October 16, 1923 is the Official Start of the Walt Disney Company

Official Start of The Walt Disney Company

When it comes to important dates in the history of The Walt Disney Company, perhaps none is more important than this day, because October 16, 1923 is the official start of The Walt Disney Company. For this auspicious occasion, here’s a D23 trivia question: Who was Disney’s first recurring animated character that had a name? (The answer’s below.) By May of 1923, film distributor Margaret Winkler became concerned with conflicts she was having with Pat Sullivan, owner of her top property, Felix the Cat. Afraid she might lose Felix, which was the cat’s meow for her company, she was open to new properties when a young man named Walt Disney hoped that she would take interest in his unfinished short film, Alice’s Wonderland, a pilot for a series of short Alice Comedies. Timing couldn’t have been better; a contract was signed in which she agreed to distribute Alice, and 56 short Alice films were produced, inking in the date of October 16th as the company’s official start. Being a female in a male-dominated industry, Margaret Winkler opted to hide her female identity on the films which simply read that the distributor was “M.J. Winkler.” The “J” was not an initial of her middle name, she just thought it sounded nice. Now, do you have an answer to the trivia question? Disney’s first named animated character that appeared in numerous Alice cartoons was a cat named Julius.