ED BLACK'S CARTOON FLASHBACK
A youthful group stands outside of the Disney Brothers Studio on Kingswell Ave. in Los Angeles in 1925. Left to right: Lillian Bounds Disney (Walt's wife); Walt Disney; Ruth Disney (Walt and Roy's sister); Roy Disney; and Roy's wife Edna. The Kingswell studio was two blocks west of the boys' Uncle Robert's home where both were staying. They produced the "Alice in Cartoonland" series and some of the "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" series here. This is where the Walt Disney Company officially began on October 16, 1923.
© The Walt Disney Company
by Ed Black
The relationship between Iwerks and Disney was symbiotic. Where Ub was quiet, Disney was outgoing, but Ub was a much better cartoonist and animator. He was fast, turning out hundreds of drawings a day.
Work began right away on the first Mickey Mouse short, but in a clandestine fashion. By contract, three more Oswald cartoons had to be made and the defectors would not be gone until June. Ub was in a room by himself animating by himself on "Plane Crazy," the first Mickey Mouse short, based on Charles Lindbergh's exploits of flying across the Atlantic.
Walt immediately copyrighted Mickey Mouse in his name so no one would ever steal a character from him again.
At night, Ub's animation was taken to Walt's Lyric Ave. garage where Lillian, Roy's wife Edna, and Lillian's sister, Hazel Sewell, did the inking and painting. Also at night, the cels were taken back to the studio where loyalist cameraman Mike Marcus put them on film. When the defecting animators returned for work, all traces of Mickey Mouse were removed.
"Plane Crazy" was finished by the middle of May and Walt, with the new character underarm, sought a new distributor. Walt first previewed the cartoon at a theater on Sunset Blvd. May 15, 1928. He paid the organist one dollar to punch up the gags. The audience reaction was satisfying to Walt and he went to work on a second cartoon, "Gallopin' Gaucho," with a new staff, Les Clark, Johnny Cannon, Wilfred Jackson and, of course, Ub Iwerks. (Clark had graduated from high school on a Friday and began work at Disney's the following Monday. He spent his entire life there and became one of the "Nine Old Men,' the group of animators who did the nuts and bolts work for character design and animation supervision for the Disney feature length classics. He retired in 1976 and died in 1979).
As it turned out, no distributor wanted Mickey Mouse. He was unknown and Walt wasn't all that known himself. He tried MGM, but they weren't interested. Walt hired a man to make the rounds in New York. He asked for $3,000 per film. The man had so many doors shut in his face that he quit trying to peddle Mickey Mouse shorts. The reason: He was unknown.
On October 6, 1927, Warner Bros. debuted "The Jazz Singer" at the Warner theater in New York. It was the first film in synchronized sound. People actually saw its star, Al Jolson, sing on film. Other studio moguls considered sound a mere fad, but the nerve endings in 25-year-old Walt Disney's head were tingling. If he could produce a Mickey Mouse cartoon with synchronized sound, perhaps it would make the distributors turn their heads.
Walt and Ub created a third Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," and Walt and newly hired animator Jackson, whose mother was a music teacher, and who brought a metronome to the studio one day, figured out how to synchronize the music and sound effects to coincide with the business on the screen. It would take 24 drawings per second and Ub marked the frames of film which a music conductor could use as a synchronization guide.
Walt took the finished film to New York, arriving the day after Labor Day, 1928 to seek out a sound company to put sound on his cartoon. Before, that, he made a side trip to Kansas City to look up an old friend, Carl Stalling, a theater organist who lent the Disneys $275 when they were running financially dry at the Kingswell studio. He had Stallings compose a score for "Steamboat Willie" that could be followed by the conductor and musicians in a sound recording session.
Walt made the rounds to the major sound companies such as Fox and RCA but to no avail. They either were not interested, wanted bags full of money or suggested he leave the film for dubbing. Walt wanted to supervise the recording session to make sure things were done right.
Finally he found Pat Powers whose Cinephone equipment was a bastardized version of copyrighted equipment of other companies, but not enough to effect a copyright infringement suit.
He charmed Disney into signing with him because he needed to promote his company. He'd do it for $1,000 dollars plus the hourly cost of the musicians, conductor and sound effects men which amounted to $270 an hour.
