The 7 Most Common Myths About Walt Disney

Posted on Sep 14, 2022      46

Walter Elias Disney. It is very difficult to find someone who has never heard of Disney and its creator. There are many myths surrounding Walt Disney. Let’s look at what’s true and what’s fiction.

The most common myths about Walt Disney

Before we begin a brief walk through the biography of the talented animator.

  1. 1901 - he was born in Chicago, Illinois, in the family of a handyperson.
  2. 1915-1917 - studied drawing in classes for schoolchildren at the Art Institute of Kansas City.
  3. 1923 - After his older brother Roy moved to Los Angeles and with him founded Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, which later grew into Walt Disney Studio.
  4. 1925 - He married Lillian Bounds, an employee of his studio. The couple had a daughter, Diane; the second girl, Sharon, was adopted.
  5. 1928 - released his studio’s first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which became a cult success.
  6. 1937 - directed the first full-length color animated film in the United States, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  7. 1940 - moved his studio from Los Angeles to Burbank in the same state of California.
  8. 1950 - his corporation released its first feature film, Treasure Island. The first Disney television programs, “An Hour in Wonderland”, began airing.
  9. 1955 - Opened the first Disneyland theme park he developed, with the official motto being “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
  10. 1966 - He died in Los Angeles, California, of lung cancer. His grave is in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, among the graves of other celebrities.

Mickey Mouse only appeared thanks to Walt Disney

No. Officially Mickey’s birthday is November 18, 1928, which is when the first sound movie with his participation was released. Drawing of the character at the request of Disney engaged the talented animator Ab Iversk.

He also helped Walt Disney on the director’s bridge. Thanks to their work together, the world saw cartoons like “Crazy About Planes”, “Gallopin Gaucho” and “Steamboat Willie.”

Oswald the rabbit, which they invented before Eeyore the mouse, is also the result of Walt and Aba’s collaboration. But, because of negligence in signing the contract, the animators lost the rights to the character. Oswald Rabbit became the property of Universal Pictures.

After losing their star character, it was come up with a new one. Ab Iversk suggested many animals as replacements, but Walt insisted on the mouse. Disney claimed to have come up with it while still on the train on his way back from unsuccessful negotiations over Oswald.

The world’s most popular mouse was never planned to be called Mickey. Originally, it had been Mortimer. But it was his wife who convinced Walt to choose the name everyone now knows. Lillian Walt argued that the original name sounded too pathetic for an animal.

As you can see, several people were involved in the birth of Eeyore.

Disney made the world’s first sound cartoon

No. The cartoon “Steamboat Willie” was released in 1928. He helped the Disney studio to make a splash around the world. By the way, it was the first sound movie with Mickey Mouse.

A common myth is that this animated creation is the first sound cartoon in the world. This is not true. Back in the mid-1920s, the Fleischer brothers were making sound animated short films. Also before Steamboat Willie, there was another cartoon with a sound by Paul Terry, Dinner Time.

He was going to build the city of the future

Yes. Walt Disney was working on the EPCOT project. That’s an acronym for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Disney purchased a vast tract of land in Florida to build a city of the future and an amusement park on it.

Walt Disney envisioned Epcot as the perfect community, a city, home to 20,000 residents. The great animator’s innovative ideas were to make the infrastructure of this city unique.

It was planned to use cars as little as possible, and eco-friendly electric transport was to replace them. It was supposed to test new technologies inside the city. Unfortunately, in 1966, Walt Disney died of lung cancer, so the project could not be realized.

Later, Disney World opened on the site of the city of the future. But on the territory of the most famous entertainment center in memory of the ideas of its founder, the company opened a futuristic theme park Epcot.

Disney co-produced a cartoon with Salvador Dali

Yes. The short animated film Destino (Spanish for “destiny”) was conceived in 1945, after Walt talked to the Surrealist guru at a dinner with film mogul Jack Warner. The following year, studio artist John Hench worked with Daly to create a storyboard and film for a few seconds.

However, because of financial difficulties, Disney postponed work on the risky surreal project. Destino was filmed after Walt’s death at the initiative of his nephew and heir Roy Disney - Jr. In 2003, the cartoon was nominated for an Oscar.

Walt Disney is the champion of the Oscars

Yes. According to the Guinness Book, the man won the record number of American Academy Awards in his lifetime (26) and set the record for the number of nominations for its awards (64).

Walt Disney also created the first Oscar-winning cartoon, Flowers and Trees (1932).

He was an intransigent anti-Semite and would not even hire Jews

No (Anti-Semitism is national intolerance which expresses itself in hostility towards Jews as an ethnic or religious group.) This is a popular opinion, and several years ago the famous actress Meryl Streep called Walt Disney an anti-Semite from the stage. It was an episode in the 1933 cartoon The Three Little Pigs in which the bad wolf disguised himself as a Jewish merchant that drew a lot of criticism.

Disney ordered that the footage be reshot, though the joke, according to his older brother Roy, was simply because it was a very common and recognizable type.

Walt was also accused of participating in the activities of the Alliance of Filmmakers to preserve American Ideals, an anti-communist organization that had many anti-Semites in its ranks. Everyone in the United States was afraid of the “red menace,” and many prominent cultural figures joined the alliance, including, for example, the writer of Jewish origin, Ayn Rand.

They knew nothing about Walt Disney’s anti-Semitism in the Bnei B’rith Jewish social organization, whose chapter in 1955 proclaimed the animation tycoon its citizen of the Year. As for the studio employees, Disney biographer Neil Geibler writes, “...of the Jews who worked there, it was hard to find anyone who thought Walt was anti-Semitic.”

After his death, Disney’s body was cryopreserved

No. One of the most famous urban legends about Walt is as if he were the first person whose body was frozen to preserve it until it was possible to bring him back to life.

There’s also a theory that only the head was cryopreserved and is stored in a secret room at Disneyland, somewhere under the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

In fact, Disney’s remains were cremated. And the first freezing of a person in a cryo-chamber took place a month after Walt’s death, in January 1967. That person was psychologist James Hiram Bedford, who also died of cancer.

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