via Old Time Radio Downloads

via Old Time Radio Downloads

It is very rare that an individual comes along that not only changes the world but the lives of those he is in touch with. Even rarer is that many of the lives touched by those individuals are changed as well. Walt Disney had that effect on the world and the people he knew. He is one of the biggest names on the planet and lived the life you expect.

With very few controversies surrounding the man, and the ones that exist are a product of his time, Walt was known for his big heart as much as for his big ideas. Those ideas were unfathomable when he brought them to the table, but they now seem to be an inevitable part of our world.

via unisci24

via unisci24

Now that his company has grown to staggering heights with the acquisition of the Marvel and Star Wars universes you would expect that it would veer off the path that Walt set in place almost a century ago. But that isn’t the case. Walt’s company has stayed true to his visions and as they adapted to a world that even Walt couldn’t imagine – they have not strayed from his path.

It almost feels as if Walt walks among us today. His company is generally well respected with very minor issues popping up from time to time. It isn’t just a good PR campaign that keeps Disney in the hearts of young and old alike, it is the true belief that there is some sort of magic out there and all we have to do is capture it. The facts on the following slides tell the story of Walt and his world. Don’t go in looking for drama as there is very little, instead, you will feel just a bit closer to the man that likely created a big part of your childhood memories.

25. High School Drop Out

via Crazywebsite

via Crazywebsite

Walk Disney dropped out of high school at the age of 16 hoping to join the United States Army. Because of his age he was turned down. Looking to make an impact, he continued his search, drawing patriotic cartoons for his school newspaper, and ended up as an ambulance driver in France working for the Red Cross. There are plenty of stories about successful drop outs, but this is one fact that most kids should probably not be told.

24. Mickey Mouse’s Voice

via I Can has Pixie Dust

via I Can has Pixie Dust

Mickey Mouse was born in 1928 and while he was well animated, he did not yet have a voice. For almost 20 years, until 1947, Walt Disney himself was the voice of the iconic face of the Disney empire. Since then, the voice actors have mimicked that iconic start that Walt gave his most famous creation.

23. Always the Artist

via Walt Disney

via Walt Disney

Walt grew up on a farm in Missouri and had few subjects to practice his artistic talents on. He did find that his neighbor’s horses were perfect for practicing. This lead to many cartoon drawings of the horses while he was still very young, likely leading to the overwhelming popularity of animals as the cast of Disney characters.

22. Laugh-O-Gram

via Disney Finds

via Disney Finds

Walt started an animation studio called Laugh-O-Gram where he would animate modernized retellings of Aesop’s Fables. While the company went bankrupt, Disney continued on and that foundation is prevalent throughout most of the popular movies Disney made. Almost all of the films released by the company are based on a fairy tale of some sort, or a legend, but it all started with that bankrupted company that Walt tried to get off the ground.

21. The Unlucky Rabbit

via Disney Detail

via Disney Detail

While some may still think that Mickey Mouse is the first character Disney created, it was actually Oswald the Lucky Rabbit that Walt drew while working under contract for Universal Pictures. When Walt left Universal, he was not able to keep the rights to Oswald which ultimately led to the creation of Mickey Mouse. If it wasn’t for Universal, the face of Disney may have been a rabbit.

20. Mortimer Mouse

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

After first drawing his famous mouse, Walt wanted to call Mickey, Mortimer Mouse. Disney’s wife thought the name sounded too pompous. Walt was an intelligent man and listened to his wife who gave him the name Mickey instead. Mortimer was not lost to Disney though as the rival mouse in some Mickey episodes was named Mortimer Mouse. Thank you for the renaming Mrs. Disney.

19. Academy Awards

via Oscars.org

via Oscars.org

Walt Disney had been nominated for more Academy Awards than anyone else in history – a total of 59 times. He also won 22 Academy Awards between 1932 and 1969. The awards had a wide variety of categories as the Disney company and name grew, and to this day Walt himself is still the record holder for nominations.

