The much loved, and very clever, Walt Disney did not have an easy start before he became one of the most famous men in the world, with his name mentioned in almost every house in the world.
We all love Disney’s films and characters, from Mickey Mouse and Snow White to Bambi and the Lion King, but before he became a successful animator, voice actor, and film producer, winning twenty-two Oscars, Mr Disney faced many rejections.
Walt Disney was born on the 5 December 1901 in Chicago and was brought up in Missouri and later Kansas City. At the young age of five he began to show an interest in drawing and later moved on to using water colours and crayons. He had quite a talent, particularly for cartoon drawing.
In 1919, Disney had one of his first jobs working at the Kansas City Star newspaper but he was soon fired as he was told by the editor that he wasn’t creative enough and ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas!’
He then started up his company Laugh-O-Grams, an animation studio which unfortunately resulted in bankruptcy.
Poor Walt Disney – not a great start!
However, things started to improve in 1923 when he and his brother Roy moved to Hollywood and decided to set up a company drawing cartoons, known as Disney Productions. He began to create his characters – Mickey Mouse (who was originally named Mortimer Mouse), Snow White, and Pinocchio.
However, as much as we love these characters today, opinions were negative in Disney’s creations. Apparently, when Walt Disney attempted to persuade MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse, he was advised that a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women and children and wouldn’t work.
It has been reported that The Three Little Pigs was also rejected as it only had four characters and it was considered that there should be as many characters as possible in a cartoon.
On top of that, there are claims that the first audience of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs walked out halfway through a first screening, and the making of Pinocchio cost so much more than budgeted that it lost a million dollars on its first release.
The final cherry on top has to be that when Walt Disney came up with his idea for the character-based family theme park – Disney Land, apparently he was turned down over three hundred times by investors and banks, who considered the idea a complete no go.
All I can is well done Walt and thanks for your perseverance – many children’s lives and memories wouldn’t be the same without you!