Monday 16 October 2023

100 years of Disney

Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary today!

The House of Mouse that Uncle Walt founded in a garage (like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did with Apple) is now a sprawling multimedia empire encompassing everything from theme parks and streaming to infinity and beyond (couldn't resist a Toy Story reference for fellow fans)!

In the wake of early critical success with Snow White, Fantasia and Pinocchio (an animated classic that traumatised me in childhood), Disney was in the doldrums in the seventies as the company unsuccessfully chased box office trends (I still have a soft spot for The Black Hole) until a renaissance under CEO Michael Eisner with The Little Mermaid.

Leveraging Disney's enviable intellectual property (IP) vault with time-limited releases on VHS was a mercurial move by Eisner. However, I remember seeing store shelves stacked with copies of Fantasia due to a lack of demand.

A creative partnership with Steve Jobs' Pixar (formerly Lucasfilm's Graphics Group) witnessed critical and commercial success in the mid-to-late nineties, culminating in current CEO Bob Iger buying Pixar from Jobs (Jobs had returned to Apple and was overseeing the Cupertino-based company's reinvention into a tech titan) as part of a successful acquisition trail leading to the launch of Disney+.

My childhood is preserved within the walls of the Magic Kingdom with Marvel Comics, Star Wars and soon Doctor Who on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland.

What's your favourite Disney memory? Let me know in the comments below.

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