Laugh-O-Gram Megaphone

By Rick Lorentz, Walt Disney Archives

As an Archivist at the Walt Disney Archives, I’m often asked, “What is your favorite thing in the Archives?” and “What is the oldest object in the Archives?” For me, the most interesting pieces are the assets that were once the personal property of Walt Disney.  One example that encompasses both Walt’s ownership and…

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photograph of Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney in 1923

Take a Look Back at Disney in the Year 1923

Walt (right), just months after arriving in California.
He’s with brother Roy in front of their first Hollywood Studio, on Kingswell Avenue.

In the glow of prosperity following World War I, America as never before sees itself as the land of opportunity, especially through the eyes of its youth. Many young fortune-seekers head for the Big…

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Walt Disney drawing early laugh-o-grams

Walt’s First Fairy Tales

By the time Walt Disney released Cinderella in 1950, the imaginative impresario was well known as the past master of the animated fairy tale. But few realized just how far back into the past—dating back to the Roaring Twenties in Kansas City, Missouri—Walt first used the relatively new medium of animation to retell the old tales.
This “once upon a time” began…

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photo of Walt Disney with Pinocchio Drawings

How a Man Called Walt Became Disney

Becoming Walt Disney, an original D23 Studios short film, traces the path of a one-of-a-kind storyteller from his youth in Marceline, Missouri, and his apprenticeship in Kansas City, Missouri, all the way to his arrival Los Angeles, California, in 1923.

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The Fairy Tales Walt Disney Produced in Kansas City

Before the Alice Comedies, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney produced one-minute shorts, known as the Newman Laugh‑O‑grams, for the local Newman cinema chain in Kansas City. He then went on to open his first animation studio and create a series of six modernized fairy-tale shorts, known as the Laugh‑O‑grams.
“I started, actually, to make…

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black and white photo of a young Walt Disney at workbench wearing a full-length apron

Walt’s Wonder Years

That biography is what got me hooked.
Before taking a trip to Walt Disney World with his wife and family in 2004, Timothy Susanin wouldn’t have considered himself much of a Disney fan let alone a candidate to write a biography about Walt Disney. “We went there for the kids and we ended up loving it,” he recalls. Intrigued by the resort and in turn the man who dreamed…

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Alice “Seas” It All

Walt Disney often said that he would “never lose sight of one thing… that it all started with a Mouse.” But while Disney’s biggest success surely began with Mickey, young Walt and a determined crew of animators were making cutting-edge cartoons several years earlier. March 1, 1924 saw the premiere of Alice’s Day at Sea — the second Alice Comedy, the first…

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