Disney during World War II
Due to money problems, Disney Studios moved from Hyperion Avenue to Buena Vista in Burbank, where it still remains today. In the early 1940s, the studio completed work on the full-length films Pinocchio, Fantasy, Dumbo, Bambi, Hello Friends!
Since 1941, Disney has been producing propaganda videos to raise patriotic spirit and mobilize the population: educational cartoons for soldiers (Camouflage, Stop the Tank), as well as commercials that make fun and demonize the Nazis (Death Training), encouraging you to save money and donate them to the war (“Donald’s Decision”, “The Saving Pig”, “The Spirit of 1943”) or volunteered to go to the front (“Donald goes to the army”).
Walt Disney demonstrates to Major General William Porter a gas mask project for children, 1942 boingboing.net
Orders came mainly from the American and Canadian governments: during the war, cartoons were shot at the studio on the order of all state and military institutions – from the Navy to the Ministry of Finance.
“Camouflage”, for example, was intended for paratroopers – in it a chameleon talks about camouflage, false targets and ground installations against air attacks.
The Death Education teaches the story of a German kid raised in the era of the Third Reich: over time, he becomes a fanatical warrior who defends Nazism and dies young. In the films “Donald’s Decision”, “Donald Goes to the Army”, “The Spirit of 1943”, “Duck Commando”, Donald Duck, who has been familiar to the viewer since 1934 in the short film “Little Wise Hen”, appears.
Disney was the only one to release color cartoons. Various colors were used to make a positive or negative association with the object being depicted – for example, gray and green colors prevailed in the drawing of villains, so that the picture was “dull and painful.”
Unlike Nazi propaganda, which, according to Hitler, should appeal to emotions, Disney propaganda was built exactly the opposite and appealed to sanity, step by step explaining the logic of the imposed actions.
TV debut, Disneyland and IPO
By the end of the war, Disney owed about $ 4 million to banks. In an effort to regain its former popularity, the studio released feature films with live actors (Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan), documentaries on nature (Seal Island) ), fiction adventure films (“Treasure Island”, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”). Profit from Cinderella has reduced studio debts by more than two times.
By the end of the 1950s, the number of viewers in the United States had grown almost 20 times compared to the beginning of the decade and reached the mark of 55 million. Disney Studios occupied a niche in the emerging TV market: first, the company launched its own Christmas show, in 1954 – the series “ Disneyland ”, a year later – the children’s program“ Mickey Mouse Club ”. In the 1960s, Mary Poppins was filmed.
The experience of the Second World War showed that Disney Studios needed a source of income, providing the company stability in difficult times. Walt Disney decided to experiment – to create an amusement park in which it would be comfortable for both children and adults.
For a new project, he attracted investors to cover the cost of $ 17 million. In 1955, the first Disneyland opened in southern California.
Opening of Disney’s first park July 17, 1955 la.curbed.com
The entrance ticket for a day for an adult cost $ 1, for a child – 50 cents, in addition to this, adults paid separately from 25 to 35 cents for each attraction, and children from 10 to 25 cents. To ride without restrictions, adults should pay $ 8.7 for themselves and $ 5.15 for a child.
Over the first year of its existence, Disneyland was visited by more than three million people, and it quickly paid off. Walt Disney himself admitted that he was always bored of making money: “I wanted to do things, create, start processes. Money matters to me only as a means of achieving these goals. ”
Walt Disney went public in 1957, and the first shares were worth $ 13.88 apiece. $ 1000 invested in Disney shares then, today would have turned into $ 3.7 million.