Stories of Walt… Laugh-O-Gram Studio

Long before Walt Disney World or Disneyland were ever conceived of, Walt Disney (the man, himself) was busying himself with other cartoon interests. Ever since he was a young boy, Walt Disney was interested in two things: cartoons and entertaining people.

Though he knew he wanted a career in the entertainment business, a young Walt Disney was still testing the waters in the Kansas City area. At the age of 20 (in 1921), Walt Disney opened up the Laugh-O-Gram studio, where he and his team of creators wrote, illustrated, and produced his “Newman Laugh-O-Grams.”

The cartoons were shown in  theaters throughout the Kansas City area, and quickly took off. Highly popular with children and movie-goers of all ages, Newman Laugh-O-Grams were by all standards a sensation.

Unfortunately, a young Walt Disney in his early 20s didn’t have enough business knowledge to sustain the venture. Always fun-loving and generous, Walt Disney paid his illustrators and other employees handsomely. He paid them so well that the studio’s profits weren’t enough to cover the basic expenses.

In just a few years, the Laugh-O-Gram studio was underwater in debt. Walt Disney was forced to file for bankruptcy. If his story had ended there, then it would be just another sad tale of ambition gone wrong.

Of course, we know that the story doesn’t end there for Walt Disney. With his entrepreneurial and optimistic spirit, Walt picked himself up by the bootstraps, and made for Hollywood, California, movie capital of the world.

Upon arriving in Hollywood, Walt Disney opened up a new studio with his brother, and attempted to pitch his new cartoon, “Alice Comedies.” The cartoon eventually turned into… Alice in Wonderland.

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