We all know Mickey Mouse and if you were told today that he was crowned by TV Guide as the most iconic animated character ever created, I believe you would nod your head in agreement. The same goes for the Disney World franchise. The creativity behind every part of these parks have earned them global renown as well as generated billions of dollars in revenue over the years. These facts lead to the question of the day: what exactly do you know about Mr. Walt Disney, the animated man?
Here, we intend to provide answers to the questions above using facts from Mr. Banks life and business ventures. These facts are accurate and would serve you well if writing a research paper on Walt Disney.
10 Fascinating Facts about Walt Disney
- The Alice Comedies, featuring a little girl, was Disney’s first comic movie . Although Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse were Walt Disney’s most iconic works which were his first to be well-received by the audience, the animator actually started his career trying to sell Alice Comedies in California. The animated series were picked up for distribution in 1923 and marked Walt Disney’s first foray into the world of entertainment.
- The Loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit paved way for Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney erroneously signed away the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to his first distributor. He discovered this error in 1927 when he tried to renew the distribution deal and this error led to two key decisions made by this young entrepreneur. First, he ensured he owned the rights on all further creations. Second, he developed a new character who eventually became the most successful animated hero ever – Mickey Mouse.
- Walt Disney Silly Symphonies won the first ever Academy Award for Cartoons. The Silly Symphonies was Disney’s second comic animated creation after Mickey Mouse, which gained mainstream popularity. In 1932, a short film featuring the Silly Symphonies went on to win the 1932 Oscars for animated cartoons. And this was the first time a category for cartoons was created by the Academy Awards. Walt Disney’s company—Disney Studios—went on to win the cartoon category for the next 10 years.
- Walt Disney received more Academy Awards and Nominations than anyone. Between the periods of 1932—when he won the first—to 1969, the animated man won 22 Oscars and was nominated record 59 times. In 1938, the Academy Awards recognized his efforts by presenting him with one normal-sized Oscar statuette and seven smaller ones which symbolized the seven dwarves in the Snow White storyline. The animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarves went on to impressive $8million dollars. It was a record for an animated film at the time of its release.
- Walt Disney was an active proponent of the Red Scare. The red scare was the term tagged to propaganda promoting the fear of communism in the United States circa 1920. Walt Disney became active in promoting the anti-communist views in 1940 and even spearheaded the creation of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals movement. The group’s primary objective was to promote the Red Scare through the blacklisting of Hollywood stakeholders who were believed to be communists.
- Walt Disney helped the war efforts through propaganda. During the Second World War, Disney turned to aiding the United States government by producing motion pictures serving as both training videos and propaganda films for the US. Some of the more notable films he created during this period after being asked by the state department, were filmed in South America and they included Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. The concentration on militaristic movies and training videos made it difficult for Disney Studios to resume the making of animation after the war ended.
- Walt Disney was a train fan. At a young age, Disney was enamored by trains which became the predominant means of transport in the 19th century. This fascination which held till his adult years was due to his uncle working as a train conductor and his habit of honking saluting the Disney’s household in his younger years. In adulthood, he built a miniature steam railroad at the back of his residence. His obsession about was well reflected in his first theme park, Disneyland.
- Disney had a strict no-facial hair policy. Although Disney kept a mustache, he developed what was called the Disney-look for employees to abide by. The most surprising of these policies was the banning of facial hair in his studios. This policy which lasted till the 70’s caused some controversy for it stopped famous guests—Jim McGuinn, a founder of the Byrd band—from visiting the studios. This dress code was also enforced at Disneyland in the early days.
- He gave his housekeeper Disney shares. Disney had a loyal housekeeper who served him for 30 years till his death. Disney generously gave her company shares as holiday bonuses which amounted to $9million dollars at her death in 1994. Embodying the generous spirit of her boss, Thelma Howard gave half of her fortune to charities and orphanages due to the fact that she grew up in poverty.
- Disney has been recognized in numerous ways. Walt Disney has been recognized for his ground breaking works in multiple ways. He has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame besides Mickey Mouse—the first animated character to get one. The character Wall-E as well as a minor planet—4017 Disney—were named after the animated man.
Here we come to the end of some fascinating facts on Walt Disney’s life, character and achievements. These facts were written to provide researchers with an insight into his life and they should serve as reference points when receiving the task to write an essay. For further reading on writing research papers on Walt Disney, we advise you to take advantage of this article covering 20 Disney research paper topics and receive some tips on structuring a research paper on Walt Disney.
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Schickel, R. (1968). The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney. 1st ed. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Clark, D. (2001). Walt Disney and Europe: European Influences on the Animated Feature Films of Walt Disney (review). The Lion and the Unicorn, 25(3), pp.427-432.
Fell, J. (1993). Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney Russell Merritt J. B. Kaufman. Film Quarterly, 46(4), pp.64-64.
Davis, A. (2014). Book review: Demystifying Disney: A History of Disney Feature Animation. Animation, 9(3), pp.355-358.
Bohas, A. (2014). Transnational Firms and the Knowledge Structure: The Case of the Walt Disney Company. Global Society, 29(1), pp.23-41.
Jackson, K. (2007). Babes in Tomorrowland: Walt Disney and the Making of the American Child by Nicholas Sammond and Multiculturalism and the Mouse: Race and Sex in Disney Entertainment by Douglas Brode. The Journal of American Culture, 30(1), pp.116-117.
Raiti, G. (2007). The Disappearance of Disney Animated Propaganda: A Globalization Perspective. Animation, 2(2), pp.153-169.