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Walt's Biography!!!

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Posted: 25 September 2006 at 7:27am | IP Logged

Walt's Biography
Marceline


On New Year's Day, 1888, Elias Disney and Flora Call were married. Over the next five years they added three sons to their family: Herbert in 1888, Raymond in 1890, and Roy in 1893. By the time Flora became pregnant again some eight years later, the couple were living in Chicago, where Elias was making a living as a carpenter and builder. On December 5, 1901, a fourth child, Walter Elias Disney, was born, named after the family's pastor. (The pastor, in turn, named his son Elias, after Walt's father.) Two years later a little girl, Ruth, arrived and the Disney family was complete. But Elias and Flora were unsettled by the raucous, saloon-centered nature of their neighborhood. When two boys in the neighborhood were arrested after killing a policeman, that was the last straw.

Elias's brother Robert owned some property in Marceline, Missouri, a community of about 5,000 that had sprung up along the route of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. And so, in April 1906, the Disney family settled there on a 45-acre farm. They lived in a square, small house built by a recently deceased Civil War veteran named William Crane. Their house was shaded by broad weeping willows, cedars, and silver maples. When they arrived, Walt could smell the perfume of the apple blossoms from the small orchard behind the house. That fall the same trees hung heavy with crispy red Wolf river apples, "so big that people came from miles around to see them," Walt recalled. For the rest of his life he remembered the community spirit that infused this corner of the world -- particularly at harvest time, when friends and neighbors worked together like one big family.

Walt and Ruth, as the babies of the family, had few tasks on the farm, and those they had weren't overly strenuous. Their memories of the farm were almost entirely favorable -- with the possible exception of the time they got into deep trouble for doodling on the barn with black sticky tar. The same wasn't true of his older brothers, who labored mightily to help Elias squeeze a decent living out of the land. As Walt grew older, his universe expanded to the town, where he became friendly with a variety of interesting characters like Erastus Taylor, a Civil War veteran who told Walt a succession of dramatic tales of battles long past. Family members were ever present, including Grandma Disney and Uncle Mike Disney, who was a railroad engineer. Uncle Mike would come roaring into town behind the throttle of a giant locomotive, carrying striped bags of candy for the children. Aunt Margaret, Uncle Robert's wife, "would bring me big tablets -- Crayola things -- and I'd always draw Aunt Margaret pictures and she'd always rave over them," Walt later recalled.

In 1908 Herbert and Raymond decided they had had enough of farming, and of their father's insistence that they use any extra money they could earn to help support the family. Now 16 and 18 -- grown men by the standards of the time -- they departed for better times in Chicago. In the fall of 1909, Walt started at the brand-new Park School in Marceline. But he wasn't to be there long. In the fall of 1910 Elias contracted typhoid and almost died. He recovered, slowly, but knew he couldn't keep the farm afloat. So the farm was sold for $5,175, and the family moved to Kansas City in the summer of 1911. Paradise was lost.

-KOMAL

Tongue



Edited by komalash - 25 September 2006 at 8:26am

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                       Walt's Masterworks
                                     Alice's Adventures

After Walt's first effort to make a living in the cartoon business ended in bankruptcy, he moved to California and tried to get a job in the film industry, without much success. But he had an unfinished print of a film he had started in Kansas City, a combination of animation and a real-live little girl, called "Alice's Wonderland." He sold the idea of a series of such cartoons to a distributor named M. J. Winkler, on the basis of a letter that indicated that "I am establishing a studio in Los Angeles for the purpose of producing the new and novel series of cartoons I have previously written you about." Winkler had no way of knowing, of course, that the studio Walt described was actually a ramshackle garage that belonged to his Uncle Robert. "Alice's Day at Sea" was the first in the series completed on the West Coast. Unlike "Alice's Wonderland," which was animated with help of Kansas City staffers, this cartoon was animated entirely by Walt -- with some assistance from his brother Roy. It starred Virginia Davis, a cute little girl who had worked with him in Kansas City, and whom he lured to California to become a movie star.

As Russell Merritt, a film historian and co-author with J. B. Kaufman of "Walt in Wonderland," writes "The Alices are in every way apprentice films, witty and frequently charming, providing Disney with a storehouse of gags, plot ideas, and secondary characters which he reintroduced and refined in his famous '30s shorts. In them, the young director stayed steadily within the confines of popular '20s cartoon and kid comedy formulas. The framing stories, for instance, were quickly refined to give Virginia a supporting cast of children patterned after the popular 'Our Gang' comedies of Hal Roach, the better to exploit Little Virginia's gifts as a comedian and dancer. In the animation sequences too, Disney soaked up the work of the best silent filmmakers of the time -- not only rival animators, but live-action directors as well." After about a year, Virginia Davis left (her mother insisted that Virginia be able to perform in other films, while Walt would accept only an exclusive contract with his star). She was replaced by Dawn O'Day for one film, and Walt then hired Margie Gay who appeared in some 31 Alice comedies through 1925 and 1926.



