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Fascinating facts about Walt Disney
inventor of the multiplane camera in 1936.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney, inventor of the multiplane camera in 1936, is a legend and a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity is based upon the ideas his name represents: imagination, optimism, and self-made success in the American tradition. Through his work he brought joy, happiness, and a universal means of communication.
Inventor: Walter Elias Disney
Criteria: First to invent. First to patent. Entrepreneur..
Birth: December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois.
Death: December 16, 1966
Nationality: American
Invention: Multiplane Camera in 1936  
Function: noun / still frame motion picture camera
Definition: Disney’s invention of the multiplane camera brought better looking, richer animation and in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated film to use the camera.
Patent:  2,201,689 (US) issued May 21, 1940
An aspiring cartoonist leaves for Hollywood
1924 Partnered with older brother Roy, and the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was officially born.
1928 First Mickey Mouse cartoon "Steamboat Willie" released on November 18, in New York.
1930 Mickey made his debut merchandising appearance on pencil tablets, books and comic strips
1936 Walt invents
Multiplane Camera to improve the filming quality of his first picture film.
1937 First full-length animated film
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was released..
1954 "Disneyland" anthology series premiered on network television. It remained onTV for 29 years
1955 Opening of his fantastic theme park in Anaheim, California -- Disneyland. 
1966 Before his death Walt purchased 28,000 acres near Orlando, Florida, to build his dream world.

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The Story:
The creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Theme Parks was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1901. His father, Elias Disney, was Irish-Canadian. His mother, Flora Call Disney, was of German-American descent. Walt was one of five children, four boys and a girl.

Raised on a farm near Marceline, Missouri, Walt became interested in drawing at an early age, selling his first sketches to neighbors when he was only seven years old. At McKinley High School in Chicago, Disney divided his attention between drawing and photography, contributing both to the school paper. At night he attended the Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1923 an aspiring cartoonist named Walter Elias Disney left for Hollywood. Twenty-one years old, Walt's only possessions were a suitcase, a sketchbook, and the $40 in his pocket. A legend was about to be born. In Hollywood, Walt peddled his first cartoon series, the "Alice Comedies," and landed a distribution deal. He soon partnered with older brother Roy O. Disney, and the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was officially born.

For four years, the Disney Brothers made "Alice Comedies" and 26 episodes of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit." Then came Mickey Mouse. Conceived by Walt during a train ride, "Steamboat Willie" was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon released on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York. "Steamboat Willie" featured the first appearance of Minnie Mouse as well as the first use of fully synchronized sound, at a time when sound was revolutionizing the film industry.

Mickey and Minnie were instant hits. In 1930, Mickey made his debut merchandising appearance on pencil tablets. The year 1930 also marked the first publication of a Mickey Mouse book and newspaper comic strip.

Walt Disney experimented with the revolutionary Technicolor process, and "Flowers and Trees," part of the "Silly Symphony" series, was the first industry full-color release. "Flowers and Trees" won the Academy Award® for Best Cartoon in 1932, the first year such a category was offered. It was the first of 32 Academy Awards Walt Disney won personally.

Ever industrious and inventive, Walt Disney was not satisfied with producing cartoons. In 1934, the Disney Studio began work on the first full-length animated movie. Three years later, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was ready for a 1937 Christmas release. It was a tremendous success at the box office and provided the financial means for the Disney's' move to the Burbank Studio.

"Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" (both 1940) were followed by "Dumbo" and "Bambi," in '41 and '42, before Walt Disney focused his studio's creative energies on the war effort. During World War II, The Walt Disney Studio made propaganda and training films for the military, as well as two goodwill pictures in South America ("Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros"), at the request of the State Department.

Following the war, Walt Disney resumed production of award-winning and innovative cartoons and animated movies, while branching out into live-action and television. "Treasure Island," Disney's first completely live-action movie, was released in 1950.

Walt Disney forever changed his company's future in 1954 when his "Disneyland" anthology series premiered on network television. This series would eventually air on all three networks and undergo six title changes. It remained on television for 29 years, making it the longest-running prime-time series ever. In the realm of daytime children's programming, "Mickey Mouse Club" premiered in 1955 and quickly became an American television classic.

Brilliantly successful with his cartoons, motion pictures, and television programs, Walt Disney's imagination and drive to create were not yet fully tapped. He had many more ideas to explore one of which was realized on July 17, 1955, with the opening of his fantastic theme park in Anaheim, California -- Disneyland. 

