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Fantasy is one thing in a child’s life that he doesn’t let go even when he grows older surrounded by bitter truths of life. This very word, fantasy was charmingly shaped into a magical world by Walt Disney. The man who believed, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”.
The kid Walt Disney used to draw pictures of animals and sold some of his early sketches to his neighbours (aha! signsof a young entrepreneur!!!). This little kid had another fascination, listening to an approaching train’s sounds by putting his ears close to the train tracks. Later, he tried to recapture the freedom he felt while doing this by playing with his toy trains.
He attended the McKinley High school. He did simultaneously work in drawing, photography and managing the school paper. Also he attended the Academy of Fine arts at the same time. In these young days, he developed a deep rooted love for nature, family and wildlife.
After moving to Kansas, he discovered his knack for acting too. He would often entertain his fellow mates by imitating the famous Charlie Chaplin. His teacher’s encouraged his art by calling him in front of the class to help illustrate stories. He later also used to perform comical skits in local theatres.
At the age of 16, he tried to enlist for the military but was rejected for being underage. He joined the Red Cross and was sent to France for his service. It is said that he drew cartoons on the ambulances that made everyone feel cheery!!!
On his return from France, he pursued his love for his art and started working on it. He started with producing short animated films in Kansas City. It so happened with this young Walt that by the time he had started to create The Alice Comedies, which was about a real girl and her adventures in an animated world, his company Laugh-O-Gram became bankrupt. He did not give up. He instead headed for the Hollywood. All this, at the age of twenty two. His first work, Plane Crazy, was never launched as he created a muted cartoon and by that time, animation with sound had come in the industry.
He married Lillian, one of his first employees in the year 1925. Three years later came Mickey Mouse!!! This cute mouse in his red shorts won the hearts of every child soon.
Technicolor was introduced to animation during the production of his Silly Symphonies Cartoon Features. Walt Disney held the patent for Technicolor for two years, allowing him to make the only colour cartoons. In 1932, the production entitled Flowers and Trees won Walt the first of his studio’s Academy Awards. In 1937, he released The Old Mill, the first short subject to utilize the multi-plane camera technique. Snow white and the seven dwarfs, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Pinocchio and many other all time favourites of all kids were his creations. In 1940, construction was completed on the Burbank Studio, and Disney’s staff swelled to more than 1,000 artists, animators, story men, and technicians.
The wonderful “Disneyland” is a great tribute to this man who brought laughter and magic in the world of every child and adult alike with his creations.
This great man said “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” Next time you see Mickey Mouse or his many brothers, know the man who fathered them is one of the greatest examples of a true artist.