Known as one of the most influential and innovative figures in the field of 20th century entertainment, Walt Disney was an American film producer, animator and philanthropist. In reading an encyclopedia article about the life of Walt Disney, what strikes us most about him, as evidenced by the multitude and scope of his accomplishments, was his capacity to dream up a vision that had not previously existed; then, in the face of extraordinary obstacles to enacting his vision, move the vision forward until it was a newly created reality.
He first did this as an artist and animator, creating many famous cartoon characters including his own alter ego, Mickey Mouse. He created synchronizations of music, sound effects and voices along with the animation as entertaining shorts and eventually into the full-length film,Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, created from 1934 to1937. It was the highest grossing film of 1938 with revenues exceeding 8,000,000.
Not content with animation only, Disney went on to produce films with people as actors, developed his theme park ‘Disneyland’ and had his own TV show, (which Bonnett and I remember watching as kids).
He was a major donor to the California Institute of Technology and left one quarter of his estate to the school. He died of lung cancer at the age of 65 just a few years prior the opening of ‘Disney World’ in Orlando Florida.
“A man should never neglect his family for business.”
“All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.”
“I have no use for people who throw their weight around as celebrities, or for those who fawn over you just because you are famous.”
“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.”
“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”
“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.”
“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
“Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.”
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
“I do not like to repeat successes; I like to go on to other things.”
“When I was a kid, a book I read advised young artists to be themselves. That decided it for me. I was a corny kind of guy, so I went in for corn.”
– Walt Disney (1901-1966)
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