It's a wonderful world and we all have experienced a part of it.
It began with a big imagination and a little mouse. Then, the mouse needed a friend, a loyal companion, even a sweetheart. After that his world got bigger, more creative and lots of fun.
Do you know these characters? I'll bet you do. They are none other than Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto the dog, Minnie mouse and all of the other amazing results of the imagination of an extraordinary man named Walt Disney.
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5th, 1901 in Chicago Illinois. He grew up on a farm with his parents, one sister and three brothers. Walt became interested in drawing at an early age and when he was only seven years old, he sold some of his sketches to the neighbours. In high school he continued his interest in drawing and discovered photography as well.
In 1918 he tried to join the military but was rejected because he was only 16, too young to go to fight a war. Instead, he joined the Red Cross, was sent overseas, and spent a year driving an ambulance.
He returned home safely to the United Stated and began a career as an advertising cartoonist. In 1923 Walt moved to Hollywood with little money and lots of imagination. He and his Brother Roy started a company called Disney Brothers Studio. The name was changed to Walt Disney Studios and history was made. Walt married Lillian Bounds, an employee of his company on July 13, 1925 and they had two daughters named Diane and Sharon.
His first successful animated character was created in 1927. This was Oswald the Lucky Bunny. Walt worked hard at his art and perfected a new method of combining live action and animation. He had a talented group of animators working for him. Unfortunately, his Oswald cartoon and most of his artists were stolen by a competing studio. His feelings were very hurt by this betrayal and he was very secretive about his new character, the one and only Mickey Mouse. He created him while on a train ride and originally named him Mortimer Mouse.
From that first little adventuresome mouse came lots of cartoon movies about him and his many little animated friends. Walt had many other successes such as the very first cartoon with sound called Steamboat Willy and the very first colour cartoon called Flowers and Trees. His first feature length animated movie was Snow White, followed by Pinnochio, Fantasia, Cinderella, Bambi, Dumbo and many more. He moved into live action movies with Treasure Island, Twenty thousand Leagues under the Sea, Mary Poppins and the list goes on. We've all seen them, or many of them, and eighty or so years later, the studio is still coming up with great ideas.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland, two more of his great ideas, have created a whole new kind of family entertainment.
Walt was a very talented man and always tried to improve his skills even when he was already considered the best. Because of his great efforts and achievements he is considered the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo da Vinci.
Sadly, He died of lung cancer on December 15th, 1966 but still a touch of magic was left behind and that was his big imagination and a little mouse.