CONTINUES AFTER ILLUSTRATION
After the demise of the "Alice" comedies in 1927, Walt's next character was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, suggested by the head of Universal Pictures, Carl Laemmie and named by Charles Mintz, Walt's New York distributor who had struck a deal with Universal for wider distribution. When Walt went to New York to negotiate a new contract with Mintz in 1928, he was informed Mintz had hired away all his animators except Ub Iwerks. He also learned that Oswald was the property of Universal Pictures, not Walt Disney.
The day for the recording session had come and Walt went over the score with the conductor -- who brought a larger orchestra than Walt wanted -- to make sure he understood the markings on the film. The conductor ignored it and the first session was completely out of sync, as was the next and the next. Walt called Roy to send more money. Roy sold Walt's Moon roadster, which shocked Walt. He loved the car and the event stiffened his spine. He demanded the conductor cut down the number of musicians and pay attention to the markings. The final session, at night, was perfect. Now all he had to do was find a distributor.
Powers opened some doors, but it was deja vu. Mickey Mouse was unknown. Preview after preview resulted in rejection---until he met Harry Reichenbach, manager of the Colony Theater, who told Walt that these "clucks" -- referring to the distributors -- were afraid to make a decision. They liked "Steamboat Willie," but were afraid to offer a deal. What if the deal failed? Reichenbach said only the public would influence their decision and he offered Walt $500 a week to show "Steamboat Willie" for two weeks, starting November 18, 1928.
Reichenbach was right. The public -- and the trade and general press -- loved the cartoon, fascinated by the synchronized sound and the charm of Mickey Mouse. Even the New York Times lauded the picture: "It was an ingenious piece of work and a good deal of fun."
The distributors came running with lucrative offers -- even Universal, the same company that stole his animators and Oswald character. There was one catch: All wanted control and the copyright for Mickey Mouse. Walt steadfastly refused. No one would have control of the character but him, period.
Powers offered a deal. He would distribute the Mickey Mouse cartoons to promote his Cinephone system and take 10% of the gross. He wrote a check for $2,500 and gave it to Walt.
Roy was less than enthusiastic about the contract, pointing out the part where the Disneys were to pay Powers $26,000 a year for ten years for the use of the Cinephone equipment which Powers shipped to the Hyperion Ave. studio. Walt hired Stallings to come west and score "Plane Crazy," "Gallopin' Gaucho," and the latest Ub Iwerks-animated Mickey, "The Barn Dance." All would be released as synchronized sound cartoons.
Mickey Mouse took the world by storm. Reporters showed up at the studio to do articles on Walt Disney. The trades and the general press couldn't praise the cartoons enough. The Disneys were making money---but were seeing little of it.
Roy grew suspicious. He concluded that Powers was keeping profits which should have been sent to the Disneys. Walt, meanwhile wanted to produce cartoons other than Mickey Mouse. Stalling played a part of Felix Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre" on the piano one afternoon suggesting skeletons jumping out of their graves at night and dancing all over the graveyard. Walt loved the idea as did Iwerks who animated it in a few weeks. The finished work was titled "The Skeleton Dance" and sent to New York for scoring. Powers hated it. He ordered more mice. Walt took the film to a theater owner on Sunset Blvd. who ran it and loved it. He contacted a friend in New York to run it at his theater and again the public was enthused over the non-Mickey film. Walt subtitled it a "Silly Symphony" and a new series was born.
Meanwhile, Roy's suspicions of being cheated by Powers were so strong he went to New York to look over Powers' financial ledgers. He returned realizing he was so charmed by Powers that he never did see the books. Next, he, Walt and their lawyer, Gunther Lessing went to visit Powers. Powers was angry that they would doubt his integrity, and then he revealed a shocking revelation: He had signed Ub Iwerks to quit Disney and work for him, showing them a telegram from Iwerks if they doubted it. Walt was shocked. He and Ub had a history going back to Kansas City. Powers offered Walt to go with him, too, giving control of Mickey Mouse to Powers. Walt of course refused.
Roy calculated Powers had cheated them out of $150,000 in film rentals. Going to court would cost much more, so they paid Powers $50,000 to break the contract.
The Disneys needed a new distributor and found one in Harry Cohn, the grizzled head of Columbia Pictures, who wasn't afraid of Powers' threats as Powers had done with other distributors if they associated with Disney.
