Walter Elias Disney, established himself as a legend in the cartoon industry. His by products have become a genuine part of the American culture. Walt Disney has had a profound effect on many people and will continue to have for many years to come.
In 1901, on December 5th in Chicago, Illinois, Walter Elias Disney was born to Elias and Flora Disney. Even though he loved to draw, moving to a farm near Marceline, Montana in 1906 is probably what influenced his later creations. His first drawings were creations of farm animals. At the age of sixteen his family returned to Chicago where he attended McKinley High School. His real interests were at night when he took courses at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He enlisted in Military service during World War I, but was rejected because of his young age of sixteen. He then joined the Red Cross where he spent a year overseas driving an ambulance. The exterior of his ambulance was covered all over with his cartoon drawings.
After World War I, he returned to Kansas City, where he began his career as an advertising cartoonist. Here, in 1920 he created and marketed his first original animated cartoons. A few years later, he perfected a new method for combining live-action and animation.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Walt Disney met animator, Ub Iwerks and composer Carl Stalling, whom later became important to his future success. Unfortunately, the company that they had started soon went bankrupt.
In August of 1923, Walt Disney left Kansas City for Hollywood with nothing but a few drawings, forty dollars in his pocket, and a completed animated and live-action film. His brother, Roy O. Disney, gave Walt $250. They pooled all their resources. They borrowed an additional five-hundred dollars, and constructed a camera stand in their uncle s garage. Soon, they received an order from New York for the first Alice Comedy featurette. The brothers began their production operation in the rear of Hollywood real estate office. Together they started the Disney Brothers Studios.
Mickey Mouse was created in November of 1928 as a good-natured mouse who often finds himself in difficult situations. Walt s talents were first used in a silent cartoon entitled Plane Crazy which starred Mickey Mouse. However, before the cartoon could be released, sound came upon the motion picture screen. Mickey made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie , the world s first fully synchronized sound cartoon. This premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York on November 18, 1928.
Walt s drive to perfect the art of animation was endless. During the 1930s, Disney also produced the Silly Symphony series of shorts which served as a venue for experimentation for new technologies. For example, Technicolor which was one of the first color film systems was introduced to animation during the production of his Silly Symphonies . He also was responsible for the relationship between visuals and music. In 1932, the film entitled Flowers and Trees won Walt the first of his 32 personal Academy Awards. Disney introduced other popular characters in subsequent family-orientated films of the 1930 s and 1940 s, including Minnie Mouse, Mickey s girlfriend; Goofy, likeable dog and the excitable Donald Duck. In 1937, he released The Old Mill , the first short subject to utilize the multiplane camera technique. These shorts can be considered precursors to Disney s full-length animated film Fantasia, which appeared in 1940 and in which animated images served an interpretations of well-known symphonic music.
On December 21 of that same year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , the first full-length animated musical feature, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. Produced at the unheard cost of $1,499,000 during the depths of the Depression, the film in still accounted as one of the great feats and imperishable monuments of the motion picture industry. During the next five years, Walt completed such other full-length animated classics as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi.
Disney started out first creating a series of rough sketches that often will be filmed in a pencil test to determine whether the desired motion has been achieved. If the pencil test is satisfactory, images are refined by removing excess lines. If the animation is to be completed this way, the animator will use sheets of acetate cels.
His cartoon creations and style of cel animation (cleaned-up images are traced onto a cel by a person known as and inker) were used by many cartoonists. To save time and money, many large studios use a photocopy process, rather than hand inking, to transfer lines from the drawn original to the acetate cel. Later a painter will apply vinyl paint colors onto the back of the cel. This cel animation later became the industry standard had changed the Cartoon Industry.
There are many ways to create animation, depending on whether the materials used are flat (such as drawings, paintings, or cut-out pieces of paper) or dimensional (such as clay, puppets, household objects, or even people. In each case, an animator must keep in mind the basic principle of frames per second (the number of images needed to produce one second of film). Because sound film runs at twenty-four frames per second, a film animator must make twenty-four images for each second of animation that he or she wishes to create.
Although many animation techniques have been used through the years with commercial success, the Disney style of animation, known as full animation because it has constant movement and a high ratio of drawings per second of film, has had the strongest influence worldwide. During the mid-forties a successful alternate style of cel animation was introduced by another studio, United Productions of America (UPA). UPA was founded by Dave Hilberman, Zachary Schwartz, and Stephen Bosustow. They had all left Disney as a result of a strike in 1941. Interested in modern art and in addressing social issues, these artists were determined to create a new style of animation, both in form and content. Using simplified designs and stylized color, UPA made an impact on the world of advertising and the then-new field of television. UPA s technique of using fewer drawings in a more stylized way became known as limited animation.
