Friday, May 1, 2009

May 01: Last Card Dealt

On this day in 1983, Esmond Cardon Walker - better known as Card Walker - stepped down as Chairman of Disney.
Born in Idaho in 1916, Walker moved to Los Angeles, California in 1924. After graduating from UCLA he began his career at Disney in 1938 as a mailroom clerk. He soon found himself working in the camera department and eventually a unit manager for short subjects. World War II forced Walker to temporarily put his career on hold as he served in the U.S. Navy.
By 1956 he was vice president of advertising and sales at Disney, before being elected to the Board of Directors in 1960. After the death of Walt Disney (in 1966), Walker became executive vice president and chief operating officer. When Walt's brother Roy O. Disney passed away in December 1971, Walker became company president (serving under Chairman and CEO Donn Tatum). Five years later Walker took over chief executive officer duties from Tatum, and finally in 1980 became Chairman of the Board upon Tatum's retirement.
As a top executive Card Walker played a major role in the early development of Disney World, Epcot, and Tokyo Disneyland, and helped found The Disney Channel. In fact although he stepped down on this day in 1983, Walker had actually retired as CEO three years earlier. He stayed on as Chairman until May 1 to oversee the opening of Tokyo Disneyland. (Raymond Watson took over as Chairman upon Walker's exit.)
Card Walker would continue to to serve as a consultant to Disney through 1990. He was later inducted a Disney Legend 3 years later.

Click HERE for more May 01 Disney history.

Happy 20th Disney's Hollywood Studios!

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