Twenty-year-old Walt Disney began his first animation film studio “Laugh-O-Gram” in 1921. It was located on the second floor of the McConahay Building at 1127 East 31st in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1921, Walt Disney was contracted by Milton Feld for one-minute shorts for the local Newman cinema series in Kansas City, known as Newman Laugh-O-Gram.

Laugh-O-Grams - Animaders

“I started, actually, to make my first animated cartoon in 1920. Of course, they were very crude things then, and I used sort of little puppet things.” —Walt Disney

Also read: The Walt Disney Story

History of Laugh-O-Gram Studio

In 1921, Walt Disney was contracted by Milton Feld to animate twelve cartoons, sales manager Leslie Maes of Lough-O-Village Studios was looking for distributors, and a contract for six animated shorts with Pictorial clubs signed on. Pictorial Club agreed to pay the US $ 11,000 at the time for cartoons that were to be shown at schools and other non-theatrical locations, but they paid $ 100 in advance and the rest were paid until all shorts were paid Has not been delivered. January 1, 1924. But Pictorial went bankrupt in 1922 only a few months later. The studio never received the remaining payment, its financial problems became even more serious and the employees quit. During these days Disney was living in the office and taking a bath once a week at Union Station.

Encouraged by the popularity of his shorts in the theater, he decided that he also wanted to create his own animated versions of fairy tales, and invested six months in his first foray into Little Red Riding Hood.

Disney’s staff on the series had many pioneers of animation: Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Friz Freleng, and Carman Maxwell.

Mickey Mouse Inspiration

Disney told interviewers that the inspiration to attract Mickey came from a mouse on her desk at the Laugh-O-Gram Studio.

Walt Disney said that They used to fight for little pieces of cheese in my waste-basket when I worked alone late at night. I lifted them out and kept them in wire cages on my desk. I grew particularly fond of one brown house mouse. He was a timid little guy. By tapping him on the nose with my pencil, I trained him to run inside a black circle I drew on my drawing board. When I left Kansas City to try my luck at Hollywood, I hated to leave him behind. So I carefully carried him to a backyard, making sure it was a nice neighborhood, and the tame little fellow scampered to freedom.

During a train trip to New York in 1928, he showed his wife Lillian Marie Bounds a drawing and said that he was going to call it “Mortimer Mouse”. She replied that the name sounded “too sissy” and suggested Mickey Mouse instead.

Watch Newman Laugh-O-Gram here


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