Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jan 26: Disney's Kansas City Connection

On this day in 2004, the Kansas City Star reported that a museum honoring Walt Disney is planned for the site of his old Laugh-O-Gram Studios in Kansas City, Missouri.
The studio, which was located on the second floor of the McConahay Building at 1127 East 31st Street, played a role in the early years of animation. In May 1922 Walt founded Laugh-O-Grams Films with $15,000. Among his employees were pioneers Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, and Rudolph Ising. Walt secured an $11,000 contract to produce six cartoons for Pictorial Clubs, Inc. Unfortunately Pictorial went bankrupt and Walt had problems making ends meet. A Kansas City dentist temporarily saved the day when he commissioned Disney to produce a short called Tommy Tucker's Tooth. Disney took the $500 earned and invested it into a live-action/animated piece called Alice's Wonderland.
Unfortunately Laugh-O-Gram declared bankruptcy (before Alice could be completed) in 1923 and Disney moved to Hollywood, California. Years later Walt told interviewers that he was inspired to draw Mickey Mouse by a tame mouse who visited his desk at the Kansas City studio.
Today Thank You Walt Disney, Inc. is restoring the old studio to look as it did in 1922 ... complete with Walt's office!

Click HERE for more January 26 Disney history.

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