By Sam H. and Katie M.
Did you know that Oswald the Rabbit was Walt Disney’s first creation? Would you guess that Steamboat Willie was not Mickey Mouse’s first appearance? Walt Disney is full of surprises…
Walter Elias Disney was born December 5 in Chicago, Illinois 1901. His parents were Elias Disney and Flora Call Disney. Walt Disney moved around quite a bit during his childhood. He moved to a family farm in Missouri and his two older brothers ran away while on the farm. He also had a younger sister named Ruth. The farm failed after 4 years. Disney then moved to Kansas City, where his father bought a newspaper distributor. He enlisted Walt and his brother, Roy, as paper boys.
Disney and his brothers were frequently beaten by their dad, who often lost his temper. When Walt was ten, Roy left home. When Roy left, Walt was lonely. He created imaginary characters with pen and paper. When he moved to Chicago, he was the junior art editor for the school newspaper. At age sixteen, Walt volunteered as a driver for the American Red Cross ambulance corps. He ended up driving more trucks than ambulances, because the war ended.
After the war he went to Chicago then went to Kansas City, where Roy was working as a banker. While in Kansas, he learned how to do basic animation which started his career in animation and TV shows.
Walt Disney founded the animation and entertainment empire which still bears his name. He began as a cartoonist in the 1920s, creating Mickey Mouse and eventually moving from short films into much-acclaimed animated features like Snow White.
The birth of Mickey Mouse occurred on a cross-country train ride in early 1928. Walt was returning from a business meeting along with his wife. At the age of 26, and with an active cartoon studio in Hollywood, Walt had set out to arrange for a new contract for his creation, Oswald the Rabbit, but the backers turned him down. As they owned the copyright, they took control, leaving Walt with nothing. He was preparing to announce the unpleasant news to workers back home but instead, Walt gave birth to a mouse, called Mickey.
In 1928, Walt Disney began work on his third Mickey Mouse cartoon, this time a talkie, entitled, "Steamboat Willie." To add sound to the film, Walt had to take the animated portion to New York since West Coast studios did not have the equipment. Mickey Mouse, originally a theater animation, appeared on the big screen for the first time on November 18, 1928,
According to legend, Disney planned to name the mouse "Mortimer" until his wife suggested the name of Mickey... Mickey's longtime girlfriend is Minnie Mouse and his dog is named Pluto...
Gross, Daniel. Forbes: Greatest Business Stories of all Time.