華特迪士尼:齧齒動物米老鼠的誕生

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Walt Disney: A Mouse Is Born

Born in Chicago on December 5, 1901, Walter Elias Disney spent his childhood on a farm in Missouri. Inspired by the animals around him, the young Walt began to draw at an early age, selling sketches to his neighbors when he was just seven. The Disneys next lived in Kansas City, where his father ran a paper route, returning to Chicago in 1917 when his father invested in a jelly factory there. During high school, Walt took night classes at the Chicago Art Institute and drew cartoons for the school paper.

At the age of 16, Walt dropped out of school to serve in World War I. Rejected by the Army because he was underage, he joined the Red Cross and drove an ambulance in France. After the war, Walt returned to Kansas City to pursue a career as a cartoonist. He soon became interested in the new field of animation, and founded Laugh-O-Gram Studio to create animated cartoons. Unfortunately, the studio soon went bankrupt, and Walt decided to 1 try his luck in Hollywood. With $250 in capital, he and his brother Roy started Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. His first employees included Ub Iwerks, who became Walt’s lifelong collaborator, and Lillian Bounds, who became his wife.

When Walt and Ub’s first creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was stolen by the studio that distributed it, they decided to create their own character. Walt came up with a cheerful mouse named Mortimer, but Lillian thought Mickey sounded better. The premiere of The Jazz Singer— the world’s first “talkie”—provided him with his eureka moment. Walt decided to give Mickey Mouse a voice, and the famous rodent has been talking ever since.

華特迪士尼:齧齒動物米老鼠的誕生

一九〇一年十二月五日,華特伊利亞斯迪士尼出生於芝加哥,童年都在密蘇里州的農場上度過。受到生活周遭動物的啟發,華特在很小的時候便開始畫圖,年僅七歲就把他的素描畫賣給鄰居。迪士尼一家人之後搬到堪薩斯市,華特的父親在那以送報維生。一九一七年搬回芝加哥,因為當時華特的父親在那投資一間果醬工廠。高中時期,華特在芝加哥藝術學院就讀夜間部,同時間幫校刊畫漫畫。

十六歲那年,華特輟學,準備要從軍投入一次大戰。陸軍以不足齡為由拒絕他之後,他加入紅十字會,到法國駕駛救護車。戰爭結束後,華特回到堪薩斯市想以漫畫家為業。不久後,他對動畫這個新領域產生興趣,於是成立 Laugh-O-Gram 工作室從事卡通影片的創作。不幸地,這工作室沒多久後即宣告破產,於是華特決定到好萊塢碰碰運氣。帶著兩百五十元資金,華特和他的哥哥洛伊於一九二三年創立迪士尼兄弟卡通工作室。他最初的雇員中,有後來成為他終身工作夥伴的厄伯艾沃克,以及成為他妻子的莉蓮邦茲。

當華特和厄伯的第一個創作―奧斯華幸運兔―被負責發行的片廠搶走後,他們決定自行創作卡通人物。華特想出一隻開心的老鼠,取名為莫迪默,不過莉蓮認為米奇比較好聽。世界首部有聲電影《爵士歌手》的首映會讓華特靈機一動,他決定賦予米老鼠一個聲音,從此這隻知名的齧齒動物的話從此沒停過。

【實用字彙】

institute (n.) 學院,機構
ambulance (n.) 救護車
creation (n.) 創作(品),產物
distribute (v.) 發行,經銷

本文取材自《改變人類生活的創意發明Eureka!:EZ TALK總編嚴選特刊

(本文獲EZTALK編輯部授權刊登)

圖片來源:pixabay

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