Should Hollywood Thank Kansas City? (08-06-15)
While Chicago can claim the birthplace of Walt Disney, Kansas City can claim the birth of his artistic abilities and his animation endeavors. Walt Disney and his family moved to Kansas City when he was a lad of only nine years old. As a youngster at Benton Elementary School, the budding animator took drawing classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. It was the beginning of an empire and a fantasyland where any little girl could be a princess.
The Disney home still stands at 30th & Bellefontaine as a private residence on the National Registry of Historic Homes. Many drive right by without even knowing the brilliance that grew up within the walls however many others from all over the world stop to take pictures.
When World War I was over, Disney came back to Kansas City where he worked at an advertising firm. Then, in 1920, he formed an animation business with his mentor and friend where they produced animated cartoons called “Laugh-o-Grams” in their studio on 31st Street. The cartoons were shown in local movie theatres. Today, his studio is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rumor has it that his pet mouse lived in his desk drawer. That mouse became the most famous one in history. Disney took Mickey Mouse to Los Angeles in 1923 along with many of his animator friends who took over the industry in Hollywood.
When in Kansas City, Walt Disney had made the first episode of The Alice Comedies starring four year old Virginia Davis. He talked her family into bringing her to Los Angeles with him to continue playing Alice thus The Walt Disney Company became official and Alice in Wonderland was born.
So as Disneyland celebrates their 60th anniversary, they can thank Kansas City for being instrumental in the making of the man.