The Man Behind the Mouse
I remember when I was just a kid and a stick became my sword and a trashcan lid became my shield. I was a knight of the round table! I remember when things were simple, no electronic games to waste our time with. I remember it didn’t matter if you had the biggest, baddest bike or a cheap heap of toys. We had our imaginations and there were no batteries required.
Unfortunately, as we age we tend to lose that spirit of imagination. Fortunately for us, one man I admire for his creativity and vision. He was able to not only keep his dreams and his adventures alive. He found a way to share those stories and us. His name: Walter Elias Disney.
Although we will always remember him for the creation of Mickey Mouse he did so much more and it wasn’t always a cake-walk. Walt learned about animals and made his first drawings while living on a Missouri farm. Many of his first cartoons were published in the school paper.
Walt was 16 when he tried to enlist in the Army, but found out that he was too young. That didn’t discourage Walt though, he found out that you could be an ambulance driver if you were 17, so he convinced his mom to sign the papers then changed the 1 to a 0 on his passport. Like magic -- he was 17! He was sent to France and decorated his ambulance with cartoons. (chuckle) It was probably the only one like it during the war.
A year later he left the war, landed a job as an artist for a Kansas City ad agency where Walt had some free time to experiment with cartoons. Through his sheer tenacity he was able to get them shown in local theaters. It wasn’t long after that when Walt decided to venture to Hollywood. With $40 and a portfolio of sketches, he took off to learn more about films and animation.
In 1923, Walt and his brother Roy set up a partnership in their uncles converted garage on their savings of $290 and a borrowed $500 to produce a