xxvii) Disney

An example of a company reinventing themselves is the Disney Empire during the tenure of the Disney brothers (Walt and Roy). They repeatedly used creativity and/or the latest technology to reinvent themselves. Many times when re-inventing themselves, they would put all their wealth at risk.

This empire was started by Walt Disney (story-teller, illustrator, creator & entrepreneur) and his brother Roy (manager, administrator, accountant & business manager). Despite their first company (Newman Laugh-O- Grams) going bankrupt, they restarted as Disney Brothers Studios. They had limited success with cartoons like Alice's Wonderland and Oswald the Rabbit. Their first real success in cartoons with the character Mickey Mouse (1928) in Steamboat Willie. They used synchronised sound to create the first post-produced sound cartoon. Later on other characters like Donald Duck, Goofy, Scrooge, Minnie, etc were introduced and gained popularity.

They continued to reinvent themselves by

- using technical developments like multi-playing cameras which allowed drawings on a piece of glass to be set various distances from the camera, creating an illusion of depth. The glass could be moved to create the impression of a camera passing through the scene . These new cameras and other technology that produced synchronised sound, full-colour three-strip Technicolour resulted in feature-length cartoons like Silly Symphony (1937), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). Snow White became the most successful motion picture (1938) and won an Honorary Academy Award. Using other technical developments produced the first full-length feature (Lady and the Tramp) in Cinemascope (1955); the first animated film (Sleeping Beauty) in Technirama 70 mm film (1959); first animated feature film (101 Dalmatians) using Xerox cels (1961).

- merchandising including colouring books and comics

- floated on the stock market (1940) as a way to attract finance rather than borrowing from banks

- they used technology to develop animated, live-action films including Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964)

- Disney expanded into amusement parks by opening Disneyland (1955)

- started in television including programs like Walt Disney's Disneyland (1954) and the Mickey Mouse Club (1955). For television they produced a 5-part miniseries (Davy Crockett) which was very popular; worked with NASA on a program entitled "Man in Space" (1955)

- with the miniseries' theme song (the ballad of Davy Crockett) selling 10 million copies, they formed their own record production and distribution firm (Disneyland Records).

- they were also involved in planning the American National Exhibition in Moscow (1959); designed the opening, closing and medals ceremonies at the Winter Olympics (1960); Designed 4 exhibits at New York's World's Fair (1964), ie

"...for PepsiCo, who planned a tribute to UNICEF, Disney developed Its Small World, a boat ride with audio-animatronioc dolls depicting children of the world; Great Moments with Mr Lincoln containing an animatronic Abraham Lincoln giving excerpts from his speeches; Carousel of Progress promoting the importance of electricity; Ford's Magic Skyway portraying the progress of mankind. Elements of all 4 exhibits - principally concepts and technology - were reinstalled in Disneyland..."

Wikipedia 2019

- in 1965, they developed another theme park, Disney World. Its theme was around a new type of city (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow - EPCOT). In 2014, the Disney theme parks around the world had around 134 m visitors

- since Walt Disney's death in late 1966, the studios has continued to produce live-action films prolifically and abandoned animation until the late 1980s when they re-entered the field by producing The Little Mermaid. On the other hand, the organisation has been able to recreate the creativity levelof the early years when Walt Disney was alive.

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