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.
In early 1923, Kansas City, Missouri animator Walt Disney created a short film entitled Alice's Wonderland, which featured child actress Virginia Davis interacting with animated characters. Film distributor Margaret J. Winkler contacted Disney with plans to distribute a whole series of Alice Comedies based upon Alice's Wonderland. The contract signed, Walt and his brother Roy Disney moved to Los Angeles.
On October 16, 1923, they officially set up shop in their uncle Robert Disney's garage, marking the beginning of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Within a few months, the company moved into the back of a realty office in downtown Los Angeles, where production continued on the Alice Comedies until 1927. In 1926, the studio moved to a newly constructed studio facility on Hyperion Avenue in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.
After the demise of the Alice comedies, Disney developed an all-cartoon series starring his first original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was distributed by Winkler Pictures through Universal Pictures. Disney only completed 26 Oswald shorts before losing the contract in February 1928, when Winkler's husband Charles Mintz took over their distribution company. Mintz hired away all of Disney's animators except Ub Iwerks to start his own animation studio.
Despite the earlier trials and tribulations of Walt and Roy Disney's first adventures into the world of animation, the partnership endured and in 1928 a plucky, resilient, ever optimistic mouse was born, forever changing the face of the entertainment industry and the world. And, well, we all know what happened next. Walt always reminded us that "it was all started by a mouse", but truthfully it's always important to remember that The Walt Disney Company may have never existed if it wasn't for the bond and relationship between two brothers called Walt and Roy.
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