THE STORY

Walt didn’t have it easy as a kid. His family moved a lot, he worked day and night as a paperboy, and suffered beatings from his father. To escape, he drew. In his pen and ink fantasy world, life was beautiful and people were always happy.

After working with the Red Cross during World War I, Walt moved to Kansas City and worked for a company creating animated ads. He loved bringing his drawings to life! So he converted his garage into a studio and produced his own shorts, going it alone with Laugh-O-Grams.

Success was short lived.

Determined, he packed his bags and joined his dear older brother Roy and best illustrator friend Ub Iwerks in Hollywood. Finally, Walt began to prosper! However, his first character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was not copyrighted and—doh!—he hopped away. Eager to replace Oswald, he sketched Mortimer the Mouse, later renamed Mickey, by Walt’s wife.

With the sound revolution sweeping Hollywood, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon voiced by Walt was an instant hit! The New York Times called it “ingenious,” and Mickey Mouse films rolled out of the studio.

Next came Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia… it was time to go big. He mortgaged everything and built a 185-acre amusement park, “the happiest place on Earth.”

In 1966, at the age of 65, Walt Disney died, leaving a multi-billion dollar empire.

And to think it all started with a (happy) dream.

Walt Disney in 1935.

HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?

Setbacks and traumatic events are undoubtedly tough. Following a crucial mourning phase, converting them into ambition and drive is the best comeback one can make.

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© Story by Tarek Issa.

Sources:

  • Facts as told on Entrepreneur and The Artifice.
  • Picture: Agence de presse Meurisse [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

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