Walt Disney wasn’t always successful. Stephen Schochet describes some of the ways Disney lost millions of dollars before making it big:
- Walt created a mildly successful cartoon character in 1926 called Oswald the Rabbit. When he tried to negotiate with his distributor, Universal Studios, for better rates for each cartoon, he was informed that Universal had obtained ownership of the Oswald character and they had hired Disney’s artists out from under him.
- When Walt tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927 he was told that the idea would never work– a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.
- For the premiere of Pinocchio Walt hired 11 midgets, dressed them up like the little puppet and put them on top of Radio City Music Hall in New York with a full day’s supply of food and wine. The idea was they would wave hello to the little children entering into the theater. By the middle of the hot afternoon, there were 11 drunken naked midgets running around the top of the marquee, screaming obscenities at the crowd below. The most embarrassed people were the police who had to climb up ladders and take the little fellows off in pillowcases.
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks “Fascinating Walt Disney” and “Tales Of Hollywood”.
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