Walt Disney continued to produce hit television series, such as "Zorro," and beloved movies, including "Mary Poppins," the Academy Award®-winner which quite possibly marked the pinnacle of his entire screen storytelling experience.

Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney purchased 28,000 acres near Orlando, Florida, where he planned to build his dream world, unhampered by the urban sprawl that now surrounded Disneyland in Anaheim.

Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, and included a Magic Kingdom theme park like Disneyland, as well as hotels, golf courses, campgrounds, and shopping villages. Walt Disney World quickly became one of the world's premier vacation destinations.

Walt's brother Roy Disney, who had overseen the building of Walt Disney World following Walt's death, died in 1971. A dedicated team trained by the Disney brothers, which included Card Walker, Donn Tatum, and Ron Miller, led the company to realize one of Walt Disney's last plans -- the building of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, also known as EPCOT. EPCOT Center opened on October 1, 1982, to great acclaim.

In its present incarnation, The Walt Disney Company has made even greater strides in motion picture producing, television programming, feature animations, and family entertainment destinations.Today, The Walt Disney Company includes theme parks, motion picture and television studios, a television network, cable and radio stations, newspaper and book publishing companies, record companies, travel divisions, a cruise line, retail stores, special effects and engineering firms, new media companies, and much more.

Built on the unlimited imagination, creative talent, technical genius, and dedication of Walt Disney and countless other men and women, The Walt Disney Company has become a leading entertainment corporation. Founded more than seven decades ago, The Walt Disney Company continues to grow, guided by its mandate of providing quality entertainment for the entire family.


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Disney A to Z; The Updated Official Encyclopedia Revised
by Dave Smith / Hardcover - 640 pages / Disney Editions,
Updated edition (August 1998)
More than 6,500 entries and hundreds of photographs combine to provide a comprehensive reference on the world of Disney, providing authoritative coverage of the history of Disney, park attractions, television shows, songs, animated features and shorts, films, and much more.

Disney: The First 100 Years
by David Smith, Steven B. Clark / Paperback: 224 pages / Disney Editions; Updated edition (2003)
The coming of a new millennium is truly a momentous occasion, one which naturally provokes a desire to look back at the accomplishments of the previous 100 years.

The Quotable Walt Disney
by Dave Smith, Walt Disney / Paperback: 272 pages / Disney Editions (April 2001)

His vision revolutionized everything from television to theme parks. But this book is perhaps the preeminent aspect of his legacy - his philosophies and his dreams.
Inside the Dream: The Personal Story of Walt Disney
by Richard Greene, Katherine Greene / Hardcover: 191 pages / Disney Editions  (October, 2001)
Walt Disney is well on his way to becoming the most written about creative talent in American film. This is the 100th anniversary of his birth and thankfully any examination of his life can still include careful interviews with people who knew him and worked with him.

Walt - The Man Behind The Myth
DVD / Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound /  Walt Disney Home Ent.(March 2004) / Also on VHS
This is the fascinating story of Walt Disney based on all-new interviews with friends, family and collaborators, and featuring excerpts from Walt's never before seen home movies.

Walt Disney Biography
"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing -- that it was all started by a mouse."
Walt Disney Family Foundation
Founded in 1995, the Foundation strives to promote and produce serious discussion, writing, and scholarship about the life, work, and philosophy of Walt Disney.
Disney Archives

The ultimate authority on all things Disney, Dave Smith founded the Walt Disney Archives in 1970 and, three decades later, continues to serve as its director.
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Walt Disney was inducted in 2000 for his invention of the Multiplane Camera, Patent # 2,201,689
Invention Dimension - Inventor of the Week
Celebrates inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual awards to inspire a new generation of American scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
Walt Disney Quotes
ON subject from his characters to the Disney empire amd theme parks.
The Creators
With Disney, it was sound that gave his animation its spark. Later, it was the quality of his work relative to the production-line cartoons with which he competed.
Walt Disney Biography
Try to imagine a world without Walt Disney. A world without his magic, whimsy, and optimism. Walt Disney transformed the entertainment industry, into what we know today. He pioneered the fields of animation, and found new ways to teach, and educate.

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing -- that it was all started by a mouse." - Walt Disney

"Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the child's approach to life. They're people who don't give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought -- sometimes it isn't much, either."  - Walt Disney

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney


  • Disney earned more than 30 Academy Awards
  • Walt was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard
  • Walt earned the Medal of Freedom, presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first full-length animated cartoon
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised August 30, 2006.

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