Saturday, January 16, 2010

On the Train to Hollywood

After its premiere on December 21, 1937 and then subsequent release to theaters in February 1938, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became an instant worldwide critical and financial success. The film enabled the Disney brothers to pay off their entire loan of over $1,480,000 to the Bank of America as well as build a brand new state-of-the-art studio.

Disney's Folly it was not.

Yet some 15 years prior, Walt Disney was broke. He was living in the Kansas City office of his Laugh-O-Gram studio, taking baths just once a week at Union Station. It was 1923, and unable to make a profit, his studio went bankrupt. He sold his movie camera to pay for a one-way ticket to Hollywood.

Walt Disney reminiscing many years later about this point in time:
I met a guy on the train when I was comin' out. It was one of those things that kind of made you mad. I was out on the back platform--I was in my pants and coat that didn't match but I was riding first class. I was making conversation with a guy who asked me, "Goin' to California?"

"Yeah, I'm goin' out there."
"What business you in?"
I said, "The motion-picture business."
Then all of a sudden. "Oh, is that right? Well I know somebody in the picture business. What do you do?"
I said, "I make animated cartoons."
It was like saying, "I sweep up the latrines."

Some people make you mad, and you want to prove something to them even though they mean nothing to you. I thought of that guy...when we had the premiere of Snow White. And that darn thing went out and grossed eight million dollars around the world.

Excerpt from: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Making of the Classic Film by Richard Holliss and Brian Sibley (page 35)

1 comment:

  1. Nice to stumble on your blog - and find you quoting one of my books! :)