Fortune 500 Company - Disney

Topics: The Walt Disney Company, American Broadcasting Company, Walt Disney Pages: 6 (2412 words) Published: November 9, 2010
Company history:
From the very beginning, Disney's founder Walter Elias Disney fostered the spirit of creativity, innovation and excellence that continues to underlie all of the company's success. Walt arrived in California in the summer of 1923 with dreams and determination, but little else. He had made a short film in Kansas City about a little girl in a cartoon world, called Alice's Wonderland, and he planned to use it as his "pilot" film to sell a series of these Alice Comedies to a distributor. On October 16, 1923, a New York distributor, M. J. Winkler, contracted to release the Alice Comedies, and this date became the formal beginning of The Walt Disney Company. Originally known as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, with Walt Disney and his brother Roy as equal partners, the company soon changed its name, at Roy's suggestion, to the Walt Disney Studio, which was initially housed in a succession of storefront buildings in Hollywood before becoming established on Hyperion Avenue. ( Walt now had to come up with a new character. With his chief animator, Ub Iwerks, Walt designed a mouse that Walt first wanted to name Mortimer, but his wife Lilly preferred Mickey. And so a star was born- animated two Mickey Mouse cartoons. But the first film with synchronized sound The Jazz Singer had premiered, and Walt decided that his studio should make the first sound cartoon. So, the studio poured all of its resources into a third Mickey Mouse cartoon before the first two were released, this one with fully synchronized sound. Steamboat Willie opened to rave reviews at the Colony Theater in New York November 18, 1928. Mickey Mouse was an immediate sensation around the world, and a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons followed. While the studio's cartoons were gaining popularity in movie houses, they also generated interest in related merchandise. As Walt recounted, "A fellow kept hanging around my hotel waving $300 at me and saying that he wanted to put the mouse on paper tablets for school children. As usual, Roy and I needed money, so I took the $300." This was the start of Disney's consumer products business. Soon there were Mickey Mouse dolls, dishes, toothbrushes, radios, figurines -- almost everything imaginable bore Mickey's likeness. The first Mickey Mouse book was published in 1930, as was the first Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip. ( Walt Disney was always anxious to try something new. And so, as his motion pictures and television programs achieved steady success, he looked for other entertainment mountains to climb. One area that intrigued him was amusement parks. As a father, he had taken his two young daughters to zoos, carnivals, and parks, but he always ended up sitting on a bench as they rode the merry-go-round and had all the fun. He felt that there should be a place where parents and children could have a good time together. This was the genesis of Disneyland. After several years of planning and construction, the new park opened July 17, 1955. Prior to Walt's death, the company had purchased land in Florida to fulfill Walt's next major project the development of 28,000 acres that would dwarf the 400 acres of Disneyland. Roy was determined to realize his brother's vision, and honored him by naming it Walt Disney World. It opened October 1, 1971 with a Disneyland-style theme park, hotels, campgrounds, golf courses, shopping villages and a monorail connecting them all. This was to be a destination resort, removed from the urban sprawl that had grown up around Disneyland. It did not take long for Walt Disney World to become the world's premier vacation destination. Disney animation experienced a renaissance. In 1989, The Little Mermaid reminded the world that animation wasn't just for kids. In 1991, Beauty and the Beast became the only animated...
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