How Walt Disney Built His Brand
What movie was the beginning of Walt Disney's live action division?
Hi! This is Meghan Lynn Allen for About.com, and today we'll talk about how Walt Disney built his brand.Born in Chicago in 1901, he spent many years in Marcelline, Illinois, where he developed his love of drawing and his fondness for small-town life. He drove an ambulance during World War I, and drew cartoons on the vehicle.After World War I, he worked as an advertising cartoonist in Kansas City, and started his own business: Laugh-O-Gram.After becoming loaded with debt, he moved to California, and went into business with his brother Roy. He set up in his uncle's garage, and created his first major cartoon, Oswald the Rabbit, for Universal Pictures - but quit Universal when they decided not to give him a raise.He introduced Mickey Mouse in the short titled, "Plane Crazy." His second short was "Steamboat Willie," which was the first cartoon with synchronized sound. He started licensing Mickey's image for cash, but continued creating new characters like Donald Duck and Goofy.But Walt Disney had bigger ambitions.He produced the first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a huge risk during the Depression, and was predicted to be "Disney's Folly." It cost over 1.5 million dollars, but was a huge success, both critically and commercially. Suddenly, the studio was exploding with over 1000 employees, more animated films such as Pinocchio and Fantasia - though the failure of Fantasia and the onset of World War II crippled big-budget productions.Never afraid to reinvent himself, Walt Disney steered the studio towards educational and propaganda films. He restarted the release of animated films in 1950 with Cinderella, as well as the beginning of the live-action division with Treasure Island. He started his own in-house distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, which helped saved costs. And he took advantage with new formats such as television with the Mickey Mouse Club, which was also an enormous hit.He used that success to promote his new theme park venture, Disneyland, which opened in 1955. He revolutionized the theme park industry with its clean, friendly design, and corporate sponsorships, which helped mitigate costs.Walt secretly bought parcels of land for his new Florida theme park in the 1960s. He died of lung cancer before he could see his plan come to fruition. His brother Roy finished what would become Walt Disney World.Walt Disney left behind an enormous and still growing empire. He was named one of the most important people of the 20th Century by Time Magazine.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit About.com