Walt Disney Was an Astounding Man

by Steve Collins

Walt Disney was an astounding man whose main dream in life seems to have been to entertain. His fifty-nine Academy Award nominations (and twenty-six Oscars) authenticate that as fact, as do the theme parks he planned before his death which are now high priority destinations for families all over the globe.

It all began in Kansas City with a collection animated cartoons he called “Laugh O Grams” which were played at a local theater to the delight of audiences in the early 1920s. The move to Hollywood to create a studio with his brother Roy followed close upon the heels of his first taste of success.

Some success with a series of shorts called “Alice Comedies” was followed up by an instant hit with a character known as “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit”. When Disney lost the rights to Oswald to Universal Studios, however, it was back to the drawing board, and Mickey Mouse was created. Based on a pet mouse Disney kept while in Kansas City, Mickey had Walt’s voice and personality. Audiences fell in love.

Stepping into new territory of full length animated features, he premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in 1938, and the rest is history. For seventy years we have been entertained by Disney movies, meeting and falling in love with new characters, laughing at the comedy, cheering for charming adventurers, holding our breath at their narrow escapes, and singing along with wonderful music.

Generation upon generation have been entertained by Disney movies. The attraction of the earliest classics is just as strong for today’s children as it was for their original audiences, and parents and grandparents find themselves delighted anew as they revisit these “old friends.” And the current generation’s own Disney films consistently offer something delightful for every member of the family. Walt Disney knew how to entertain, as no one has before or since. From the early “Laugh O Grams” to the most recent works released by the empire he founded, his talented stamp is visible.

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