Cohn offered to finance new cartoons and give the Disneys 65% of the take with an open book policy which they could inspect anytime.
As time went on, however, the deal fell short because a percentage of the receipts not only went for the price of transportation, prints, insurance and such, it went to pay down the $50,000 loan Columbia gave Disney to get out from under Powers.
Walt and Roy asked for $15,000 per cartoon and Columbia refused. They struck a deal with United Artists for distribution and got their $15,000.
In 1931, experimentation with color film was progressing, but wasn't ready for live-action. It could be used with cartoons and the head of Technicolor invited Walt to a session. Walt decided right away that cartoons in color would be a sensation. He asked for -- and got -- a two-year exclusive use for Technicolor, so other cartoon producers wouldn't rush to use it, thereby increasing the competition.
CONTINUES AFTER ILLUSTRATION
On the train ride from New York to California, a dejected Walt Disney, whose staff had been taken from him, sketched out a mouse and named him Mortimer. Mrs. Lillian Disney did not like the name and suggested Mickey -- or so one legend goes. Another says that Ub Iwerks, knowing Disney Studio had no character to animate, sketched several new ones and greeted Walt at the door with them, and Walt chose the mouse. One thing is for certain: Walt never animated Mickey Mouse, but worked on the stories. Ub did the animation and Mickey was a resounding success.
© The Walt Disney Company
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How Walt introduced it to his cartoons typifies his behavior from then on. His latest Silly Symphony, "Flowers and Trees," was half finished. He told Roy he wanted to do it over, this time in color. Roy, the ever-pragmatic keeper of the books, balked. He argued expenses would rise and they couldn't afford that. Walt was adamant. He reasoned if "Flowers and Trees" was released in color, orders would increase and more money would come in. Roy relented -- again. Whenever Walt planned something, there was no turning back. He saw it through to the end -- despite the fact funds were running low.
When Sid Grauman, owner of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd., (the theater with handprints of famous movie stars in cement outside), previewed it, he immediately booked "Flowers and Trees" to appear with his next scheduled feature. The cartoon was a sensation, in July, 1932. "Flowers and Trees" received as many booking orders as the Mickey Mouse cartoons. In November of that year, the cartoon received an Oscar as best cartoon of the year. Walt got another Oscar that night: for the creation of Mickey Mouse.
In fact, in throughout the 1930s, Walt became the darling of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1931 to 1942, the Disney Studio won Oscars in that category each year except 1934 and 1940. There were special Oscars, too. In 1937, the studio won for scientific achievement for the development of the "multiplane" camera, a huge device which created the illusion of depth; In 1938 Walt was presented a large Oscar and seven smaller ones for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs;" in 1941 Walt got the Irving Thalberg Award for consistent high quality productions and an Oscar for sound in "Fantasia."
Other producers of cartoons were content to produce cartoons as long as they stayed within budget. Several such as Leon Schlesinger, were lucky that they hired such gifted personnel as Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Mike Maltese and Ted Pierce, among others, who went on to create great characters (Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, Yosemite Same, and Speedy Gonzales) and highly popular cartoons.
Walt always wanted to improve. In 1933, "The Three Little Pigs" was a breakthrough in personality animation. There was a reason for each character's behavior, not just one slapstick joke after the other as Charles Mintz demanded ten years before in the Alice comedies. Walt also wanted better artists, so he sent his crew to the Chouinard Art Institute two nights a week in 1931, driving them there after work. Later, he established the school on the Hyperion Ave. studio soundstage three nights a week with Chouinard teacher Don Graham showing the intricacies of animation.
In 1934, he called some of his staff to the sound stage and acted out "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," announcing that would be the studio's first feature-length cartoon, something unheard of then. Other producers scoffed, referring to the plan as "Disney's Folly." Walt put himself and his staff under tremendous pressure. It was do or die. The original estimate for the picture was $500,000; The final cost was over $1.5 million. Walt was repeatedly going to the Bank of America for more loans; Roy was pulling his hair. (One day he showed some rough pencil tests to a bank official in his quest for another loan. Walt was uncomfortable because the banker was probably used to seeing finished color cartoons. Afterward, he walked to his car without saying a word, Walt following, sweating bullets. As he got in his car, the banker said, "Mr. Disney, you got your loan. You go ahead and finish this picture because you and I are going to make hatfuls of money."