Edited by komalash - 25 September 2006 at 8:29am
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                                         Snow White

                                            Video

The first feature-length animated film in history, "Snow White" is a testimony to Walt's deep commitment to taking whatever existed and making it better. When he first proposed creating a cartoon that would run for more than just a few minutes, critics and nay-sayers abounded. "It'll blind the audience," said some. "Nobody will watch a cartoon that's so long," said others. They dubbed it Disney's Folly. But Walt persisted, risking the financial future of his studio on the project. And of course the success was complete. "Snow White" premiered on December 21, 1937, and provided a financial bonanza for the Disney organization. It was originally budgeted for $250,000, wound up costing $1.75 million, and brought in about $4.2 million in its first release. Perhaps more important, it proved that animation could be used not just to amuse but to provoke a far wider range of emotions. Viewers witnessing the "death" scene of Snow White -- shown above -- were moved to tears.

This exhilarating triumph was not easily earned. Walt didn't hesitate to cut scenes that had already consumed hundreds of hours of animators' work. Animator Ward Kimball has commented that when Walt cut a particular long, funny sequence of his -- because it got in the way of the story -- "that was one of the early tragedies of my life." Of course, every sequence that made it into the final version was painstakingly scrutinized to make sure that it was artistically superior, well animated, and advanced the story. The scene in which the menacing Huntsman -- seen approaching in dramatic shadow -- threatens to kill Snow White with his dagger is exemplary. Over the course of months, scores of pages of transcripts from story meetings attest to the amount of time and thought that went into its creation. How should the knife look? When should the bird fly away? When should Snow White first become aware of the Huntsman? The result, writes Leonard Maltin in his authoritative book "The Disney Films": "Few people will ever forget the menacing gleam of the Huntsman's knife just before he raises it to kill Snow White. . . ."



Edited by komalash - 25 September 2006 at 8:32am
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                                       Mickey & Friends

                                                           

Walt has often been quoted as saying, "It all started with a mouse." Though the phrase has become almost a clich, it's nonetheless true. With all due respect to Walt's creative genius, had Mickey Mouse not taken off and become an international celebrity, there's no way to be sure that any of Walt's other dreams would have been fulfilled. For his part, Walt made certain that Mickey was not just a profitable character; his image and character were respected and maintained throughout the organization. Walt wouldn't permit his animators to use Mickey for a cheap gag that would dilute the power of his personality. Dozens of sketch sheets were prepared to guide artists in the way Mickey would look if he was angry, sad, scared or happy. One bizarre myth has grown up that Walt couldn't draw Mickey Mouse himself. While it's certainly true that Walt handed over the drawing labors to his staffers -- who were better artists and draftsman than he -- Walt was more than capable of inking his favorite character, and he did so on more than one occasion for friends and fans.

Of course, Walt's relationship with Mickey went deeper than simple affection. His wife, Lilly, commented that she thought the two shared many character traits. And, of course, Walt provided Mickey's voice until 1946, when Jim Macdonald took over for about 30 years, to be replaced by Wayne Allwine. According to Dave Smith's "Disney A to Z," "Mickey Mouse was originally drawn using circles -- for head, body, and ears. 'The Pointer,' in 1939, was the first cartoon that featured a drastically new design for Mickey. His body became more pear-shaped than round and pupils were added to his eyes, making them more expressive. In the early 1940s, animators gave him perspective ears -- shadowing them to give a three-dimensional effect -- but this change was short lived." Mickey starred in about 120 cartoons -- often joined by a growing cast of supporting characters (many of whom had the lead in their own cartoons). Donald Duck debuted in 1934, and was catapulted into greater popularity in Mickey's first color cartoon, "The Band Concert." Minnie, of course, was with Mickey from the beginning. Goofy came on the scene in a bit part as Dippy Dawg in 1932, and Pluto was added in 1937.  



Walt has often been quoted as saying, "It all started with a mouse." Though the phrase has become almost a clich, it's nonetheless true. With all due respect to Walt's creative genius, had Mickey Mouse not taken off and become an international celebrity, there's no way to be sure that any of Walt's other dreams would have been fulfilled. For his part, Walt made certain that Mickey was not just a profitable character; his image and character were respected and maintained throughout the organization. Walt wouldn't permit his animators to use Mickey for a cheap gag that would dilute the power of his personality. Dozens of sketch sheets were prepared to guide artists in the way Mickey would look if he was angry, sad, scared or happy. One bizarre myth has grown up that Walt couldn't draw Mickey Mouse himself. While it's certainly true that Walt handed over the drawing labors to his staffers -- who were better artists and draftsman than he -- Walt was more than capable of inking his favorite character, and he did so on more than one occasion for friends and fans.

