June 9 is the birthday of an American cartoon favorite – Donald Duck. Donald made his film debut this day in 1934 in The Wise Little Hen, a cartoon by Walt Disney.
Today Disney is regarded as one of the geniuses of American popular culture. But throughout his career, he heard people say, “It won’t work.” As a young man, he tried to get a job with the Kansas City Star, but the newspaper said no. He started a little company called Laugh-O-Gram Films to make cartoons, but the money ran out, and he had to declare bankruptcy.
Walt moved to Los Angeles but failed to find a job, so in 1923 he started his own studio in the back of a real estate office. In 1928, when he had an idea for a cartoon rodent, people in Hollywood scoffed. He sold his car to help finance the project. The public fell in love with Mickey Mouse.
A few years later, Walt decided to make a film called Snow White. The experts called it “Disney’s Folly.” Bankers refused to help him. In 1937 it became a huge box office hit. Several years later, Walt set his heart on building a theme park. Colleagues advised against it. Roy Disney, his brother and business partner, worried that it was too risky. Walt pushed ahead, and in 1955 the world went wild over Disneyland.
“I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true,” Walt Disney said. “This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.”