Walt drove himself and his staff. He developed the practice of viewing animators' pencil tests, film shot of their drawings before they were inked and painted on the transparent cels, in sessions called "the sweat box" because of the lack of air conditioning and the stress involved. Walt would send them back to do scenes over again if he were not satisfied with the pencil tests, thereby increasing the costs. He worked seven days a week many times sleeping at the studio. It was stressful for Lillian, too, because their daughter Diane, born in 1933, was in the "terrible twos," and the Disneys had adopted another daughter, Sharon, born December 31, 1936, who needed looking after.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" debuted at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood, December 21, 1937, with scores of Hollywood stars and moguls in the audience. The picture was a sensation and grossed eight million dollars in its first release, the highest grossing picture until "Gone With The Wind" in 1938. Walt and Roy bought 51 acres of land in Burbank and built a new studio because they ran out of room on Hyperion Ave. For "Snow White" Walt had to buy adjacent apartment buildings and build across the street to make room for the 300 artists who worked on the film. They moved there in 1940 and the Walt Disney Company is still in the same location.
Tragedy visited the Disneys during the production of "Snow White." Roy and Edna had a son in 1930, Roy Edward Disney, (now vice president of production of animation) and Walt and Lillian had the two girls. They moved their parents from, Oregon, to Hollywood so they could be with them and watch the grandkids grow. Elias even did some carpentry while the Burbank studio was under construction! But one night the furnace malfunctioned and carbon monoxide filled the house. Elias survived, but Flora was overcome by the toxic fumes and died. Walt never did get over that situation.
The rest of his career has been well documented in several books which are readily available at libraries and bookstores. Walt put other feature-length pictures into production: "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," and "Bambi," only to see the European market closed by 1939 because of World War II, and the pictures lost money. There was the bitter strike to unionize his staff from May until August, 1940, which Walt -- and Gunther Lessing -- handled badly. Walt believed the organizers were communists and testified so at Kefauver Un-American Activities hearings in 1948. He even became an anticommunist informant for the FBI reporting directly to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
From that time on, despite keeping just a few steps ahead of the sheriff financially, it seemed that everything Walt touched turned to gold. New pictures such as "Song of the South," using Ub Iwerks's newly developed special effects techniques marrying live actors with cartoon characters (his Powers-backed studio eventually failed and he returned to Walt's employ in 1940, concentrating on technical developments), the making of "Cinderella" in 1951 which pulled the studio out of hock, the advent of television which other studio moguls feared, but Walt embraced eventually creating "Disneyland" on ABC-TV in October, 1955 and "The Mickey Mouse Club" the same month and year, both of which were successes.
The creation of Disneyland was another goal Walt concocted, again to the consternation of Roy. No other movie producer wanted an amusement park, but Walt did. Again, nothing stood in his way. Those nerve endings crackled overtime. Disneyland was built and became a new type of entertainment called theme parks -- and other studios built them as well.
Walt Disney became what he became because it was all there in his head, even as he waded in the farm pond in Marceline, Missouri, in 1908 and as he washed bottles in his father's short-lived jelly factory in 1915. Those nerve endings were just waiting for the opportunity to kick into gear. Walt never set out to get into animation; He was only introduced to it at age 20 in Kansas City by being hired by a film ad company which used animation. And he later walked away from animation after his little film studio in Kansas City was forced into bankruptcy, an embarrassing situation back then, only to return to it when he couldn't find work in Hollywood. Walt had a defective gene, if one wants to call it that. He had no fear of taking risks. Adding sound to cartoons, color, feature-length cartoons, theme parks, television, etc. Walt's attitude was let's do it; Forget the cost for the profits will come in -- and he was right.
Had Walt been born during the American Revolution, say, he would have become a patriot firing his gun at British regulars and Hessians and, had he survived, would have returned to the soil to farm or become a tradesman Those nerve endings would have lain dormant. But he came along at the right time. Animation was new and he and his artists took it to higher levels. Other studios had animation subsidiaries only to close them in the late '50s and early '60s. Even Hanna-Barbera, created by two ex-MGM guys specifically for TV, is no more, but the Walt Disney Co. continues to produce animated cartoons for theaters and for television, in a new building built expressly for animation production across Riverside Drive, across from the rear entrance to the Burbank studio.
