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Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Walt Disney
Transcript of Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Walt Disney
He dropped out of high school to join the army
During the first World War, 16-year-old Walt Disney left school and attempted to enlist in the army. He was rejected for being underage, but managed to find employment with the Red Cross as an ambulance driver.
Mickey Mouse's original name was Mortimer
In the mouse’s first few shorts, he was referred to as Mortimer Mouse, but Lillian Disney managed to convince her husband that Mickey would be a more marketable name. Mortimer later became Mickey’s Brooklyn-accented rival (below), vying for Minnie Mouse’s affection.
He was the original voice behind Mickey Mouse
While mostly known for his skills as an animator, director and producer, Disney also tried his hand at voice acting. From Mickey’s inception in 1928, all the way to 1947, the mouse’s voice was provided by Disney before being turned over to English voice actor Jimmy MacDonald . Disney loved the character so much that he returned to the studio in 1955 to voice Mickey Mouse shorts for his company’s television show The Mickey Mouse Club
A new Big Idea
When word got out that Disney planned to turn Snow White into a feature film, industry insiders were convinced his efforts would fail, calling the project “Disney’s Folly.” His detractors were almost correct. Disney did in fact run out of funding during Snow White‘s production, and was forced to show loan officers a rough cut of the movie before he could secure additional financing. Luckily for both Disney and his creditors, Snow White turned out to be a smashing success. The film earned over $8 million during it’s initial release — about $130 million today.
He could be the US government’s best friend
Not only did a young Disney attempt to help America on the field of battle, but he also helped several federal agencies throughout his career with animation. He created training films for the US military, propaganda films urging Americans to pay their taxes, and multiple anti-Hitler shorts meant to boost US morale at home. Disney also helped the State Department improve relations with South America by making a 1941 goodwill tour (featuring a specially made movie entitled Saludos Amigos), and later aided NASA by developing documentaries about the space program.
He received more Academy Awards and nominations than any other person in history
Between 1932 and 1969, Disney won 22 Academy Awards and was nominated 59 times. Included amongst this trove of Oscars are three awards created specifically for him — one for creating Mickey Mouse, another recognizing his contribution of music in the field of animation, and a specially made prize honoring Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that featured a traditional statuette, and seven miniature versions alongside of it.
That is to say, no one knows what they were supposed to mean. Shortly before succumbing to lung cancer, Disney scribbled the words “Kurt Russell” on a piece of paper. According to Russell, best known for his performance in The Thing and Escape from New York, the reasons are mystery to him as well. At the time of Disney’s death, Russell was a child actor working for the studio and had yet to achieve widespread fame.
His last words remain a mystery
After his death, he was NOT cryogenically frozen
One fact that everyone thinks they know about Walt Disney is that his body has been preserved through cryogenics. However, as Snopes long ago revealed, there is no truth to this urban legend. All available documentation states that Disney was cremated after death —and the first-ever cryogenic freezings took place a month after Disney passed on
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