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Walt Elias Disney is presently known as one of the most famous icons of the 20th century. Disney transformed the entertainment industry into what it is known as today. Walt Disney was a very creative, perseverant man. David Low, a British political cartoonist, called Disney "the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo" (Disney.go.com). Although he is no longer with us, his company still creates the magical and enchanting cartoons and movies the same way Disney himself would have made them. Disney is known for creating the infamous Disney World theme parks and animated cartoons that turned the movie industry upside down. All together, the Walt Disney Company has created hundreds of feature films, animated shorts, and thousands of characters. It is immediately obvious that Walt Disney revolutionized the entertainment industry with his vast collection of animated films, characters, and even his theme parks.

Walt Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5th, 1901 and always had a passion for art. His family moved from place to place many times when he was young, but eventually Walt moved back to Chicago and attended McKinley High School. Disney was a predominant part of the school newspaper, constantly creating cartoons and he constantly photographed school events. Disney wanted to become a cartoonist, and studied cartooning during his free time. He was eventually interrupted in this, once he was drafted for the army during World War I. When he returned to the United States, Disney met Ub Iwerks, who together started their own small studio in 1922. They created cartoons to be distributed as trailers for local movie theatres and also created a pilot film for a series of seven-minute fairy tales that used live action and animation which they called “Alice in Cartoonland.” Walt Disney eventually filed bankruptcy and ended up moving to Hollywood to once again try to create his own small studio. The rest is history.

Walt ended up creating more and more innovative characters at his new studio, including the world-famous Mickey Mouse. A quote from Walt Disney himself, "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse" (JustDisney.com). However, Mickey was originally created to be named Steamboat Willie, and was featured in his first self-titled animated short in 1928. This was the first synchronized sound cartoon in the world, and was an instant success. Disney was in constant demand to create new, innovative cartoons, and he did just that. Over the next 9 years, Disney created more and more successes, his 1932 animated short film “Flowers and Trees” even won an academy award. Disney would not rest until he created his dream: a feature-length animated film. In 1937, his dream came to reality. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released and was admired by critics and viewers everywhere. From here on out, the Walt Disney Company began shifting their focus to feature-length films, rather than animated short. Over the next decade, Disney released more and more box office successes including “Pinocchio”, “Dumbo”, “Bambi”, “Alice in Wonderland”, and more. The Walt Disney Company couldn’t seem to get any bigger, until 1955 when Walt’s dream of a clean amusement park for all ages opened. Disneyland is arguably one of the most monumental moments of Walt Disney’s life. However, his success could not be enjoyed for very long when Walt Disney died of lung cancer on December 15, 1966.

Walt Disney is famous because of the historical leaps and bounds he made for the entertainment industry with both his animated shorts and his feature-length films. He broke the mold of animation, including the first synchronized sound animated short “Steamboat Willie”, or the first feature-length film to be done entirely with animation “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The magic and imagination that he put into his work is simply astounding, and has been transferred into the minds of children everywhere. As was once said after Walt Disney’s death, “His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideas which his name represents: imagination, optimism and self-made success in the American tradition” (norsknettskole.no). Imagine a childhood without the creativeness of Walt Disney and the cartoons his company released. Disney also is remembered today for his theme parks that continue to expand to areas all around the world. As Walt once said, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world" (JustDisney.com).

Walt Disney was imaginative, perseverant, and humorous, and placed all of the traits of his personality into his cartoons and animation. “Disney's imagination and energy, his whimsical humor, and his gift for being attuned to the vagaries of popular taste inspired him to develop well-loved amusements for “children of all ages” throughout the world” (Biography.com). Walt Disney followed his dreams, whether it was creating the first synchronized sound animation, the first feature-length film done entirely with animation, or the fulfillment of creating his own theme park, he never gave up. Walt Disney was also a genius in marketing and an excellent businessman. “His achievement as a creator of entertainment for an almost unlimited public and as a highly ingenious merchandiser of his wares can rightly be compared to the most successful industrialists in history” (Biography.com). His personality and ability to create new ideas helped to escalate the Walt Disney Company into one of the most famous entertainment companies in the world.

Walt Disney is a prominent example of the American Dream. Walt Disney started off the Walt Disney Company with no money, no big-shot connections around Hollywood, absolutely nothing but his creativity and a simple idea. That idea was to create animation and cartoons for the world to love. Walt Disney didn’t care if he made a lot of money off his cartoons, he just wanted to keep doing what he loved: to make animation. Disney once said, "You reach a point where you don't work for money" (JustDisney.com). Even when it came to funding the construction of his theme parks, he gave up all of his money just so his animations would carry over to be loved by the next several generations for years to come. As Disney once commented about the construction of Disneyland, "It's no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment” (JustDisney.com). Walt Disney represents the hard-working, perseverant American, and a lot can be learned from studying his life. “Through his work, he brought joy, happiness and a universal means of communication to the people of every nation. Certainly, our world shall know but one Walt Disney” (norsknettskole.no).




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