Author: Brian Burnes,Dan Viets,Robert W. Butler
Publisher: Kansas City Star Books
Category: Biography & Autobiography
View: 732The range of Walt Disney's accomplishments is remarkable. He is considered the most successful filmmaker in history. He won 32 Academy Awards, far more than those of any other filmmaker. He revolutionized the amusement park and resort industries, and his theme parks have been praised as among the most outstanding urban designs in the United States. As Ward Kimball, one of Walt Disney's most prominent animators, once said, "At the bottom line Walt was a down-to-earth farmer's son who just happened to be a genius." Walt Disney spent his formative years in Missouri. Some of the direct influences of these years on his career are documented in this book. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the first feature-length animated film to be produced, was inspired by a black-and-white, live-action silent film version of "Snow White" that he viewed as a teen-ager in Kansas City. A theatrical production of "Peter Pan" that he saw as a child in Marceline, Mo., led to his own animated version of the story. Born in Chicago in December 1901, he moved with his family to a farm near Marceline, where he lived from ages 4 to 9. "To tell the truth," Walt Disney once wrote, "more things of importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since--or are likely to in the future." The town of Marceline was the inspiration for many features of future Disney theme parks, and the pastoral setting he lived in there is also reflected in many of his films. Except for a couple of years spent in Chicago and France, Disney lived in Kansas City from 1911 to 1923. During his years in Kansas City he learned the discipline that would enable him to persevere and prevail through the many hardships he experienced as a struggling filmmaker. It was in Kansas City that he trained to become a commercial artist and an animator, and Kansas City was the location of his first film production studio, Laugh-O-gram Films. Walt Disney's Missouri not only tells the story of the young Disney growing up, but it also paints a picture of the Kansas City he knew. With the bankruptcy of Laugh-O-gram Films, Disney moved to California, drawing with him many of his Kansas City colleagues, who would eventually win fame in animation themselves. This richly illustrated book describes Disney's Missouri years and chronicles his many connections and returns to the state until his death in 1966. The book also details two little-know projects in Missouri that Disney seriously considered in his later years--theme parks in his "hometown," Marceline, and in St. Louis. As his daughter Diane Disney Miller says in the foreword to the book, Walt Disney was "truly a Missourian."