The History And Evolution Of The Walt Disney Company

Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris.

The Walt Disney Company is a diversified US entertainment conglomerate and multinational mass media company commonly known as just Disney. The company's headquarters are located in Burbank, California at the Walt Disney Studios. Walt Disney is the second largest media group in the world (after Comcast) in regards to revenue.

The History Of Walt Disney

On October 16th, 1923, Disney was founded as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios by two brothers Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney. In early 1923, Walt Disney an animator from Kansas City, Missouri created a short film dubbed "Alice in Wonderland", featuring a small girl whose role was played by Virginia Davis, a child actress who was socializing with animated characters in the film. Following the bankruptcy of Walt Disney's previous firm known as Laugh-O-Gram Studios in 1923, he decided to move to Hollywood and join Roy O. Disney, his brother. Margaret J. Winkler a film distributor and owner of the M.J. Winkler Productions offered to distribute a whole series of the Alice Comedies provided that Disney would come as a production partner. In that same year Walt and Roy established the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio where they produced more animated movies after Alice. The Disney studio which was under construction on Hyperion Street was completed in January 1926, and its name was changed to The Walt Disney Studios.

The Debut Of Mickey Mouse

In February 1928, Walt lost the Oswald's series contract, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a cartoon series that Disney had been working on after the demise of the Alice comedies. To recover from that loss, later that year Disney conceived an idea about a mouse whose character he named Mortimer, while on a train en route to California. Mortimer was later renamed Mickey Mouse because Disney's wife, Lillian, did not find Mortimer mouse to be appealing. Steamboat Willie was released on November 18th, 1929, and was Disney's first sound film and cartoon starring Mickey. Steamboat Willie was yet another milestone accomplished by Disney since it was the first cartoon that featured synchronized sound therefore becoming an immediate success and a smash hit.

Following a series of cartoon productions, Disney created the Silly Symphonies series in conjunction with Columbia Pictures who signed as the distributor of the series in August 1929. In September 1929, the Mickey Mouse Club was formed following the approval from Walt Disney. Later that year Walt Disney studios partnership was restructured as a corporation with the name changing to Walt Disney Productions, Limited which included the Disney film recording company, an investment company for real estate holdings, a merchandising division, limited and Liled Realty and Walt Disney Enterprises and two subsidiaries.

The Technicolor Era

Disney signed an exclusive contract with Technicolor which featured the production of cartoons in colors starting with trees and flowers. From 1928 to 1930, Disney produced cartoons through Powers Celebrity Pictures while from 1930 to 1932 they used Columbia Pictures and the United Artists from 1932 to 1937. Since Mickey Mouse had gained so much popularity Disney was able to plan for his first feature-length film.

The First Feature- Length Animation

In 1934, Disney began the production of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs which was his first feature length animated film premiering in December 1937 to become the highest grossing film during that time. Disney used the profits from the film to finance the construction of a new studio complex stretching about 51 acres in Burbank, California where the current headquarters of Walt Disney's Studios is located to this date.

Disney Land

In 1954, Walt used his Disney series to showcase what Disney Land would become. Walt came up with the idea for Disney Land out of the desire for a place where both children and their parents could enjoy themselves and have fun at the same time. Disney Land was officially opened to the general public by Walt Disney on July 18th, 1935. Currently the Walt Disney Company operates on 4 main business units which include The Walt Disney Studios, Parks and Resorts, Media networks, and Interactive Media.


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