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Walt Disney Studios and Mickey Mouse


      It wasn't long before Walt changed the name of the Disney Brothers' Studio to Walt Disney Studios - Roy didn't seem to mind. Things were changing quickly for Walt during this time. An employee, working at the studio, caught Walt's eye - Lillian Bounds. Within a couple of years, the couple married on July 13, 1925. Everything was going well for the Disney brothers over the next few years, until 1928. A man named Charlie Mintz, whose company was buying the 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit' cartoons, hired most of Walt's artists. Mintz decided that he didn't need Walt anymore and left him with a weakening business. Walt needed a new character; he decided it was going to be a mouse.


      Walt soon started coming up with ideas for his new character and often discussed them with Lillian. Each night she would ask him how his new character was coming along. During a conversation, Walt told Lillian that his new character was going to be known as Mortimer - she didn't like the name and instead, suggested Mickey. Later in life, Walt Disney famously stated, "It all started with a mouse!" 


      Walt's first 'Mickey' cartoons were not an instant hit with the public. Silent animations such as 'Plane Crazy' received disappointing reviews - Walt needed something extra. Never one to give up, Walt asked himself, "What would make Mickey more exciting?" His answer was... sound! In 'Steamboat Willie', Walt added sounds, such as Mickey Mouse whistling and Minnie (his girlfriend) says, "Yoo-hoo."  Audiences loved it and soon theatres were showing it across the whole country. More cartoons quickly followed with Walt recording himself as the voices of both Mickey and Minnie. Over the next two decades, Walt Disney became hugely successful and became a household name across the whole world. Throughout this time, one of Walt's creations made a significant impact on the rising success of Walt Disney Studios. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an animated motion length fairy tale, opened on December 21, 1937, at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie was labelled a 'masterpiece' and won Walt a special Academy Award.