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The Birth of the Pioneering Disney Studios

May 7, 2008
The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy Disney in Los Angeles. The Disney brothers started by creating a series of live-action/animated short films collectively named The Alice Comedies. Within four months of the first screenings, the brothers were urged to relocate to larger facilities, dubbed "Disney Bros. Studio." According their official website, in 1925 the Disney brothers made a deposit on a lot on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles. This lot would house the Disney Studio for the next 14 years, seeing the beginning of such beloved characters as Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald Duck.

In fact, it was Walt Disney's wife Lillian Marie Disney who gave Mickey Mouse his name. Her husband wanted to name his new character Mortimer Mouse. She claimed this suggestion was one of her prouder moments. Representative of Mickey's victory and popularity was the rewarding of a special Academy Award for "Mickey Mouse" in 1932. Mickey was colorized in 1935 and soon his friends were drawn in their own individual series. Donald Duck and Pluto would all get their own series in 1937, while Goofy would get a solo series in 1939. Again, according to the Disney website, of all of Mickey's friends, only Donald Duck would rival the beloved mouse's popularity. The two characters shared the screen first in 1934, in a cartoon called Orphan's Benefit.

The cartoon shorts would make way in 1937 for the pioneering full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White was met with phenomenal acclaim and success, solidifying Disney's brilliance. This world-wide acclaim prompted Disney to secure 51 acres of property in Burbank and break ground on an entirely new studio dedicated to making animated films.

Walt Disney was exclusively involved with designing the new studio, right down to the smallest details. From the layout of the buildings to the design of the animators' chairs, nothing missed his keen eye. His intention was creating a self-sufficient, state-of-the-art production facility that could oversee all the means of animation, from start to finish. He also had separate buildings dedicated to each facet of animation, including Inking and Painting and the Camera building where the artwork was finished and photographed. All of the post-production work was finished in the Cutting building. These buildings were linked together by an complex system of underground tunnels so nothing could disturb production, including bad weather. To create a campus feel, Disney had all the utilities sunk underground to prevent any unsightly views.

It was from this innovative studio in Burbank that Disney would bring many of its favorite family films, including Fantasia, Bambi, Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland, and Peter Pan
About the Author
Steve Collins is an Author in Encino, CA. A Huge Disney fan, he uses the Disney Movie Club to complete his collection. Read his reviews of the DVDs he buys from the Disney Movie Club.
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