Episode 31 - Roy Steps In

When Walt was in Kansas City, he had an animation company and no distribution. When he moved to California, he had acquired distribution but had no animation company. In October of 1923, with a contract in hand for his Alice films, Walt now had to figure out how he was going to produce the series. He turned to Older brother Roy for advice. Hear this story and more on episode 31 of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

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Roy O. Disney


Episode 30 - Alice Goes To New York

With Walt Disney settling into life in California, he received some news he had long been hoping for. A film distributor from New York had seen a reel of 'Alice's Wonderland' and wanted to negotiate a distribution deal. Who was the distributor? What were the terms of the contract? All this and more on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

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Margaret Winkler


Episode 29 - California Dreaming

When Walt Disney first arrived in Hollywood, CA in 1923, he knew he wanted to be in the movie business. He just wasn't sure exactly what he was going to do. He had not completely given up on animation, but it did take a back seat to his new hope of becoming a live-action director at a major motion picture studio. In this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast you'll hear all about Walt's first days and weeks in California, and the plans and dreams he began to piece together during that time.

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The original 'Hollywood' sign - Circa 1920's


Episode 28 - End Of The Line

Walt Disney put everything he had into his Laugh-O-Gram's animation studio. It was his dream come true in his early 20's. Unfortunately Walt's lack of experience showed. By summer of 1923 both Walt and his studio were at rock bottom. Would Walt stay in Kansas City and keep trying his hand with Laugh-O-Grams? Or, would he leave town in search of his next dream? Find out, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt Disney behind his live-action camera - Kansas City, MO.


Episode 27 - Alice's Wonderland

By 1923, Walt Disney had hit rock bottom. Not just with his animation studio, but personally as well. Neither he nor Laugh-O-Grams had any money and Walt needed a hit cartoon badly if he was going to keep his dream alive and keep his beloved studio afloat. In what essentially amounted to a last ditch effort, Walt dreamed of a new series that would combine both animation and live-action in a way that had never been seen on screen before. Would it work? Or was it too little, too late... All this and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

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A still frame featuring Walt Disney and 4 year old Virginia Davis from 'Alice's Wonderland' 1923


Episode 26 - Tommy Tucker's Tooth

Walt had the men of his studio begin work on their first official contract in fall, 1922. Though the contract was not exactly what Walt had hoped for, it was all he had and the men pushed forward. when financial troubles threatened to put an end to the work before it was completed, Walt Disney began to search for alternative ways of bringing income into his studio. One such way he accomplished this was to produce a film for a local dentist titled 'Tommy Tucker's Tooth'. Hear the story of how this film came about, plus more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

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A still frame from the film 'Tommy Tucker's Tooth' - 1922


Episode 25 - Contract In Hand

In autumn of 1922, Walt Disney's fledgling animation studio signed it's first official contract for the delivery of 6 animations. The contract almost never happened though, and when it did, it was far from ideal. On this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast you'll hear the circumstances surrounding this contract and the plan Walt set in motion to fulfill his end of the bargain.

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Left to right - Walt Disney, Hugh Harman, Rudy Ising, and Ub Iwerks


Episode 24 - Short On Cash

In the summer of 1922, Walt Disney had finally found himself heading his own animation studio. It was a legitimate business, with real employees and an official work space. However there was one thing that Laugh-O-Gram Films Inc was short on... Cash. Without proper working capital and very little assets, Walt had to use his creativity and persuasiveness to fund his young company. All this and more on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

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Laugh-O-Gram's offices on the second floor - 1127 East 31st Street, Kansas City, Mo.


Episode 23 - Left Alone

In this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast, we'll hear about Walt's struggles in Kansas City after the departure of his family. Most of the Disney's headed out west in search of a milder climate, but Walt stayed behind to grow his young animation studio. Without family around Walt struggled to fill the void left from their relocation. The most notable family member, who's departure left an impact on Walt was his brother Roy. We'll also learn that it wasn't just Walt that Roy left behind either.

