17 Facts About Walt Disney That’ll Make You Say, “How Did I Not Know This?”

1. Walt joined the Red Cross at just 16 years old and spent a year driving an ambulance overseas during World War I. Red Cross / Via redcrosschat.org His ambulance was reportedly decorated with drawings and cartoons inspired by his travels. 2. Walt’s first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram, went bankrupt less than a year after it...


Walt Disney

1. Walt joined the Red Cross at just 16 years old and spent a year driving an ambulance overseas during World War I.

His ambulance was reportedly decorated with drawings and cartoons inspired by his travels.
Red Cross / Via redcrosschat.org

His ambulance was reportedly decorated with drawings and cartoons inspired by his travels.

2. Walt’s first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram, went bankrupt less than a year after it was founded.

The studio filed for bankruptcy before practically any of the cartoons were released.

Laugh-O-Gram

The studio filed for bankruptcy before practically any of the cartoons were released.

3. He left for Hollywood with only $40, a few drawing materials, and an animated and live-action film.

He moved from Kansas City to Hollywood with his brother, Roy.

General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

He moved from Kansas City to Hollywood with his brother, Roy.

4. Walt’s first commercial success was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but he ended up losing ownership of Oswald completely.

Through a series of deals, Walt ended up losing not only Oswald, but also all of his animators to Universal Pictures. Disney ended up getting the rights to Oswald back in 2006.

Disney

Through a series of deals, Walt ended up losing not only Oswald, but also all of his animators to Universal Pictures. Disney ended up getting the rights to Oswald back in 2006.

5. He came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse on a train ride from New York City to Los Angeles.

The idea came to him just after he had lost Oswald and it appeared that he and Roy would be going bankrupt.

Disney / Via youtube.com

The idea came to him just after he had lost Oswald and it appeared that he and Roy would be going bankrupt.

6. He voiced Mickey Mouse himself for almost two decades.

After 1929's Karnival Kid, where Mickey spoke for the first time, Walt provided the voice until Mickey and the Beanstalk in 1947.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

After 1929’s Karnival Kid, where Mickey spoke for the first time, Walt provided the voice until Mickey and the Beanstalk in 1947.

7. During World War II, Walt and his team of animators helped produce close to 70 hours of instructional films for all branches of the armed forces.

They also crafted several propaganda films at the request of the US government.

Disney

They also crafted several propaganda films at the request of the US government.

8. Walt and his production team produced the first commercially released film using Technicolor’s three-color process in 1932.

Disney

From 1932 to 1935 Walt and his team held the exclusive rights to use the superior three-color process, which meant other studios fell behind Disney Studios in terms of colored animation.

9. Walt and his production team made their first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for $1.5 million — an astounding amount at the time.

Disney

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was produced during the height of the Great Depression. The film is still considered to be one of the greatest victories in the film industry.

10. Walt was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

At the ceremony, Walt was described as an "Artist and impresario. In the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

D23 / Disney / Via d23.com

At the ceremony, Walt was described as an “Artist and impresario. In the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

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