Good morning and TGIF! This day in Disney history, July 26th, 1955: LOOK magazine features Walt Disney and actor Fess Parker, dressed as Davy Crockett, on the cover.
The cover promises stories about Walt, Davy and Disneyland. Oh, and the truth about the Salk polio vaccine, and a new diet, as if the subjects seemed to go together?
I particularly enjoyed reading the eight page article about Walt, which starts on page 29 written by Arthur Gordon. He talks about Walts passion for Disneyland; his endless optimism, family life, stories from his upbringing, the development of Oswald, Mortimer, Mickey & even how he met Lillian….
"When Walt's position in Kansas City became desperate, he borrowed a camera, went around taking pictures of babies until he had a little cash. Then he bought a ticket to Los Angeles to join Roy, who was trying to make a living selling vacuum cleaners. With $500 of borrowed capital, the brothers rented the back end of a real-estate office for $5 a month and started turning out a series of shorts for a distributor in New York.
They hired two girls to help them, at $15 a week. one of the girls, Lillian Bounds, found this pittance so small that sometimes she did not even bother to cash her paycheck. This endeared her greatly to Roy, who was handling such finances as there were. He kept urging Walt to use his charm to persuade the lady to cash even fewer checks. Walt was willing-and in the process fell in love with Lilly and married her."
How cute is THAT?!
Another favorite excerpt? Sure, twist my arm….This was after Walt and Roy had just shown Steam Boat Willie to it's first audience (Their wives), while they blew whistles, horns and banged tin cans behind them.
"How was that? "How was what?" said the wives, who, knowing their husbands were crazy anyway, had thought it best to disregard the noise. Despite callous reception, Walt got a mortgage on his house, talked Roy into mortgaging his house too and raised enjoy money for synchronization. All told, Steamboat Willie cost the terrifying sum of $1,200; even Walt's cherished Moon roadster had to be converted to cash. But this was the turning point. Almost overnight, the man-made mouse became an international celebrity. From then on, Disney was a mouse-made man. Even today, out of all his creations, Mickey is closest to Walt's heart. When he wants to hour someone signally, he sends them a "mouse car", a statuette of Mickey the is Disney's equivalent of an Academy Award."
Page 36 is where you'll read about Davy Crockett. Fess Parker really seemed like a neat man. In my opinion, a real American Icon!
Davy Crockett captivated millions of young viewers. His portrayal of the character had them hooked on frontier adventure, coonskin caps and Indian wars. There was somewhat of a "Davy-mania" happening this year which translated into Davy merchandise such as; clothes, books games and toys flying off the shelves. 5,000 coonskin caps sold daily!
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Mr. Disney was one of five children, four boys and a girl. He was the fourth born Disney son. He was named after his parents pastor and friend Walter Parr, a preacher at St. Paul Congregational Church. The pastor, in turn, will later name his son Elias, after Walt's father.
Most of Walt's childhood was spent on a farm in Marceline, Missouri, where he began drawing, painting and selling pictures to neighbors and family friends. In 1911, the family moved to Kansas City, where his love for trains really developed. His Uncle, Mike Martin, was a train Engineer who worked on the route between Fort Madison, Iowa, and Marceline. Walt would later work a summer job with the railroad, selling newspapers and snacks to the travelers. To read more about Walts love for trains
Video: Walt riding the Lilly Belle at the Studio. Video courtesy of The Walt Disney Family Museum.
To watch a short biography of Walts life:
Walt and Lillian Disney with unnamed friend, London, 1935.
Walt Disney in my opinion, is a wonderful example of the American dream! He represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. He brought us closer to the future, while telling us of the past, it is certain, Walt Disney was a great man! He and his brother Roy co-founded Walt Disney Productions, which became one of the best-known motion-picture production companies in the world! Disney was an innovative animator and created the cartoon characters we all love to watch today. :) He won 22 Academy Awards during his lifetime, and was the founder of the magical playgrounds that ties us all together, Disneyland and Disney World. Had he been alive today he would be 112 years old! Happy birthday Walt! Thank you so much for believing in your dreams! You are a true inspiration.
In honor of today, it would be fun if we all mentioned our favorite quote from Mr. Disney. I'll go first, I have many, but this one always sticks out:
"I've always been interested in the past and history and I think it's vital."
Thanks for reading and watching! Hope you all have a terrific Thursday!