By: Mick Yates
Walter Elias Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse was born in December 1901 in Chicago, Illinois.
Interested in drawing from the outset, Walt sold sketches to neighbours at the age of seven. He began his career as an advertising cartoonist, but was keen to have his own business. After a few disasters, Walt realised that creativity and enthusiasm were not enough in the business world and recruited his brother Roy as his partner, freeing himself up to indulge his imagination.
Walt became a pioneer of the animation industry, working his way through from silent cartoons, to sound, from black and white to Technicolor. He created the first full length animated musical and went on to combine cartoons with live action. A surprising switch of focus led to the creation of Disneyland in 1955, the first theme park the world had ever seen.
Developing talent for the future was another of Walt’s passions. He himself held evening classes to train employees, teaching his team to embrace the future and strive for perfection. The culmination of his ideas was realised in the creation of the California Institute of Arts, a project he believed would ensure a whole new approach to arts training.
Walt then moved on to his next project, a community prototype for the future. EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was to be a huge construction in Florida, unfortunately Walt never saw the results of his hard work as he died before its completion.
A hands-on leader and always a risk taker, Walt was driven by his passion to advance animation and create the ultimate production. Constantly extending the boundaries of technology, he understood that change was essential to maintain success.
By Melanie Smith