Of course, Walt's relationship with Mickey went deeper than simple affection. His wife, Lilly, commented that she thought the two shared many character traits. And, of course, Walt provided Mickey's voice until 1946, when Jim Macdonald took over for about 30 years, to be replaced by Wayne Allwine. According to Dave Smith's "Disney A to Z," "Mickey Mouse was originally drawn using circles -- for head, body, and ears. 'The Pointer,' in 1939, was the first cartoon that featured a drastically new design for Mickey. His body became more pear-shaped than round and pupils were added to his eyes, making them more expressive. In the early 1940s, animators gave him perspective ears -- shadowing them to give a three-dimensional effect -- but this change was short lived." Mickey starred in about 120 cartoons -- often joined by a growing cast of supporting characters (many of whom had the lead in their own cartoons). Donald Duck debuted in 1934, and was catapulted into greater popularity in Mickey's first color cartoon, "The Band Concert." Minnie, of course, was with Mickey from the beginning. Goofy came on the scene in a bit part as Dippy Dawg in 1932, and Pluto was added in 1937.


Walt has often been quoted as saying, "It all started with a mouse." Though the phrase has become almost a clich, it's nonetheless true. With all due respect to Walt's creative genius, had Mickey Mouse not taken off and become an international celebrity, there's no way to be sure that any of Walt's other dreams would have been fulfilled. For his part, Walt made certain that Mickey was not just a profitable character; his image and character were respected and maintained throughout the organization. Walt wouldn't permit his animators to use Mickey for a cheap gag that would dilute the power of his personality. Dozens of sketch sheets were prepared to guide artists in the way Mickey would look if he was angry, sad, scared or happy. One bizarre myth has grown up that Walt couldn't draw Mickey Mouse himself. While it's certainly true that Walt handed over the drawing labors to his staffers -- who were better artists and draftsman than he -- Walt was more than capable of inking his favorite character, and he did so on more than one occasion for friends and fans.

Of course, Walt's relationship with Mickey went deeper than simple affection. His wife, Lilly, commented that she thought the two shared many character traits. And, of course, Walt provided Mickey's voice until 1946, when Jim Macdonald took over for about 30 years, to be replaced by Wayne Allwine. According to Dave Smith's "Disney A to Z," "Mickey Mouse was originally drawn using circles -- for head, body, and ears. 'The Pointer,' in 1939, was the first cartoon that featured a drastically new design for Mickey. His body became more pear-shaped than round and pupils were added to his eyes, making them more expressive. In the early 1940s, animators gave him perspective ears -- shadowing them to give a three-dimensional effect -- but this change was short lived." Mickey starred in about 120 cartoons -- often joined by a growing cast of supporting characters (many of whom had the lead in their own cartoons). Donald Duck debuted in 1934, and was catapulted into greater popularity in Mickey's first color cartoon, "The Band Concert." Minnie, of course, was with Mickey from the beginning. Goofy came on the scene in a bit part as Dippy Dawg in 1932, and Pluto was added in 1937.

Walt has often been quoted as saying, "It all started with a mouse." Though the phrase has become almost a clich, it's nonetheless true. With all due respect to Walt's creative genius, had Mickey Mouse not taken off and become an international celebrity, there's no way to be sure that any of Walt's other dreams would have been fulfilled. For his part, Walt made certain that Mickey was not just a profitable character; his image and character were respected and maintained throughout the organization. Walt wouldn't permit his animators to use Mickey for a cheap gag that would dilute the power of his personality. Dozens of sketch sheets were prepared to guide artists in the way Mickey would look if he was angry, sad, scared or happy. One bizarre myth has grown up that Walt couldn't draw Mickey Mouse himself. While it's certainly true that Walt handed over the drawing labors to his staffers -- who were better artists and draftsman than he -- Walt was more than capable of inking his favorite character, and he did so on more than one occasion for friends and fans.

