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Tag Archives: 1910s

September 16

September 16, 1918 – Walt Disney is Accepted for the Red Cross

On September 16, 1918, Walt Disney was officially accepted into the Red Cross for service during World War I. Disney’s brothers were serving in the Army and Navy, and while Walt wanted to serve, he was too young to do so, being only 16. However, after finding out that the Red Cross accepted people as young as 17, he forged his application to make it appear he was of age. After acceptance, Walt attended training in Sound Beach, Connecticut, and was sent to France, stationed in St. Cyr. Walt was originally assigned to drive ambulances for the Evacuation Hospital No. 5, but was later assigned to a motor pool. Walt officially ended his service in September, 1919.

September 4

September 4, 1913 – Chairman of the Oriental Land Company and Disney Legend Masatomo Takahashi is Born

Masatomo Takahashi

“Thanks to Masatomo, for years to come, families around the Asia-Pacific region will experience the delights of Disney and its magical theme parks.” – Roy E. Disney

On September 4, 1913, Masatomo Takahashi was born in Fukushima, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1939, and began working at the Riken Heavy Industries Company until Japan’s entry into World War II; he then served as an Army interpreter, serving in areas such as Shanghai and New Guinea. Once the war ended, he began working at Kenzai Company, Ltd., working up the management ranks from executive managing director to eventually becoming its president. In 1961, Takahashi left Kenzai to join the Oriental Land Company (OLC) as its senior executive managing director, mainly working in the area of land reclamation with fisherman. Takahashi had always had a dream of bringing Disneyland to the children of Japan and, after becoming the president and representative director of OLC in 1978, he approached the Walt Disney Company with his idea: building a Disney theme park in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo. After the creation and success of Walt Disney World, the idea was given the greenlight, and contracts were signed in 1979. Takahashi was steadfast on the idea that this wasn’t to be an Asian version of the popular Disney park, but a park similar to those in the United States. In 1983, his vision was fulfilled when Tokyo Disneyland opened to great success. For his unwavering vision, Takahashi was honored as a Disney Legend in 1998. After becoming the chairman of OLC, Takahashi continued to develop and expand his idea, creating the idea that would soon become Tokyo DisneySea, located in Tokyo Bay. Takahashi passed away on January 31, 2000, with Tokyo DisneySea opening on September 4, 2001.

January 27

January 27, 1917 – Screening of the play Snow White starring Marguerite Clark

Poster for film. Image credit: wikipedia

“The world of make-believe has always delighted and absorbed me, ever since I was a little boy.” – Walt Disney

When recalling his early years in many of his interviews, Walt Disney seemed to have a wealth of inspiration as a child, from the fairy tales his grandmother read him, to touring productions of plays, such as Peter Pan, starring Maude Adams. The biggest inspiration for Disney’s choosing Snow White, it has been said, is the film version of the play Snow White, starring silent screen actress Marguerite Clark.

Walt as a young boy

The film, released December 25, 1916, is a silent black and white film, directed by J. Searle Dawley and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Snow White is played by Marguerite Clark, who was well known for her roles as waifs and children; the Queen was played by Dorothy Cumming, with the Prince played by Creighton Hale, and the Witch played by Alice Washburn.

On January 27 and January 28, 1917, a film version of the story was featured in the Kansas City Convention Hall, sponsored by the Kansas City Star. Disney was a newsboy for the paper at that time, and the paper decided to reward their newsboys with a screening in the hall, with 67,000 people eventually showing up. The film was presented on four different screens to oblige the crowd; unfortunately, the projections were hand-cranked, and the projectionists were not in sync. Disney later recalled that he could see on one screen what was going to happen on one of the other screens, but this still left a magical impression on the fifteen-year-old. “My impression of the picture has stayed with me through the years and I know it played a big part in selecting Snow White for my first feature production,” he explained.

A cel and background for the "folly", Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White had always been a favorite story of Disney’s. As he said in a 1953 magazine article in the now-defunct Brief Magazine, Disney’s fascination with fairy tales and make-believe “began when I was a child. Every evening after supper my grandmother would take down from the shelf the well-worn volumes of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Andersen. We would gather around her and listen to the stories that we knew so well that we could repeat them word for word. Of all the characters in the fairy tales, I loved Snow White best. And when I planned my first full length cartoon, she inevitably was the heroine.” These readings and this film of Snow White no doubt influenced Disney to pick the fantastical story as his first film, or his “folly,” as his critics put it.