This is about the life of Walt Disney, from his boyhood to his posthumous legacy. He had been pursuing and struggling in his career in animation from Kansas City to Hollywood. The turning point of his career came with the release of Snow White.
He was a senior fellow at the Norman Lear Center for the Study of Entertainment and Society in the University of Southern California. He has written biographies about Hollywood, with Walt Disney as one example from his bibliography.
A major theme in Walt Disney’s life is his unwillingness to sink into sadness, no matter what life threw at him. When his first studio became bankrupt, he simply moved to California to seek help from his brother Roy.
His childhood inspired his creativity, specifically in Marcelline, Missouri, which was the town that he lived in as a child. He loved the nature, the animals, and the small-town hospitality that would feature in his animation work. He would also model his Burbank studio after it, specifically with the pathways.
Another component of Disney’s life was the company that he kept, including his family and childhood friends. They helped him through his animation career, even in his darkest moments. There was the exception when he was helping to create reels of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and he was eventually betrayed by most of the people who worked for him at the time.
The popularity of Mickey Mouse throughout the nation was due to the Mickey Mouse clubs that popped around. It was also due to the merchandise that was proliferating by the middle of the 1930s. It was not just the Silly Symphony films themselves that were popular, rather the relevance they had on its young audience.
Of course with that popularity came with challenges. One of which was the prevalence of counterfeit merchandise and copyright infringement. Another challenge was the power struggle over who would continue production of the Mickey Mouse cartoons. Also, as Disney’s company expanded, the more complicated the occupations that were underneath him. This was especially relevant to him, since he discovered that a team of animators were orderly and had clear directions–and a moment of fun once in a while.
Another theme includes the innovations that were taking place before and during Walt Disney’s time in animation. The major innovation in animation was the cut-out of the animated character interacting with the real-world, as though to provide a form of verisimilitude. The innovations that Disney and his team introduced were the incorporation of a musical score to accompany the characters’ motions through specific beats; and the incorporation of realism into the joints, which included spending time in art classes observing the anatomy of models. The one innovation that really got Disney popular was the incorporation of color picture from a production company that was already hemorrhaging money on this risky venture.
There was a lot going on in Disney’s early life in which he played a role in. In the case of World War I, he joined the Red Cross and served in the medical unit in France. It would be there that he would set up an easel on his spare time and draw caricatures for the troops to send back to their loved ones.
He also dealt with the Great Depression, however instead of investing in the stock market, he chose instead to invest in his own company during this time. Gabler noted how many animation production companies struggled during the Great Depression because they were too busy buying up theater spaces, which immediately became devalued.
As for the learning of human and deer anatomy in order to illustrate more realistic figures, it clearly resembles Leonardo da Vinci who studied anatomy in order to make his drawings.
Unlike Ronald Ross, Disney was not spiteful enough to never forgive his enemies. Rather, he was the opposite, since he did not allow them to dwell in his mind. For all the times he was told “No” or betrayed, it did not dissuade Disney from continuing to pursue his career in animation.
Disney needed a system in order for his production firm to continue functioning as properly as possible. This is similar to Tokugawa Ieyasu’s formation of the Bakufu system when he became Shogun. It ensured that nobles or even the emperor did not arbitrarily do whatever they pleased.
As for the shady executive Pat Powers, this relates to the dealings with shady people in the biography of Elon Musk and the memoir of Jackson Galaxy. In Musk’s case, he was negotiating a deal for material for his space project, and he wisely itemized the materials he needed in order to not be swindled into overpaying. As far as Galaxy, before he became television’s cat therapist, he dealt with a man who promised to make him into a famous rock star; but spent much of the time taking advantage of his hospitality. This was similar to Disney being weary of those who made lofty, good intentions. He especially learned this hard lesson when dealing with the U.S. military in creating propaganda shorts after Pearl Harbor.
Connecting To Previous Book
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As far as the previous book about the information typically found in an MBA, I can definitely see how Walt Disney’s biography would be used to provide an example of the struggles with money that he went through. He was less concerned about money and more about his creativity, which was part of the problem. He relied on the benevolence of the people around him and bounced checks in order to get by in Kansas City. However, he could not pay back his loans and he was forced to file for bankruptcy.
He was also at risk of losing his production company in Hollywood due to the loan he took out from Bank of America. He took a considerable risk with his production of Snow White with his staff being overworked and he himself losing sleep and having arguments with everyone. Eventually, of course, the film was more than enough to recompense the loan. Disney was simply in the right place at the right time–which was the worst time, of course–to make such a risk.
Businesses are defined by their adaptability and relevance to the needs of its own consumer base. This is something that Walt Disney did not keep in mind when he was pursuing his animation career in Kansas City, since there was no market for animators in that geographical area. What especially made Disney’s company thrive during the Great Depression is his responsiveness towards it. For one, the icon of Mickey Mouse provided a symbolism of hope in the face of a chaotic universe. Another reason is the fact that Disney transitioned the animation towards color, which was risky at the time.
There is mention of stoke-holders in the previous book, which was what Disney himself avoided. He did not trust them, since they would end up influencing the films that he had produced. He did issue stocks and let his employees invest in the company. Of course, a way to make money and pay off an additional loan to Bank of America was to release shorts, which introduced Goofy.
Frequently, there are retrospective parts of the book in which describe a point in Disney’s life that would correlate to either a family member’s perspective or whether the person continued to play a role in Disney’s life. As for his father, Disney described him as strict, conservative, and religiously orthodox; whereas his sister thought their father was the exact opposite as he described.
As can be expected of a 500+ page biography, there is no detail left out.
There was not a lot of information back then to teach Disney how to do animation. He only had to rely on one book about animation and the benevolence of relatives and strangers alike to get him through his debts. So, he gained his success more through experience than education. Of course, this path requires a lot of fortitude, which Disney struggled through as any other human being would do. He suffered a few breakdowns and developed a short temper due to the obstacles.
However, he served as the one man who society wanted and needed during the Great Depression. Disney would give people hope with the creation of Mickey Mouse and Snow White, by giving them a simulacrum of how they can survive in a chaotic world beyond their own control.
Inspiration To Myself
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It should not be any excuse in this Golden Age of information to not seek out information about any given topic. Now, all you need is a community within circumference of that information in order to pursue a career and bring those subjects into relevancy.
Also, since we are still reeling from this pandemic, it is clear that we all have a need on some level. We all need to give each other hope, just as Disney offered hope to people all over the world.
There is a lot to read into with this book, for it explores the life of the man who brought the world Mickey Mouse.
Recommend This To…
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- Anyone who has time to read. It is a tedious read, but it is worth it nonetheless.
- “Cornish Dictionary – Gerlyver Kernowek.” Akademi Kernowek.
- “Gabler.” Behindthesurname.
- Gabler, Neal. “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination.” Alfred A. Knopf. 2006.
- Galaxy, Jackson. “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.” Tarcher-Penguin. 2013.
- Isaacson, Walter. “Leonardo da Vinci.” Simon & Schuster. 2017.
- Kaufman, Josh. “The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.” Revised Paperback Edition. Penguin Random House. 2012.
- “Neal.” Behindthename.
- “Neil.” Behindthename.
- Nye, Edwin R. and Mary E. Gibson. “Ronald Ross: Malariologist and Polymath: A Biography.” St. Martin’s Press. 1997.
- Sadler, A. L. “Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.” 1st Tuttle Edition. Tuttle Publishing. 1978.
- Williams, Nicholas. “Desky Kernowek: A Complete Guide To Cornish.” 4th Edition. Evertype. 2013.