In celebration of the end of school, I decided to post a paper I wrote during the school year. It is personally one of my favorite essays I have ever written as it is on a subject I find most diverting. Enjoy:
Walt Disney: A Master Storyteller
Today, Walt Disney’s name is known around the world. He personally oversaw twenty-five animated films, inspired twenty-five more, created plans for four major theme parks, and brought to the world a beloved character, Mickey Mouse. His works are their own testament to his impact on the entertainment business.
As a young man in need of a job, Walt found at a film company in Kansas City. Walt was fascinated with the animation process. He and his brother, Roy Disney, created their own company called Laugh-O-Grams. Their five-minute cartoons became wildly popular with audiences, Walt’s first triumph in show business. In 1923, Walt followed Roy to California with nothing more than $40 dollars in his pocket and a dream to create something the world would remember for centuries. In Hollywood, Walt produced and sold over sixty “Alice” films, which featured a live actress in a cartoon world. Six new films, with a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, were ordered. Walt was very proud of his creation. When he learned he was being double-dealt and that Oswald was being taken away, Walt decided he would create a character like Oswald to star in new films. When Walt showed his creation to his new wife, Lillian Bounds, she agreed that it was even better than Oswald, but that the name should be “Mickey.” So Mickey it was.
Mickey became popular immediately. With these funds, Walt created cartoons completely separate from Mickey. One, Flowers and Trees, even won an Academy Award, Walt’s first of many. Although Walt was pleased with this success, he wanted to do something big. While many rejected the idea of a 90-minute animated film, Walt decided to take a leap of faith and create a movie. Disney Studios spent seven years and created the first full-length animated film in Technicolor: Snow White. The hard work that went into the movie paid off when it released in 1937 and became America’s favorite film. The technical advancements he made forced the rest of the industry to change as well.
When Japanese airplanes fired on Pearl Harbor. Disney was ready to support America’s fight. They created ads, characters, and films for the government, urging citizens to do their part. During the war, Disney only produced one animated film during this time, Bambi. This acclaimed classic reminded people of the joys and losses of the war, making Disney a name for itself during the war years. When the war finally ended, Disney picked up where he left off. After a lot of hard work, Cinderella was released in 1950 and brought back Disney’s former glory. More technical advancements were made, this time with special effects that would later be used in The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians.
Walt realized that the new invention of television was perfect for his future plans. Walt began to campaign television networks and companies. ABC willingly took Disney. As his show gained favor, so did ABC. In this way, Walt helped build up television, which he took further with color television in the 60s.
In 1955, Walt opened the gates of his new project, Disneyland, to thousand of guests, while millions watched from home. Disneyland topped any amusement at that time and displayed Walt’s superior skill.
As Walt once again created movies, other companies tried to reproduce his techniques, with little to no success. Walt saw that live-action films were growing popular and made his mark featuring exotic locations and exciting stories.
Through it all, Walt made an impact on the world as an artist, an entertainer, and a master storyteller. Even after his death, Walt’s legacy lives on. As Walt once said: “I just want to leave you with this thought- that it’s just been a sort of dress rehearsal and we’re just getting started. So if any of you start resting on your laurels, I mean just forget it, because…we are are just getting started.”