It all started with one man.
The Walt Disney Company is arguably the most successful media conglomerate in history. Founded in 1923, it still runs on the principles of putting out content that is both creative and innovative. It all began with Walt Disney, who would have been the big 117 on December 5th!
We’re celebrating the man who taught us that all you need is a little faith, trust and pixie dust. Here are 8 facts about Walt Disney, himself:
- Who’s the voice behind the squeaky mouse?
Walt Disney, of course-- well, at first. He was the very first voice of Mickey, and continued to be the voice of our favorite mouse for about 20 years. Since then, Mickey has officially been voiced by seven other people.
- The Railroad in Disneyland was very important to Walt Disney.
Since he was a kid, Walt Disney was a huge fan of all things having to do with trains. While growing up, both his father and uncle spent time doing rail work. Walt, himself, also worked a job where he sold concessions inside of a train. Then, as an adult, he took his hobby to a whole new level when he built a 1/8 scale model in his backyard. This ain’t your grandma’s train-- these tracks spanned over a half mile long.
- And the Oscar goes to…(Not Leo DiCaprio)
You guessed it-- Walt Disney. But not just one, or two or even three-- we’re talking 22 wins, and 59 nominations.
- Uncle Sam, meet Mr. Disney.
During WWII, Disney created a handful of educational shorts including “The New Spirit” which encouraged people to pay their income taxes in order to help support the war effort. The short starred our favorite feathered friend, Donald, and was nominated for an Oscar. In addition, Disney studios also created military training videos for the United States’ active troops.
- Always start ‘em young.
Walt Disney began drawing at a young age, and likely out of pure boredom. He grew up on a farm in Missouri and would draw cartoon pictures of his neighbor’s horses to help pass the time.
- Our favorite adorable rodent has a less-adorable villain counterpart.
But let’s back up for a minute. Mickey was originally named Mortimer, but Disney’s wife said that the name sounded egotistical. So, lo and behold, Disney changed the mouse’s name to something more eccentric-- Mickey. Later on, he named Mickey’s arch nemesis the original name, Mortimer Mouse.
- Mars, Jupiter and… Disneya?
Yep, Disney actually has a minor planet named after him-- but no, it’s not Pluto. 4017 Disneya was discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Karachkina in 1980.
- Any last words?
Walt Disney’s last words still puzzle us to this day. Reportedly, he wrote on a piece of paper the name “Kurt Russell.” At the time, Russell was an unknown child actor who had just recently signed on to work with the Disney Studios. Russell, himself, says that he has no idea why his name would be among Disney’s very last words.
From his humble beginnings, to one of the most successful companies in the world, Walt Disney created a brand that has easily impacted everyone today. He may have passed away years ago, but his legacy has been carried on since through the success of his company. Happy birthday, Walt!