Of course, Walt's relationship with Mickey went deeper than simple affection. His wife, Lilly, commented that she thought the two shared many character traits. And, of course, Walt provided Mickey's voice until 1946, when Jim Macdonald took over for about 30 years, to be replaced by Wayne Allwine. According to Dave Smith's "Disney A to Z," "Mickey Mouse was originally drawn using circles -- for head, body, and ears. 'The Pointer,' in 1939, was the first cartoon that featured a drastically new design for Mickey. His body became more pear-shaped than round and pupils were added to his eyes, making them more expressive. In the early 1940s, animators gave him perspective ears -- shadowing them to give a three-dimensional effect -- but this change was short lived." Mickey starred in about 120 cartoons -- often joined by a growing cast of supporting characters (many of whom had the lead in their own cartoons). Donald Duck debuted in 1934, and was catapulted into greater popularity in Mickey's first color cartoon, "The Band Concert." Minnie, of course, was with Mickey from the beginning. Goofy came on the scene in a bit part as Dippy Dawg in 1932, and Pluto was added in 1937.



Edited by komalash - 25 September 2006 at 8:48am
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                                                   Pinocchio

                                          Click to enlarge

Creating Snow White taught Walt and his staff a great deal, and Walt wanted to use those lessons in his second feature cartoon. He had been thinking about "Pinocchio" for some time and commissioned an English translation of the Italian book in 1937. Gustav Tenggren, a Swedish artist who worked for Walt in the late 1930s, prepared some early sketches. While Snow White was endearing, the puppet wasn't a strong-enough character to carry the film. In fact, after six months, Walt halted production, in an effort to work out the problem. The answer: an engaging supporting cast, notably Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio's conscience and adviser. In early sketches Jiminy looked an awful lot like the kind of cricket you'd sooner sweep out the backdoor than take meaningful advice about life from. So Walt asked animator Ward Kimball to make him less buglike and more human. Brilliantly voiced by Cliff Edwards, Jiminy went on to be a star of Walt's television shows, where he was often used to introduce educational cartoons.

While "Snow White" was notable for provoking a range of emotions, and "Bambi" stood apart for its realistic depiction of animals, "Pinocchio" is distinguished by being one of the most intricately detailed animated films of all time. Thousands of individual sketches were drawn to give animators background on the shape and look of every clock and teapot in Geppetto's cottage, every fish in Monstro's ocean. Walt focused on every aspect of the production, especially the story. As author Richard Hollis writes, "Walt admitted, on numerous occasions, that his most important task around the studio was to steer his storymen and artists towards a single goal. . . . Thumbnail sketches were pinned to the walls, creating a complete storyboard of the sequence to be discussed. Everyone present was encouraged to toss in ideas regarding the action, gags, and overall appearance of the scene in question."

One particularly instructive series of photographs survived from the era, showing Walt engaged in precisely this effort. Walt's perfectionism was expensive. By opening day in 1940, "Pinocchio" had cost so much that the film lost money in its initial release. Today, "Pinocchio" is regarded as one of the most technically perfect of the Disney films; a true masterwork.

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                              Treasure Island 
                                 Click to enlarge   
For several years Walt had wanted to make an exclusively live-action film. But his distributors -- who saw him as fundamentally a cartoon maker -- made it difficult for him (only one of many instances in which distributors made Walt miserable). Though he chafed, they insisted that he add cartoon footage to "So Dear to My Heart" -- his first effort to break entirely free from the golden handcuffs of animation. "Treasure Island," released in 1950, was his first all live-action film. It was an ideal vehicle; it had a strong story and interesting characters -- just the kind of thing he had always looked for in feature-length cartoons. Walt loved the relative ease with which live actors could be made to work -- as opposed to animated characters. "You give 'em the lines and they rehearse it a couple of times, and you've got it on film," he told his animators back at home. The cast was mostly British -- led by a broad portrayal of Long John Silver by Robert Newton. One exception was a Walt Disney discovery -- young actor Bobby Driscoll, whose efforts held up very well as he played against the experienced Newton.

Walt was prepared to spend big bucks on his first venture into live action; "Treasure Island" was budgeted at $1.8 million, a reasonable figure for a major feature in 1950. But he didn't spend the money on big salaries for his stars. Instead, in the words of the trade, the money all went on the screen. Lush, rich sets livened the look of the film, as did beautifully rendered matte paintings, done by a young artist named Peter Ellenshaw. "Don't forget, guys, we don't need to go on location, because Peter, here, he can paint an island." Walt filmed in England in order to utilize funds that had been earned there but which postwar British restrictions wouldn't allow him to spend elsewhere. During filming, Walt took the opportunity to take his family on a European vacation, during which time his daughters, Diane and Sharon, had the opportunity to visit the set. Reports Bob Thomas in his biography of Walt, one of the animators saw what was coming. Said he, "We realized that as soon as Walt rode on a camera crane, we were going to lose him."
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U all liked the stories??? Tongue 
 
 


Edited by aishi.muffin - 28 October 2010 at 4:00pm

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