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The rodent quickly became a star, and soon there were Mickey Mouse Clubs for children as well as merchandise and a comic strip.
When Mickey spoke for the first time, in 1929’s “The Karnival Kid” (his words were “Hot dog, hot dog”), Walt was unhappy with how the character sounded and went on to lend his own voice to the mouse until 1947’s “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” when he said he was too busy to continue doing so.
In response, he developed a new character originally dubbed Mortimer Mouse before it was decided Mickey would be a better moniker.
He was sent to France in late 1918, shortly after the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting.
Disney spent his time driving Red Cross officials and doing other tasks before being discharged in 1919.
Additionally, after reading the 1942 best-seller “Victory Through Air Power” by Major Alexander de Seversky, Walt, driven by his own patriotism, decided to adapt it as a 1943 live action-animated feature of the same name in order to win support for the book’s theories—considered controversial by some U. military officials—about strategic long-range bombing. Both President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill saw the film, which reportedly made an impression on them.
The famous filmmaker had a long fascination with trains.
During the war, Disney employees created educational films for various federal agencies, including a 1942 animated short, “The New Spirit,” commissioned by the Treasury Department to encourage people to pay their income taxes as a way to support the war effort.
The film, which starred Donald Duck, was shown in thousands of movie theaters and even earned an Academy Award nomination.
After producing various short, animated cartoons, the studio started making a series in 1927 about a character Walt had developed called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
However, the next year, in what was a major blow, Walt lost the rights to his popular creation and many of his employees were poached in a corporate dispute.
Walt originally intended to build a small amusement park near his Burbank studio; however, his plans soon grew more ambitious and in 1953 he hired a research firm to find the optimal southern California location for a large-scale theme park.
After studying factors such as population growth, weather patterns and transportation options, the firm recommended the site that would become Disneyland’s home: a 160-acre parcel, consisting mostly of orange trees, in Anaheim.
In 1922, he opened a film studio called Laugh-O-Gram but it struggled financially and shut down in 1923.