and experimented with drawings at home.
Disney briefly presented cartoons as Newman Laugh-O-Grams, but the studio made very little profits. Disney and his brother Roy moved to Hollywood in the early 1920s to set up a cartoon studio for Walt's Alice Comedies, a series of cartoons based on Alice's Wonderland. The Disney Brothers' Studio was born. The series ended in 1927, but Disney had begun a career as an animator with his following series Julius, who resembled Felix the Cat.
During a train ride between New York and Hollywood in the late 1920s, Disney invented a character to capture his company - Mickey Mouse. Disney himself provided the original voice for the character until 1947. The mouse was originally named Mortimer, but was replaced with Mickey because Disney's wife thought it was more fitting. By 1930, Mickey Mouse had become the world's most popular cartoon.
Following his success with a number of short series featuring Mickey Mouse, Disney helped usher in the the golden age of animation. Disney oversaw the production of Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows in the late 1930s.
In the late 1940s, Disney drew sketches for his plan of an amusement park where he thought employees could spend time with their children. Disney spent five years working on plans for Disneyland and the first theme park was opened on July 18, 1955.
At the opening, Disney dedicated the park, stating:
To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past .... and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America ... with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.
The late 1950s and early 1960s marked an era of expansion for the Disney Company. However, Walt Disney passed away at age 65 from lung cancer on Dec. 15, 1966. Nonetheless, the entrepreneur's dreams for his company and the world of animation have continued long after his death.
We took a look at 18 of his most inspirational quotes that still resonate with dreamers and movie-lovers today.
18. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
17. You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.
16. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
15. Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.
14. Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.
13. I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.
12. Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.
11. I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse.
10. I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.
9. I'd say it's been my biggest problem all my life... it's money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true.
8. It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
7. Laughter is America's most important export.
6. Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner.
5. Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.
4. The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.
3. There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.
2. We are not trying to entertain the critics. I'll take my chances with the public.
1. You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.