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Edna Francis and Roy Disney


Episode 22 - The First Fairy-Tales

Walt knew he wanted to branch out beyond his 'Newman Laugh-O-Grams' and begin a new series of animations based on well known fairy-tales. To set them apart however, he wanted to base these familiar stories in a 1920's contemporary setting. With help from his buddies, he set out to do just that. Would he succeed in making these animations a reality? Would he officially turn his animation "club" into a legitimate business? Find out on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

A screen shot from one of Walt's 'Fairy-Tale Laugh-O-Grams'


Episode 21 - Newman Laugh-O-Grams

Walt Disney's first commercial animations, his 'Newman Laugh-O-Grams' were a big hit in Kansas City in 1921. Unfortunately for Walt, their success did not translate into financial gain. Wanting to branch out and start his own organization, Walt began recruiting a group of co-workers and friends to join him in his new endeavors. Hear these stories and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt Disney animating a 'Newman Laugh-O-Gram' film


Episode 20 - Walt Disney the Animator

After experimenting in the garage behind his Kansas city home for a few months, Walt Disney felt he was ready to create his own commercial animations. He conceived of a series of films he called 'Newman Laugh-O-Grams' with the hopes of selling them to the Newman Theater chain. He wrote, produced, and hand drew a 1 minute pilot reel of these Laugh-O-Grams in his make shift garage animation studio. Find out what happened, and if he succeeded in selling his animations to Frank L. Newman, in this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

In this garage, Walt Disney animated the first animations he ever produced


Episode 19 - Walt's Garage

While working at the Kansas City Film Ad Company, Walt Disney discovered something amazing, that would change his life forever... Animation. It was a new and exciting art form that allowed Walt to literally see his illustrations come to life. He became obsessed with it and wanted to learn everything he could about animation. After borrowing a camera from A. V. Cauger, Walt set up a makeshift studio in the garage behind his Kansas City Home and began immersing himself in animation techniques. Hear all this and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

The Disney family home at 3028 Bellefontaine Ave, Kansas City


Episode 18 - Kansas City Slide Company

In early 1920, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks were failing in their attempts to run their own commercial art operation. With no money coming in, Walt took a job working for a man named A. V. Cauger at the Kansas City Slide company, a company that specialized in film advertisements. Ub would soon join him there and the two men would become fascinated with a young and burgeoning art form that was about to take the entertainment business by storm. Hear this and more on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt at work in the Kansas City Slide Company offices


Episode 17 - Walt's First Company

In early 1920, Walt and fellow artist Ub Iwerks decided to go into business together and start their own commercial art studio. Without supplies or even a location in which to work,  the two young artists turned business men had a lot of work ahead of them to bring their company to profitability. How would the fortunes fare as Walt and Ub ran their first company together? We'll discuss all that and more on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Ub Iwerks at his drawing board


Episode 16 - Partners

As Walt was settling back in to life in America, he pursued a lifelong dream of becoming a professional artists; and he did just that when he was hired as an apprentice at Pesmen-Rubin Commercial Art Studio. His time there would teach him valuable lessons about illustrating for advertisements, as well as introduce him to someone who would leave a lasting impression on his professional life. We discuss who that was and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks


Episode 15 - Home Sweet Home

When Walt walked once again on American soil, he looked towards his future with an amazing optimism. He hoped to reconnect with family and old friends alike, but when he return to Chicago following his service in France, he realized that things were not as he hoped they would be. Following a string of disapointments, Walt set his sights on achieving a goal he harbored for many, many years. Would he succeed in this dream? Find out, as we discuss all that and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt Disney at his drawing board


Episode 14 - Thoughts of Home

While serving in the Ambulance Corps, Walt Disney did what he always did, he drew. In fact he drew for anyone, at anytime and on anything. However after both of his brothers had left the armed forces and returned home to Kansas City, Walt started to think of his own return to the United States, and he began to feel homesick. He would soon meet up with an old friend and the two would make plans for their return home. We discuss all of this and more, on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt in front of his ambulance - France, 1919


Episode 13 - Walt's Deployment

After joining the American Red Cross Ambulance Corps, Walt Disney traveled via ship to Europe to take part in the post-war efforts. He was stationed in France and experienced things that would change him forever. In this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast, we discuss Walt's arrival in France, the locations he served in and some of the people he met along the way. Plus a few specific stories of Walt's time as an ambulance driver in a post WW1 landscape.

Walt Disney in his WW1 Red Cross uniform


Episode 12 - Too Young To Fight

With war waging in Europe during the fall of 1918, 16 year old Walt Disney wanted to join the fight. He was turned away however by the American Armed Services because of his age. Walt was so determined to participate though that he resorted to some trickery and even forgery to insert himself into the war effort. We discuss all this and more on this episode of The Uncle Walt Podcast.

Walt in his Red Cross Ambulance Corps uniform