The bank building in Kansas City where Walt's older brother Roy worked and learned the intricacies of finance which he later employed after they formed an animation studio in California in 1923. Walt's strength was in story and ideas; Roy's was in watching the financial ledgers and raising the money to underwrite Walt's fantastic concepts. It was truly a symbiotic relationship. This building is now a public library.
Photo: Ed Black
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Fast forward to 2004. There is a movement afoot in Kansas City to restore the building at 31st and Forest which housed the Laugh-O-gram studio in 1922-1923. The structure is rickety now, but the group, Thank You Walt Disney, bought it and saved it from being torn down. It is supported by steel supports embedded in cement and part of the roof has caved in, but restoration has already begun. The Disney family is involved, promising to match $450,000. To raise money TYWD is offering a print for $25, which is a portrait of Walt Disney, his early efforts and the studio building. It is tax deductible and would look great in any cartoonist's studio or a child's or grandchild's room or in the living room. To get one (or more) send $25 toThank You Walt Disney 215 E. 18th St. Kansas City, Mo. 64108.
There is also a new book out: Walt Disney's Missouri, by Brian Burnes, Robert Butler and Atty. Dan Viets. It's $34.95 and is worth every penny! It details Walt's life in Marceline and Kansas City and how he never forgot his roots. It is richly, richly illustrated with vintage pictures. It's available through Amazon.com at this link, or, send $34.95 plus $5.00 for postage and handling to:Atty. Dan Viets 15 North 10th St. Columbia, MO 65201
In Kansas City many of the places Walt Disney roamed still exist. A few places have been torn down. During the Reuben Awards weekend May 28-30 ,2004 some members of the NCS -- including two GLCers -- were given a tour of the Disney landmarks by Atty. Viets and Ted Cauger, 85, whose father, A.V. Cauger, hired 18-year-old Walt Disney at his Kansas City Film Ad Co. where young Disney was introduced to animation. NCS members saw the Disney boyhood home, the garage behind the home where he set up a makeshift animation studio and taught himself animation, the building which housed the bank where Roy worked (now part of the Kansas City Public Library system) before being diagnosed with tuberculosis, the school which Walt attended a few blocks from his home where he impressed the principal by imitating Abraham Lincoln on his own, the old library where he and Ub Iwerks found two books on animation, and the building in which Laugh-O-grams Films was located. It was enlightening to say the least. In fact one of the members on the tour exclaimed it was the highlight of the Reuben weekend.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT WALT DISNEY
· Walt Disney was indirectly responsible for MGM's classic movie, "The Wizard of OZ"
When "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was in production, other movie magnates scoffed at the idea. Who would sit through a feature-length cartoon? They called it "Disney's Folly." But after "Snow White's" release in 1938 it became the highest grossing picture until the release of "Gone With The Wind" in 1939. Two studios were suddenly interested in a childrens' fantasy film. MGM's animation division was too small and Louis B. Mayer, the studio honcho, opted not to augment it. He chose the live-action "Wizard of OZ" and starred Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr. The rest, as they say, was history. One wonders if Louis B. Mayer ever looked toward Burbank and said, "Thank You, Walt Disney."
· Walt Disney influenced the thinking of two U.S. presidents
During World War II Walt Disney thought "Victory Through Air Power" by Alexander de Seversky would make a good movie. Seversky advocated the use of air power to fight and win wars -- a theory which got Gen. Billy Mitchell in trouble with the brass in the 1920s. The picture was made in 1942. Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill saw it and badgered President Franklin D. Roosevelt to see it, which he eventually did. After that, FDR issued an edict ordering development of more bombers and fighter planes and more emphasis on bombing runs over enemy territory.
In the late 1950s, one of Disney's "Nine Old Men" of animation, Ward Kimball, approached him and suggested they do some programs for the "Disneyland" TV show on the ABC network on the exploration of space, which Kimball had read about in Collier's magazine. Walt hired the scientists who wrote the articles -- Heinz Haber, Willie Lay and Werner von Braun -- and each hosted one of three segments. President Eisenhower saw the programs and formed the group which became NASA -- the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- which landed a man on the moon in July of 1969.
