He sat at the top of the globe’s entertainment industry. His characters are well-known, and are everywhere.
Walter Elias Disney, known as Walt Disney, was more than an American magnate. He was an international icon in the field of animation, production, screenwriting, voice acting and entrepreneurship.
Today his brainchild, Walt Disney Company, celebrates its 90th anniversary. And the fascinating fact about his entertainment empire is that it all started with a mouse – Mickey Mouse.
“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known,” Walt Disney was quoted as saying of the cartoon that first appeared in November 18, 1928.
Throughout the years, Disney Company evolved and became an American diversified multinational mass media corporation. Based in Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, the company is described as the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue.
The company includes some of the big media brands – Disney, ESPN, ABC, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Also, there are several Walt Disney theme parks around the world, in Anaheim, California, a multi-park in Orlando, Florida, and other parks in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and another one underway in Shanghai.
Last year, Disney’s parks and resorts unit led the way among the company’s divisions in terms of percentage gains for both quarterly and annual profit and revenue. In the fourth quarter (July-September), the operating profit totalled $497 million, an 18 per cent increase from the year before, on a 9 per cent increase in revenue to $3.4 billion.
Asked about its success formula, a representative of Walt Disney Company told Gulf News, “I would say it is a little bit of a mix,” in reference to love, family entertainment and laugh. It is the “magic we are giving everyone through movies and parks. This is something unique.”
‘It is the magical world that it’s making us a big success,” the representative added.
While Disney, the source noted, is always looking for new opportunities, “there is nothing planned for the Middle East at the moment.”
Walt Disney Company is planning to do events and interaction with people on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to commemorate the 90th anniversary of a company established by what many described as an ‘American hero’.
Born in December 5, 1901 in Chicago to an Irish-Canadian Father, Elias Disney, and Flora Call Disney, who has German and English descent.
In 1917, Disney began his freshman year at high school in Chicago.
He also took night courses at the Chicago Art Institute and became the cartoonist of the school newspaper drawing “patriotic topics” at a time the world was passing through the First World War.
Disney established his own studio in Kansas and hired many animators, but for financial reasons it didn’t succeed.
He went with his brother, Roy, and set up another studio in the movie capital, Hollywood in California. There, Disney’s first character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was born. However, because of differences over the production budgets and owning the Oswald trademark, Disney found himself again starting from scratch. (After 78 years, Walt Disney Company won back the rights to the Oswald character from NBC universal.)
The rabbit was replaced by Mickey Mouse. Until 1947, it was Walt Disney that provided voice and personality to Mickey. One Disney employee said Walt gave Mickey’s “his soul.”
And surely Mickey returned by giving his animator, awards and golds, and most important a long-living work.