Okay, so here's how it all happened, way back in the beginning. First, Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. His great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. But Disney is not an Irish name. It actually came from the French name, d'Isigny. Except that the English version of the name turned into Disney.
When little Walt Disney was four years old, his family moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri, in the north central part of the state. While he was living there, Walt started drawing lots of pictures because he really loved doing that.
|The kid at right center is Walt.|
After the war was over, Mr. Disney moved back to Kansas City because he did not want to have to work in the jelly factory. First he tried to get a job as a newspaper cartoonist, but no one would hire him. So then he got work with a studio that made advertisements for newspapers, magazines, and movie theaters.
|The Laugh-O-Gram studio was|
on the 2nd floor of this building.
But while he was working in Kansas City, at the Laugh-O-Gram studio, Mr. Disney had some pet mice, and one of them was his favorite. Here's what he said about the mice in an interview one time:
They used to fight for crumbs in my waste-basket when I worked alone late at night. I lifted them out and kept them in wire cages on my desk. I grew particularly fond of one brown house mouse. He was a timid little guy. By tapping him on the nose with my pencil, I trained him to run inside a black circle I drew on my drawing board. When I left Kansas to try my luck at Hollywood, I hated to leave him behind. So I carefully carried him to a backyard, making sure it was a nice neighborhood, and the tame little fellow scampered to freedom.
Mr. Disney named the mouse Mortimer. But his wife, Lillian, told him that was not a good name for the mouse, and she said the name should be Mickey Mouse. So that's what the name ended up being. Mr. Disney was the original voice for Mickey, and one Disney employee said that "Walt gave him his soul."
a website where you can find out more about the building and what people are doing to save it. And if you are interested in this project and feel even slightly rich, you can make a donation or buy some Laugh-O-Gram products to help with the fundraising.