It was All Started by a Mouse: A Walt Disney Story


Imagine our childhood without Silly Symphonies, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Duck Tales, Disney’s Fairy Tales and all of those characters. So boring, yes? And, it would have been indeed if Walt Disney would not have happened.

Walt Disney’s fame is world famous and his creations are the epitome of creativity.

He brought ideas to life and created an entire world of cartoons which paved ways of amusement of so many generations and generations yet to come.

In his 65 years of an incredible journey, he became the pioneer of mainstream animation in Hollywood.

But, this was all hard earned.

Earlier, Disney was just another farm boy brought up in a country. He was not rich, in fact, his family was quite bad to do.

At an early age, he started to draw pictures for money which he sold to his neighbors.

He also became the chief cartoonist for the school magazine.

But, as days passed and the boy grew up into a man, he realized that there was certainly no industry for cartoonist then.

So, no one was ready to hire him for his best skills. His brother came to his aid who helped him find jobs but nothing good turned up.

As due to lack of money he had gone homeless, his brother also offered him his home to stay for the meantime.

Later with one friend of his Disney formed freelancing cartoon company that used to accept projects from various businesses and people.

But, that eventually failed which led Disney to form another advertising business. There, Disney also drew cartoons on trucks and ambulances to get some money.

Eventually, Disney got interested in animation. He later shut down the advertising business to join ‘Laugh-O-Gram’ a cartoon development company owned by Iwerks.

After a successful run, they formed Oswald, a cartoon character which later was replaced by Mickey Mouse around 1930.

Oswald was the original Mortimer Mouse. AND Mickey Mouse was a RENAMED mortimer. But Disney’s favorite was Mortimer. That was the first name Walt came up with, until Lillian (Walt Disney’s wife) suggested that Mickey SOUNDED cooler. And, she was right!


-Iwerks, Co-creator of Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney gave Mickey Mouse his voice until 1947. According to one old Disney employee:

Iwerks designed Mickey’s physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul.

Disney had a hard time finding distributors for Mickey Mouse but after years of finding he finally signed up with Columbia Pictures.

In 1941,  Disney pioneered the concept of color animations and bought black and white Mickey Mouse to color along with designing several iconic cartoons like Donald Duck, Goofy, and the Silly Symphonies.

With his rise in the animation industry, he bought his entire company from Columbia and formed a separate Walt Disney Animation. The iconic brand logo of the company is still unchanged, which is actually the autograph of Walt Disney.

In 1950, Disney produced his first animated feature film- Cinderella. The movie was praised by both critics and audiences.

But due to several reasons, his next few ventures failed subsequently. And, so poverty again found him. This time with the greater loss. His name, goodwill and company’s existence came at a risk.

His projects were consecutively failing and he did not have much in hand. It was one last shot at redemption when he released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which went on to be a super hit.

And after that, there was no stopping. Walt Disney in 1960, built a theme park at Hong-Kong called the Disney Land.

Five years later, Disney died of lungs cancer.

A year later, his last unfinished project The Jungle Book released and became a blockbuster.

Today, Walt Disney’s legacy inspires all who aspire to do unconventional and go against all odds. Walt Disney Studios is now the biggest media animation studios with a net worth of 36.5 million USD.

With his story, we can takeaway that even little things can lead us to bigger destinies. As the maestro himself once said:

I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.