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Walt Disney’s—Commitment Against the Odds



This term we continue on our core value teachings around perseverance and diligence. In the newsletter I want to tell you stories of people who have exemplified these values as an encouragement for what we can achieve in our own lives. In this edition I want to tell you a very condensed version of the incredible story of Walt Disney.

As a young man, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star Newspaper because his boss thought he lacked creativity. He went on to form an animation company called Laugh-O-Gram Films in 1921. Using his natural salesmanship abilities, Walt Disney was able to raise $15,000 for the company (at least $400,000 today). However, he made a deal with a New York distributor, and when the distributor went out of business, Disney was forced to shut down. He could barely pay his rent and even resorted to eating dog food!

Broke but not defeated, Disney spent the last of his money buying a train ticket to Hollywood. But his troubles weren’t over. In 1926, Disney created a cartoon character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. When he tried to negotiate a better deal with Universal Studios who were marketing the cartoon, Disney found out they had secretly patented Oswald as a character. Universal then hired Disney’s artists away from him, and continued producing the cartoon without Disney and without paying him!

As if that wasn’t enough, Disney also struggled to release some of his films. He was told Mickey Mouse would fail because the mouse would “terrify women.” Distributors rejected The Three Little Pigs, saying it needed more characters. Pinocchio was shut down during production and Disney had to rewrite the entire storyline. Other films, like Bambi, Pollyanna and Fantasia, were misunderstood by audiences at the time of their release, only to become popular later.

His best example of perseverance came when he tried to make the book Mary Poppins into a film. In 1944, at the suggestion of his daughter, Disney decided to adapt Pamela Travers novel into a screenplay. However, she had no interest in selling Mary Poppins to Hollywood. To win her over, Disney visited Travers at her England home repeatedly for the next 16 years. Finally, Travers was overcome by Disney’s charm and vision for the film, and finally gave him permission to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. The result is history.

In an interesting twist of fate, The Disney Company went on to purchase ABC in 1996. At the time, ABC was owner of the Kansas City Star, meaning the newspaper that once fired Disney had become part of the empire he created. And all thanks to his creativity and a lot of perseverance.

Quite a satisfying story of perseverance isn’t it? God has given each of us many gifts. Develop them and use them with diligence and perseverance too. It will so be worth it!

God bless

Alistair Paterson

Thanks for the story details goes to http://www.growthink.com/content/7-entrepreneurs-whose-perseverance-will-inspire-you

Walt Disney

Walt Disney


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