WOW! When I read about this in a Wall Street magazine sitting in a doctor's office last year, I made a mental note to read this book! Well, I'm finally reading it now. So much detail about this man's life, his parents, and their parents. I'm about 1/3 of the way through, and the studio is working on Snow White, the first ever animated movie.
And he's not frozen! No, he was actually cremated. Born in 1901 and died in 1966. Did not know how young he was when he died. So cool to put yourself in the real life of him, his family, and his studio to get a glimpse of what it was like back in the 20's and 30's. Dad would have been pretty little still, Mom was just born in 1930. I knew Mickey Mouse was old, but 1928 was the first showing in a New York theatre of his first animation. I say "his" first. He really didn't draw much anymore once he really started getting his studio grounded, which had several ups and downs. The man did not give up. And he WOULD NOT allow United Artists, Columbia, or any of those big companies to purchase his studio, which everyone of them that were interested wanted to do. MGM though rejected him and Mickey...wow, their loss.
He was determined to be independent...to be Walt Disney Studios. If you went to work for him, you had to know up front that you were doing this for his name and not for your own name. But that didn't mean he treated his staff terrible. That was part of what was so great about him being independent...he really treated his employees great. There was as much play as there was work...everyone felt like a team, like they were doing something great. No questions if you were sick for three or more days a week, and no worries about coming in late, and he would often close down the studio in August and tell them all to go to Hawaii or Cuba and just get away...be fresh and ready for work when you come back. He would have times when he was extremely moody and some didn't like him regardless. But when he was the most moody, was when he was being swindled by the people back in the day that he thought had his back and thought were giving him the financial leverage he needed to really get going. Disney did not have any business since. His brother, Roy, was the one who did. You really see how crooked people are. The few in the beginning that did see potential, wanted to pull one over on him and control him and everything he did. He wouldn't have it.
Although, Walt, wasn't in it for the money. He kept reinvesting any money they eventually did make back into the studio. His sole objective was to the be BEST at ANIMATION, to be DIFFERENT from all of the rest. So when the depression did hit, he was actually thriving. That's when the Mickey's and the Silly Symphonies really hit big.
Well, I started reading it only just a couple of weeks ago, so I'll probably have to check it out again at the library. I see him in a whole new perspective, and again, is why I loved the moving Meet the Robinsons so much...it really is so much like him. And I can't help but wonder if the character Goob from the movie has any significance to Ub, the real person, who did most of the drawings, and did Mickey, even though he ended up turning his back on Disney.
Can't wait to finish the book...just my eyes don't cooperate a whole lot.