The Innovative Genius: Walt Disney
The Innovative Genius: Walt Disney
The Innovative Genius: Walt Disney
The Walt Disney Company is a universal family and media business, which operates through five different outlets: Interactive Media, Consumer Products, Studio Entertainment, Parks and Recreation, and Media Networks. Undoubtedly, the Disney Company is one of the most substantial companies and its dominance is due to its history and founders. The company began as a modest cartoon studio in 1923 by the Disney brothers, Walt and Roy. Both men took on different roles for the company: Walt was the producer, leader and guiding the company’s imaginative features while Roy took care of finance and administration. Because of their foundational work at the company’s establishment, the Walt Disney Company has expanded from an insignificant money-hungry film studio to one of the most prominent media and entertainment companies in the world (Tellotte, 11). While both brothers’ work was necessary for the company’s success, Walt’s contributions even today are seemingly immeasurable.

The Webster’s Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” That is, entrepreneurs in their efforts to produce and execute original businesses, novel concepts, and new customs of doing things, whatever the cause are prepared to fail, but the lure of success is greater than their fear of failure (Harris, 11). Walt created vastly more than just a thriving business, therefore, he is more than an entrepreneur. Disney, the maverick, embraced change as an opportunity, took on a multitude of risks, and simultaneously created animation pieces that impacted society (Harris, 40). As a result, Disney changed the animation and entertainment industries, and consequently, American society as a whole. Although he was not a founding father of animation, Disney dramatically enhanced the craft, the entertainment market and society by improving upon previous achievements through innovation and imagination. Ultimately, Disney’s dream was to create a fantasyland for audiences so that his creative legacy would endure, and in this, he was hugely successful. Enumerating all of the successes and accomplishments of Disney would be virtually impossible. However, by viewing at his early career, one identifies how one man, Walt Disney, revolutionized the industry, by regarding his global icon, Mickey Mouse. Simultaneously, he was able to boost the morale of a depressed country.

In creating his most famous character, Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney looked to the famous animated characters of his time for ideas and inspiration. Ironically, Mickey Mouse was not the first famous character with which Walt was associated. Rather, Mickey Mouse was produced after Walt lost the rights to the popular animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Harvard, 2). Oswald was the Disney Brothers’ first big hit and consisted of a series of shorts. Walt lost Oswald to animator Charles Mintz in a distribution deal with Universal. Mintz obtained the copyright to Oswald and much to Walt’s surprise, this deal granted Disney no rights (Sklar, 112). Originally, Walt believed that he could continue making Oswald shorts with a new animator. However, upon re-reading the fine print of the contract, he was devastated to discover the terms (Rukstad, Collis, 2). Disney often addressed the betrayal of Mintz with feelings of anger and duplicity, however, he did not let this dispute interfere with him achieving far better. Indeed, one can say it was this betrayal that laid the groundwork for the most recognized animated character in the world.

Walt once said, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse” (Pallant, 1). Disney credited much of his fame and fortune to the creation of Mickey Mouse, and rightfully so. The physical creation of Mickey Mouse parallels the hard work and effort Disney poured into his corporation: not only was the mouse created in a garage, but also after-hours and in the company of twelve of Disney’s employees. Of the twelve people, however, there was one animator, UB Iwerks. Therefore, Iwerks became the animator for Mickey Mouse and worked closely with Walt Disney (Gabler, 115). Mickey Mouse epitomized the excellent retort and the ideal figure to contend with Oswald and also challenged another hit cartoon of the time, Felix the Cat (Pallant, 16). In bringing Mickey to the screen, Disney was able to create Mickey as a whole character because of Mickey’s ability to connect with the audience and adjust to the shifts in public taste and cultural mood. Because of Walt’s position as producer and head of the company, he had the independence and capability to dictate the direction of character and the cartoon content. Also, as head of the company, Walt was able to steer the business activities of the

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Walt Disney And Mickey Mouse. (April 12, 2021). Retrieved from