• Walt Disney and Roy Disney founded Disney Brothers Studio in 1923, leading to the creation of an empire of films, TV networks, merchandise, and theme parks.
• Disney has been releasing animated films since 1937, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs being the first feature-length animated film in US history.
• Other notable Disney classics include Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and The Jungle Book.
Here is what happened:
Disney has a rich history that spans over a century, with its beginnings rooted in the dreams and visions of Walt Disney and Roy Disney. They established Disney Brothers Studio in 1923 and from there, they built an empire that included films, television networks, merchandise, and theme parks. While the allure of the Magic Kingdom and Disney theme parks is undeniable, there’s something truly special about Disney movies. Since the release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, Disney has invited audiences to become part of their magical worlds and go on adventures into the unknown. The timeless appeal of these movies has led to successful live-action remakes that captivate audiences of all ages.
As we eagerly wait for the upcoming release of Rachel Zegler as Snow White in March, we can satisfy our nostalgia by exploring the details behind some of our favorite Disney classics. While Disney has produced over 60 animated films to date, we are provided with an endless array of gadgets, gizmos, and memorable characters. Each film has its own unique story and moments that have become ingrained in our memories.
For instance, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was a groundbreaking achievement for Walt Disney, marking the first feature-length animated film in U.S. history. The film’s production was financed with a mortgage on Walt’s home after the budget ballooned to $1.5 million. “Dumbo,” released in 1941, had a budget compressed by ongoing war efforts, resulting in one of Disney’s shortest feature films. The studio’s commitment to authenticity is evident in films like “Bambi,” where animators observed deer closely, even studying the decomposition of a dead deer. The voice of Bambi, Donnie Dunagan, went on to serve in the Vietnam War, keeping his brush with fame a secret until the end of his military career.
Some Disney classics, like “Cinderella,” were released during challenging times for the studio. Despite financial struggles during World War II, Disney took a risk by investing $3 million into the production of “Cinderella.” The film’s success has continued to this day, with a lifetime gross of over $532 million and merchandise sales that have kept the story alive. Other films, like “Peter Pan” and “Lady and the Tramp,” hold personal significance for Walt Disney himself. The iconic spaghetti scene in “Lady and the Tramp” almost didn’t make it into the final film, but was saved by an animator’s creative touch.
“Sleeping Beauty” had a long journey to the big screen, experiencing initial box office disappointment before re-releases made it one of the most profitable movies of 1959. The film’s stylized drawings and Walt’s dedication to creating each frame as a work of art contributed to its lengthy production process. Finally, “The Little Mermaid” marked the start of the Disney Renaissance in 1989, leading to a series of successful films that defined the ’90s.
These Disney classics are filled with hidden details and nods to other films, showcasing the extensive universe that Disney has created. As we continue to indulge in the magic of Disney, we look forward to the future and the new adventures that await us on the big screen.