18. Snow White Award

via Pinterest

 

For his work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Walt Disney received one regular sized and seven smaller sized statues at the 1938 Oscars. This was one of the more entertaining ways to award Disney for his work and stuck with his overall light-hearted appeal to the public.

17. The Red Scare

via Disney History Institution

via Disney History Institution

Disney was a strong proponent during the Red Scare in the 1940s. He strongly believed that those on strike were part of a communist plot and Walt himself was the founder of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. He also helped locate rumored communists in Hollywood and would testify against labor organizers as he felt they were all working for the communist ideals.

16. Absentee Mothers

via The State Historical Society of Missouri

via The State Historical Society of Missouri

In many Disney animated films, the mother dies early on in the story. Bambi is one of the most notable examples and the theory behind this is the fact that he felt responsible for his own mother’s death. Once Snow White skyrocketed Disney’s success he purchased a new home for his folks. While the intentions were beautiful, a broken heating system lead to his mother’s death due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Now all the tragedy in Disney movies makes a bit more sense. Above is a picture of Walt’s mother Flora and sister Ruth when he was 9 years old.

15. His Own Place in Space

via Could This Happen

via Could This Happen

On February 21, 1980, a Soviet astronomer by the name of Lyudmila Karachkina found a main belt Asteroid and named it 4017 Disneya in honor of Walt Disney. It travels between Mars and Jupiter and had its closest approach to Earth in June 2010.

14. First Name Basis

via Align Thoughts

via Align Thoughts

Walt despised being called Mr. Disney so much that he made it a rule that all Disneyland employees have only their first name listed on their name tags.

13. The Big Show

via Variety

via Variety

Walt wanted nothing more than to create a feature-length animated film based on the story of Snow White. He was blasted and doubted for this idea, as Hollywood called the project “Disney’s Folly.” Upon release, though, Walt proved that he was a visionary. The film earned over $8 million US during its original release, which is equivalent to over $130 million today, when adjusted for inflation. To this day the film is ranked as number 50 in income, making over $400 million. Many of the films above it (most actually) are Disney productions as well, with Frozen and Toy Story 3 taking spot 1 and 3 respectively.

12. Disneyland Was Born from Boredom

via Imgur

via Imgur

The story goes that Walt was watching his children ride a merry-go-round in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park when he realized that he was not having the same level of fun that his children were. He was actually fairly bored. This gave him the idea to create an amusement park that would be enjoyable for adults and children alike. At this point, if you visit Disneyland’s Opera House you can find the park bench he was sitting on when the idea for one of the most iconic amusement parks in the world was born.

11. Living on Main Street

via Hi Ho Vacations

via Hi Ho Vacations

Walt had no trouble affording housing of his own, but he kept an apartment above the firehouse on Main Street in Disneyland. While he would spend nights there when he needed, he was just as likely to stay there during the days. He loved to people watch and it gave him a perfect vantage point of visitors. To this day, the apartment is just as it was when he was still alive. A few pieces of furniture have been replaced, but all of his papers are left where they were and can still be seen on his desk.

10. Hot Dog!

via Fanpop

via Fanpop

If you have kids you have likely heard the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song “Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog…” But have you ever thought about why the words “Hot Dog” are so common amongst Disney Characters? It is actually because hot dogs were an important part of Disney’s world. The first words ever spoken by an animated Disney character were “Hot Dog!” and trash cans at Disney World were placed 25 steps from any hot dog stand since that is the amount of time it took Walt to eat a hot dog.

9. A Bit of a Conservative

via Theme Park Tourist

via Theme Park Tourist

The times were different for Walt and he had policies in place that we scoff at today. Keep in mind that the world he lived in and the world we live in now were two totally different places as far as ideas about appearance and acceptance go. It took until 2012 for employees to be allowed to grow facial hair, but even to this day it has to be ¼ inch or shorter. The policy was extended to guests until 1970. Men with beards, mustaches or long hair were kicked out of the park and women wearing halter tops faced the same fate. While this is somewhat unusual already, what makes it even stranger is the fact that Walt had a mustache since he was 25 years old.