In 1940, construction was completed on Disney s Burbank studio. The staff grew to more that 1,000 artists, animators, story men and technicians. During World War II, 94% of the Disney facilities were engaged in special government work, including the production of training and propaganda films for the armed services, as well as health films which are still shown throughout the world by the U. S. State Department. The remainder of his efforts were devoted to the production of comedy short subjects, deemed highly essential to civilian and military morale.
Disney s 1945 feature, the musical The Three Caballeros , combined live action with cartoon medium, a process he used successfully in such other features as Song of the South and the highly acclaimed Mary Poppins. In all 81 features were released the studio during his lifetime.
Walt s inquisitive mind and keen sense for education through entertainment resulted in the award-winning True-Life Adventure series. Through such films a The Living Desert, The Vanishing Prairie, The African Lion. and White Wilderness, Disney brought fascinating insights into the world of wild animals and taught the importance of conserving our nation s outdoor heritage.
In 1954, the Disney company launched a popular weekly television series called Disneyland . The series ran under various other names, including The Wonderful World of Disney until 1990. This became the longest-running prime time series in television network history.
Disneyland, launched in 1955 in a fabulous $17 million Magic Kingdom, soon increase its investment tenfold. By its third decade, more than 250 million people were entertained, including presidents, kings and queens and royalty from all over the globe.
A pioneer in the field of television programming, Disney began production in 1954, and was among the first to present full-color programming with his Wonderful World of Color in 1961. The Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro were popular favorites in the 1950 s.
At about the time of Unfited Productions of America s debut, television was gaining prominence in American society. This led to the establishment of new animation studios by Jay Ward creator of the Bullwinkle series and the team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera creators of Yogi Bear (1961-1963), The Flinstones (1960-1966) and The Jetson s (1962-1988). UPA s method of limited animation was used as a way to create material economically and quickly. High color contract and solid color fields were also widely used, since television laced the resolution of motion pictures and therefore required clearly defined images.
In 1965, Walt Disney turned his attention toward the problem of improving quality of urban life in America. He personally directed the design on an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, planned as a living showcase for the creativity of American industry.
Said Disney, I don t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that is more important to people everywhere than finding the solution to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin? Well, we re convinced we must start with the public need. And the need is not just for curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a community that will become a prototype for the future.
Disney directed the purchase of 43 square miles of virgin land twice the size of Manhattan Island in the center of the state of Florida. Here, he master planned a whole new Disney world of entertainment to include a new amusement theme park, motel-hotel resort vacation center and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. After more than seven years of master planning an preparation, including 52 months of actual construction, Walt Disney World opened to the public as scheduled on October 1, 1971. Epcot Center opened on October 1, 1982.
Two trends in the animation industry are likely to have a profound influence on its future: a significant increase in production and exhibition opportunities, and the growing importance of new technologies. Aside from television, the largest influence on the style of recent animation worldwide has come from computer technologies. Experiments with electronic animation began in the 1930 s, but it was not until the late 1970 s that computer animation became imaginable beyond scientific and government applications.
Computer-animated special effects and technologies to enhance live-action images have become a dominant characteristic of motion pictures, especially in the action, science fiction and horror areas.
During the 1990 s, the Walt Disney company produced an average of one animated feature per year. They released such successes as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994) and Pocahontas (1995). At the same time, several other Hollywood, California animation studios such as Warner Bros. And Hanna-Barbera, undertook heavy production schedules of feature-length animation, as well as shorts for television. The increasing significance of new technologies in the animation industry is exemplified in the work of American animator John Lasseter who directed Toy Story. The release of this film displayed three-dimensional animation techniques._
Prior to his death on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney took a deep interest in the establishment of California Institute of the Arts, a college level, professional school of all the creative and performing arts. Of Cal Arts, Walt once said, It s the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can help to provide a place to develop the talent of the future, I think I will have accomplished something.
Walt Disney is a legend and a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideas which his name represents: imagination, optimism and self-made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney did more to touch the hearts, minds, and emotions of millions of Americans than any other man in the past century. Through his work, he brought joy, happiness, and a universal means of communication to the people of every nation.
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