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HomeMoviesDisney magic started with a woman named Margaret Winkler : NPR

Disney magic started with a woman named Margaret Winkler : NPR

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On Oct. 16, 1923, Margaret Winkler agreed to supply and distribute Alice Comedies, a brand new collection by Walt Disney. That contract is taken into account the founding doc of The Walt Disney Firm.

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On Oct. 16, 1923, Margaret Winkler agreed to supply and distribute Alice Comedies, a brand new collection by Walt Disney. That contract is taken into account the founding doc of The Walt Disney Firm.

Disney

Earlier than Mickey, Snow White and Moana, there was Alice and her cat Julius. Say what?

The Walt Disney Firm has been celebrating its 100th birthday all 12 months lengthy. But it surely was on Oct. 16, 1923 that the magic started – thanks largely to a lady named Margaret Winkler. She named her movie firm M.J. Winkler Productions, lest anybody discover out that some of the profitable entrepreneurs in animation was a lady.

Winkler, a Hungarian immigrant, was 18 years outdated when she started her profession in leisure as a secretary for studio government Harry Warner. She realized the ins and outs of the movie enterprise and in 1921 left Warner to discovered her personal manufacturing and distribution enterprise.

She turned her first cartoon – Felix the Cat – into a worldwide star. A savvy promoter who understood the enterprise facet of creativity, she bought the collection each domestically and abroad, commonly spinning her success to the trades.

Alice Comedies foyer card

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“Winkler’s most important contribution was her expertise for figuring out and constructing a marketplace for these quick movies,” wrote Malcolm Prepare dinner for Columbia College’s Girls Movie Pioneers Undertaking.

In contrast, Walt Disney was a struggling cartoonist in Kansas Metropolis in 1923. His Chuckle-o-Gram Movies was almost bankrupt. However he nonetheless held out hope for a undertaking that featured a reside motion character named Alice interacting with animated characters – together with her cat Julius.

In line with Disney, “In the summertime of 1923, [Walt] used a few of his final $40 to purchase a first-class prepare ticket to Los Angeles, the place he and his brother Roy O. Disney would work on making animated movies out of their uncle’s storage and later behind an actual property workplace two blocks away.”

In a letter to Winkler, who was based mostly in New York, Walt wrote, “Up to now, all cartoons combining reside actors have been produced in an beginner method… It’s my intention to make use of solely skilled and skilled folks for my casts and employees that I could inject high quality humor, {photograph} and element into these comedies.”

Winkler wrote again, “In case your comedies are what you say they’re and what I feel they need to be, we are able to do enterprise.”

Earlier than signing a deal, Walt checked Winkler’s “accountability and standing” together with her former boss, Harry Warner. “She is answerable for something she might undertake,” Warner responded. “For my part, the principle factor it is best to think about is the standard of products you’re going to give her, and if that’s proper, I do not suppose you want any hesitation in having her deal with your merchandise.”

On Oct. 16, 1923, Winkler and Disney signed a deal to supply and distribute 12 episodes of Alice Comedies.

In line with Disney, the contract “is taken into account the founding doc of The Walt Disney Firm.”

Alice Comedies contract web page

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This story was edited by Jennifer Vanasco and produced by Beth Novey.

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