8. Legal Monopoly

via Indiewire

via Indiewire

For a few years in the 30’s Walt held the exclusive contract for Technicolor, which was the only way in which animated films could be made in color. This ensured that Disney was the only company that could put out animated full-color films legally for those years in which he held the exclusivity. Of course, that didn’t last long, but a monopoly over a type of property or technology like that has rarely, if ever, happened since.

7. Disney Princess Proportions

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

While much has been said about many of the Disney Princess’ perfect bodies, they weren’t drawn that way to appeal to a certain demographic. In fact, they were based on a real-life model named Sherri Stoner. She was the inspiration for Ariel and Belle and did much of the movements and modeling that Disney animators used to create the signature style of their movies. Sherri Stoner was also a writer and producer for Animaniacs, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.

6. Disney World Tunnels

via Messy Nessy Chic

via Messy Nessy Chic

After Disneyland became such a success, Walt noticed one issue which gave him headaches; characters running through the wrong lands to get to their destination. He did not want to break the magic of having costumed characters, such as Belle, run through a world designed for Ariel, so he created an elaborate tunnel system in the Florida based park to ensure that characters only appeared where they were meant to. This helps keep the illusion of the characters from shattering. In addition, it meant the entire park had to be built on a gentle incline to accommodate the tunnels.

5. Character Rules

via Breaking The Internet Daily

via Breaking The Internet Daily

For those that play characters in the theme parks, there are a number of strict rules they must follow. This isn’t just to ensure the characters all act the same, but also because he wanted the world to feel magical and gentle. There is no sitting down or breaking character, the word “No” can never be used, and if asked for directions, an actor cannot use a single finger to point in the direction as it can be seen as rude. If you ever watch the actors carefully, you’ll notice they use sweeping gestures or a nod of their head to direct guests of the park.

4. His Housekeeper Was Worth a Fortune

via CNN Money

via CNN Money

Walt had a live-in housekeeper for 30 years named Thelma Howard. Each year, her holiday bonus would be shares of the Disney company. At the time it seemed like a nice gesture, but it was in 1994 that her estate found out just how nice of a gesture it was. She died that year, and half of her estate, which was worth $9 million USD, went to her son, while the rest went to help the homeless and disadvantaged. This was because of the fact that she grew up in extreme poverty. This is just another way that Walt touched the lives of so many people just because of the good deeds that he did for them. They in turn, passed it on.

3. The Giving Soul of Walt

via CalArts.edu

via CalArts.edu

When Walt died he had quite the estate to leave to his family. But 25% of it was passed on to CalArts to help the private university grow. Alumni from the now prestigious school include John Lasseter, Tim Burton, Don Cheadle, Alison Brie, Paul Reubens, Ed Harris, David Hasselhoff, Katey Sagal, Sofia Coppola, and Stephen Hillenburg to name just a few. Many of the named graduates have worked for Walt’s company at some point in their career, and many more unnamed alumni have been integral in the growth of the company. Walt made an investment in the future of people and it obviously paid off.

2. Frozen

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While many still believe that Walt was cryogenically frozen to be reawakened when the time was right, or had his head frozen for some reason, the rumors are completely false. The truth of the matter is after his death he was cremated and his ashes were buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. The rumors can be exciting when Walt is involved, but most are simply false. It does say something about our desire to have the visionary walk among us again. With that said, though, it is safe to say that Walt would be proud of his company as it has done a great job of following the visions that he clearly set out while he was alive. May he rest in peace.

1. His Last Words

via Disney Baby

via Disney Baby

There has been a constant “fact” that Kurt Russel was the last thing Walt wrote down before his death. In fact, in 2007, Kurt Russel even confirmed his belief in the rumor on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. It turns out that it isn’t true. No one knows what his last words were. The rumor started because Walt was working up until his death and had a paper on his desk with the names “Ron Miller – 2 Way Down Cellar” and “2. Kirt (sp) Russell 3. CIA—Mobley (sic)” written in his signature red grease pencil. These were actually just notes about upcoming live action shows or films and Kurt Russel had just signed on to work for Disney Productions and it seemed Disney liked the young man a great deal. Another mystery put to rest.

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