Forty-second installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
I don’t know about how it is with everybody else, but I can surely remember what my favorite reading material was when I was just learning how to read. It was comic books. And although later on I would come to love some classic comic books characters in movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman…) at that time it wasn’t those characters that made my imagination fly. It was characters created by a man and his close associates.
Yes, I grew-up reading Walt Disney comic books and absolutely enthralled by that world of fantasy which has a lot to do with who I am today.
Walter Elias Disney was born in Chicago (IL) December 05, 1901. His father was an Irish-Canadian farmer that in 1906 settled in a town called Marceline in Missouri. As a rather interesting curiosity, Walt father married his mother in a town called Acron in Florida, just 40 miles where Walt Disney World would be located.
The family moved back to Chicago in 1917 and Walt joined the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts where he became the school newspaper cartoonist. Later on, Walter worked as an ambulance driver in France for the Red Cross, after the armistice of World War I.
He began his artistic career at the Pesmen-Rubi Art Studio creating advertisements for newspapers, magazines and movie theaters. He formed a short-lived company that didn’t work out and went to Kansas City to try earning some money. There he found a job at the Kansas City Film Ad Company where he made commercials based on cut-out animation. Because of that, Diney became interested in animation and decided to become an animator. He read a book about celluloid animation and decided it was a most promising field than cut-out animation. He decided to set-up his own animation studio in Hollywood and the rest as they say, is pretty much entertainment history.
The Disney studio created a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit which he lost to Universal due to economic reasons. He even lost all his animators.
He needed a character to substitute Oswald and decided to create one based on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while still working in Kansas City. Thus was born Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney managed to create a cartoon with sound for him called Steamboat Willie and with his quick success came other cartoons and other characters like Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto.
From 1934 to 1937, Disney worked in producing a full-length animation and released Snow White and the Seven Dwarves the first animated feature made in Technicolor. This was followed by other successes like Peter Pan, Pinocchio and Fantasia.
In 1955 Walt Disney opened an amusement park in Anaheim (CA) called Disneyland and ten years later another in Orlando (FL) called Disneyworld along with the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) Center. Sadly, one year later, Walt Disney died of lung cancer.
Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of the Carl Barks (already enshrined in the Hall) duck characters (and all its ramifications), but they wouldn’t have reached such a wide audience if it wasn’t for Disney. And I did spend countless hours reading their stories. I remember one time when I was up all night reading only Donald Duck comics. My mother had to tell me to go to sleep.
I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’ve been three times to Disneyworld (the last time some 23 years ago) and I can safely say is really a place where dreams come true regardless of your age. What started with reading a book and a little mouse became a vast entertainment empire that today includes even ESPN and Industrial Light and Magic. Is that enough for you?
Therefore, Mr. Walt Disney, you, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and everybody else, are much welcomed to the Hall Of Idols.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.
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