He started in the garage and did not chase money: as the founder of Disney built a company
Walt Disney tried to start his own business back in 1922 – then he opened the animation studio Laugh-O-Gram Films in Kansas City. For her, he hired the first workers, including the artist Ab Ab Iverks, whom he met at a previous hired job.
Together they made a series of animated films “Alice’s Comedies” – the main role was a real girl (Virginia Davis), who was placed in a cartoon universe. Laugh-O-Gram Films sold several other Pictorial Films cartoons, but in 1923 the latter went bankrupt and Disney companies stopped receiving orders.
Studio Laugh-O-Gram Films had to close. But Alice’s Comedies weren’t closed: Disney sent out a pilot release to several distributors.
A pilot issue called Alice’s Wonderland (1923). The first episode of Alice’s Comedies, shot by Laugh-O-Gram Films
Walt Disney went to his brother Roy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a banker and was treated for tuberculosis. The brothers set up an animation studio in Uncle Robert’s small wooden garage, who agreed to rent it for $ 5 a week. So there was Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. In an interview, Walt Disney said that he built an animated stand from plywood boxes and boards.
Disney archivist Dave Smith suggested that then Walt began working on a video that could interest Alexander Pantages, who had several theaters at his disposal. This video was never completed, as Disney received a response from New York producer Margaret Winkler, who offered the brothers a distribution contract for Alice’s Comedies.
The garage that started Disney Studios. It was originally located at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Los Angeles, then it was transported to Heritage in Garden Grove, California you-are-here.com
The studio signed a contract with Winkler on October 3, 1923 – this day is considered the date of founding of Disney. The fee was enough to put things in order and to hire two artists and auxiliary workers. Then Walt and Roy changed the name of the company to a more sonorous – Walt Disney Company.
Walt Disney came up with the character – the lucky rabbit Oswald – and sold the right to distribute cartoons with him all the same Margaret Winkler. 26 episodes with Oswald were released before Walt Disney, after carefully reading the contact, found that he did not own the rights to the rabbit.
Moreover, Winkler secretly lured Disney artists to herself to draw cartoons with Oswald without his participation. Walt terminated the contract with Winkler and promised himself that he would continue to carefully monitor compliance with his copyright.
Mickey Mouse and the first box office films
Mickey Mouse is a symbol of independence for me. It arose in my head in the Manhattan-Hollywood train, at the very time when Roy and I were doing very badly and it seemed that the catastrophe was just around the corner.
The mouse, like many other characters, was not painted by Walt himself, but by the main animator of his studio Ab Iverks. For this, a flurry of charges subsequently fell upon Walt. Nevertheless, everyone paid tribute to his ability to conceptualize characters and stories.
The first two cartoons with the participation of Mickey Mouse could not be sold: they were dumb, and in the second half of the 1920s in the USA it was considered a bad man – there was already sound in the cinema. In addition, the mouse was too much like the Oswald Rabbit. Mickey Mouse’s debut on the big screen in 1928 was the voiced cartoon “Steamboat Willie.”
Selling goods with a mouse brought the studio $ 1 million ($ 19 million in 2019) each year for the next five years, and in 1947, sales profit reached $ 100 million. In 1935, the New York Times magazine called Mickey Mouse “the most famous international character” .
In 1926, Disney Studio moved from Uncle Robert’s garage to 2719 Hyperion Avenue in Los Angeles and was located there until 1940.
Disney Studios at 2719 Hyperion Avenue, California mashable.com
The future belongs to full-length animated films: Walt Disney came to this conclusion, and in 1934 the studio began working on Snow White. Few believed that full-length cartoons can keep the viewer on the screen, so the Disney experiment was considered extremely risky.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” cost the company about $ 2 million (for comparison: the costs of Parahodik Willie were about $ 5,000). Walt Disney’s expectations came true: the film was released in 1937 and instantly became the highest grossing. Time magazine called it a “true masterpiece,” and Disney’s studio earned $ 8 million.
The success of this film is largely due to an advertising campaign organized by Disney itself. But the Second World War was approaching, and the demand for Disney’s creative work was falling, especially abroad. In order not to go broke, the company had to cut budgets for films and take on government orders.