It all started with a mouse.

One of by biggest passions is Disney. I wanted to share this with people and the way I thought to do that’s was to go thought a timeline of Disney from the movies to that parks and everything in between starting in 1920 and ending in 2016. However I can’t start this timeline without telling you about the man who started it Walt Disney. So in this post I will be telling you I all about Walt and his early years including the years 1920 to 1936. So I hope you enjoy the beginning of the Disney journey. 

Walt Disney was born on 5th December 1901 in Chicago but grew up on a family farm in marceline, Missouri. At a young age he loved to draw cartoons, dress up in costumes and entertain people. His mother taught him how to read but didn’t send him to school till he was seven so he could go with his younger sister. 

Walt had many jobs growing up including newsboy and news butcher (selling papers and refreshments to passengers during train trips.) when he was sixteen he tried to join the navy with his brother Roy but was turned down due to his age. Walt later served as a driver in the Red Cross ambulance corps in France in the aftermath of World War One for 10 months. Once his truck broke down and he stayed awake for two days and two nights guarding the cargo.

When Walt returned home he and brother Roy went to Kansas City and this is where Walt got his fist job in animation.

192o: Walt worked for a newspaper in Kansas City and with the money he made he brought a motion picture camera called the universal. 

1921: Walt made the first laugh-o-gram for newmans theatre which you can watch here

1922: Walt made another laugh-o-gram of jack and the beanstalk. He wanted to move beyond “filler” shorts and produce animated films for movie theatres. What followed was seven modernised cartoon adaptations of fairy tales but the studio went bankrupt. 

1923: Walt and Roy decided to become business partners so Disney brothers cartoon studio formed. Walts first project was the Alice comedies. These were a series of silent animated shorts that put a live action girl in an animated world. Walt animated the first seven Alice comedies by himself and directed the live action parts. The first of the Alice comedies was realised on December 26 1923 and was called Alice’s day at the sea. There was seven Alice films between 1923 and 1927.

1927: universal pictures asked disney’s distributor Charles Mintz for a new cartoon staring a rabbit. Charles turned to Walt who gave sketches for a rabbit called Oswald the lucky rabbit. Oswald became so popular that he sparked the first Disney merchandise. Disney felt secure in asking for money in order to continue to imporve the story and animation. However when Walt had a meeting with Charles in New York Charles informed Walt that he had hired all of the animators away and the rights to Oswald did not belong to him they belonged to universal. Walt refused to make any deals to carry on with Oswald so he left the character behind. 


On the train ride back to California from New York Walt dreamed up a character of a little mouse and named him Mortimer. Walt’s wife thought the name was. Too pompous and suggested Mickey. 

1928: Mickey was unveiled in 1928 in plane crazy. Then came the second Mickey animation The Gallopin’ gaucho. However the “talkies” era had started so Walt dropped everything to begin the third Mickey animation Steamboat Willie. With music and sound effects that were synchronised to Mickey’s antics aboard a river boat. Walt screened Steamboat Willie for the New York exhibitor but it didn’t attract much interest. However the manger if the colony theatre in New York agreed to screen it. Mickey was an overwhelming success and became an overnight sensation. 

You can watch steamboat Willie here;

1929: Walt Disney’s drive to improve animation lead way fro the silly symphonies spending from 1932 to 1934. Originally the shorts were to have inanimate objects coming to life to the life rhythm of the soundtrack but ther evolved in to something else. The first silly symphony was the skeleton dance. This animated musical was unlike anything of the time. This was followed by the ugly duckling (1931), flowers and tress (1932), the three little pig (1933) and. The wise little hen (1934). The series dominated the academy awards winning best animated short film every year. However they were faded out in 1939.

1935: Mickey Mouse The band concert was released .

1936: Mickey Mouse thru the mirror was released.

Well that’s it for now. In my next post in the Disney time line I will be diving in the 1937 and the release of Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Hope you enjoyed this post and while be back for the next one. 


6 thoughts on “It all started with a mouse.”

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