We watched a film tonight about Walt Disney’s life. The director wove together pieces of Walt’s childhood and his relationship with his brother, but mostly began the story when Walt, as a young man, got home from serving with the Red Cross in WWI.
According to the storyteller, Walt was a dreamer who didn’t have a very good financial sense, but knew he wanted to make animated movies. He lived most of his younger life in financial ruin, and seemed to draw people together based on his dreams and a promise that things would get better. He would convince his team to do some animation, sell a bit of it to movie theaters, and then, without much profit, his team would leave him for other work. Walt got evicted from his apartment, and his business studio, and ended up for a time on the street, eating leftover food from garbage cans. His only friend at that moment was a little mouse who seemed as hungry as he was. Somehow, Walt scraped enough together to go to California to visit his brother and his uncle, and to start over again.
A small group of his friends, who worked for him until they couldn’t work for free anymore, were all talented artists. They created some fun films that combined people and animation, a novel idea for the times. They worked for a while for the studio who created Felix the Cat. This studio created a copyright on all Disney’s stuff, and tried to cheat him out of pay. They ended up hiring away half of Disney’s team because they could pay them.
One of Disney’s team members ended up being the voice and animation talent behind Warner Brothers cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety, and others. One became the force behind Red Ryder comics. Others were involved in the industry. Only Walt’s brother, Roy, and one other who started out with Walt stayed with him enough to break away from the greedy studio, and this team and a few other faithful workers finally had success with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Of course, there were other facets to the story, but I was struck with the tenacity Walt had, even in the face of extreme circumstances. Had he given in to the schemes of the dishonest company, there might not be a Disney World today. It might have been Felix the Cat World!
How often we give up when the circumstances get tough! Maybe, just maybe, if we decided to hold on just a bit longer to the dreams God has given us, then our dreams could multiply beyond our wildest imagination.
DAY 329 HOMEWORK: Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Whatever it is, keep going, and keep on believing.