· Anyone wishing-to see "Alice's Cartoonland," the unfinished combination live-action-cartoon film shot inside the Laugh-O-gram studios and which eventually won Walt a contract with Margaret Winkler in California can do so by purchasing the two-disc DVD on ''Alice in Wonderland." "Alice's Cartoonland," for some reason, is not mentioned on the package's exterior, but is on disc two nevertheless. In it viewers can see a young Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Rudolph Ising, Otto Walliman and others, which is why this film is of historical significance.
· Walt Disney jumped into television with both feet
When the medium of television began to take hold in the late 1940s, it caused the Hollywood moguls to quake. They surmised if people stayed home to watch TV, they'd stop going to the movies thus ushering in the end of the studios. Walt Disney never felt that way. He welcomed television with open arms as a good way to promote his forthcoming pictures, both animated and live-action and a good way to promote his future theme park, Disneyland. He proved right on both accounts. The first Disney venture into television is on the same DVD disc in the "Alice in Wonderland'' package that has "Alice's Cartoonland." It was a television special which was broadcast on Christmas Day evening, 1950. It starred Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and was sponsored by Coca-Cola. It gave Walt a chance to promote his then-forthcoming feature-length picture,"Alice in Wonderland," plus clips from other films such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Song of the South." People get a glimpse of Walt the actor when he calls forth the "spirit" in the magic mirror. Even Walt's two daughters, Diane and the late Sharon, are in it. The show was on for an hour and was broadcast in black-and-white since there was no color TV in 1950. The Disney people, for this DVD, put the cartoon sequences in color. Viewers also get to see "The Firehouse Five Plus Two" jazz group made up of Disney studio artists. They see Ward Kimball, its leader, on trombone and Frank Thomas on piano. The septet was popular around L.A. and even recorded record albums. It began as a lunch hour diversion at the studio and expanded.
Walt went on to create "Disneyland" for the ABC-TV network which debuted in October, 1954. Then in 1955 came "The Mickey Mouse Club" then "Zorro" in 1958. He switched to NBC a few years later for "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color." On that note, other Hollywood moguls saw how successful Walt was in television and they joined up, too. Both Warner Bros. and MGM had programs on network television. Did they bow toward Burbank and utter, "Thank you, Walt Disney?"
· Historical Disney Films Found
In 1971, a print of the Laugh-O-gram-produced "Tommy Tucker's Tooth" was found in the basement of the American Dental Association headquarters in Chicago. The print was sent to the Disney Archives in Burbank, California for restoration. A news release was dispatched and the story appeared in newspapers all over the world. One day the studio received a letter from a Dr. John Records of Oklahoma City. He revealed as an eleven-year-old student at Benton School in Kansas City, he was selected by Walt Disney to play the kid in the film who neglected his dental hygiene. He wrote the filming was done at the Laugh-O-grams studio and he remembered seeing two men working at their light boards on the animated sequences featuring tooth decay germs. After the filming was over, he said, Walt called him into his office and presented him with a five or a ten dollar bill for services rendered. The studio presented Dr. Records with a print of the film.
And in the summer of 1998, through some miracle, 16 mm prints of ''Little Red Riding Hood'' and "Cinderella" were found in London in the possession of film collector David Wyatt. These were two of the six Laugh-O-grams produced under the Pictorial Films contract. Wyatt said he bought them from an old film library as they were clearing out their inventory for $3.00! How these films wound up in London is still a mystery. The Disney studio restored them and sent the originals back to Wyatt. At this time the Disney Company has no plans to put these three films on DVD as they did with "Alice's Wonderland." Why?
· Walt Disney Concert Hall is Now Open
In 1972, Walt Disney's widow (he died December 15,1966) wanted something in Los Angeles built so that her husband could be remembered. She wrote out a check for $50,000,000 and sent it to Los Angeles officials with that request (remember when Walt, in Kansas City, could pay the $1.50 for shoe repair to meet with Dr.Thomas McCrum to discuss a dental hygiene film?) After many delays the result was the $270,000,000 Walt Disney Concert Hall which opened October 23,2003 and is the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Coincidentally, it was on that same date, that Walt and Roy established Disney Bros. studio on Kingswell Ave. in Los Angeles). Sadly, Lillian Disney was not around to see the fruition of her initial contribution. She died in December, 1998.
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