Thursday, July 2, 2015

Walt Disney: a brief history - Part 2

Walt and his brother Roy moved to Hollywood California in the fall of 1923.  They gathered up their earnings from Kansas City and started Disney Brothers Studio.  Ub Iwerks soon followed.  They began their studio, creating a series of shorts called the Alice Comedies.  In these films, a child actress would be placed inside animated worlds, carrying on fantastical adventures with animated characters.

Walt and Roy, needing a distributer for their films, found one in Margret Winkler in New York.  She was very fond of Walt and the quality of their short cartoons.  The Alice Comedies proved to be somewhat successful, but the earnings really only kept the studio afloat.

Margret's husband was Charles Mintz, a producer in New York.  He grew tired of the Alice gimmick and ordered a fresh cartoon concept.  Ub responded with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.  The cartoons were quite succesful, yet the earnings were still not enough for the studio to make a profit.  Walt had written telegraphs asking for a raise for the studio, and was answered with an invitation to a meeting in New York.

Roy was very apprehensive toward this trip to New York, but Walt had nothing but a positive feeling about this meeting and was certain he was going to get the studio a higher wage per cartoon.  However when Walt arrived in New York and met with Charles Mintz, it was another story.

It has been said that Walt laid out the perfect pitch for how successful their studio's creation was and how they should be granted a raise per picture.  Mintz counter offered with a lower rate.  Walt responded that he can barely pay his staff and keep lights on as it is, and that a drop in pay will ruin his studio.  Mintz then informed Walt that it was Universal that owned the rights to Oswald and all of the cartoons produced, and that he had most of Walt's animators under contract with Mintz (except for Ub who refused to betray the Disneys).  If Walt didn't agree to the lower rates, he was taking Oswald from Disney Brothers Studio.  Walt declined and left the meeting without a character, a staff or a paycheck.

Walt sent a telegram to his brother Roy and got onto the train, back to Hollywood.

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