The House of Mouse Project / 30.04.2020

The one that challenged the idea of friendship. By the late 1970s, the animation department of Walt Disney Productions had saved itself from foreclosure, particularly after the stunning success of The Rescuers. While a new crop of animators were proving the next generation may just be the answer to a much-needed revolution, the remaining members of Walt's "Nine Old Men" were providing supervision on their final film. And the changing of the guard would prove to be more tumultuous than first expected. Way back in May 1967, Disney had acquired...

The House of Mouse Project / 29.04.2020

The one that became an unexpected smash. The 1970s were a period of great change within the walls of Walt Disney Productions. After the upheaval of losing both Walt and Roy Disney in the space of five years, the studio seemed to be moving further and further away from crafting great works of animation artistry. Instead, the new regime of executives were steadfastly determined to produce animated feature films as inexpensively as possible and appeal purely to children by way of simplistic narratives and slapstick humour. It didn't help Walt's...

The House of Mouse Project / 28.04.2020

The one that crowned a new Disney icon. In his 65 years on this earth, Walt Disney had numerous credits and achievements to his name. The creator of Mickey Mouse. The visionary behind the birth of feature-length animated films. The winner of 22 Academy Awards from 59 nominations, making him the most awarded and nominated individual in Oscars history. The mastermind behind Disneyland. And that's just a taste of Walt's incredible four-decade career. But there was something which meant more to Walt than anything in his illustrious career; his...

The House of Mouse Project / 27.04.2020

The one that recycled the past. After taking the reins from his late brother, Walt, following his death in 1966, the 1970s began with Roy O. Disney promising to steady the ship and honour the legacy the Disney studio had established over the last five decades. On October 1, 1971, Roy achieved his brother's grand dream of a new Disney theme park in Florida, with Walt Disney World opening to the public. Sadly, less than three months later, Roy would suffer a massive stroke and die from a subsequent...

The House of Mouse Project / 26.04.2020

The one that started a new era. The death of Walt Disney in 1966 left an indelible void at Walt Disney Productions. After Walt kept his lung cancer diagnosis a secret from those outside his immediate family, there were few in the studio who were fully prepared for life without their visionary leader. Many of Disney's animators had worked side-by-side with Walt for several decades, leaning heavily on his guidance and direction to inspire their work. Without Walt, many were genuinely questioning if Disney could even continue to craft...

The House of Mouse Project / 25.04.2020

The one that stood as Walt's swansong. By the mid-1960s, Walt Disney was sadly nearing the end of his life. Thirty years after he changed the entire landscape of cinema with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt was about to oversee and produce his final feature-length animated film. While he was still heavily involved in the secretive project to open a Disney park in Florida, the mixed reaction to The Sword in the Stone saw Walt move back to a more participative role in Disney's next animation project. With...

The House of Mouse Project / 24.04.2020

The one that faded into obscurity. After the success of crafting a relatively inexpensive feature-length animated film with One Hundred and One Dalmatians in 1961, the animation department at Walt Disney Productions was saved. However, it was now abundantly clear Walt Disney's attention was firmly planted elsewhere. Disney's live-action films like The Shaggy Dog, The Parent Trap, and Pollyanna were proving far more successful than the studio's animated releases. Walt was also heavily involved in the pre-production of Mary Poppins, particularly his well-documented battle with author P.L. Travers over...

The House of Mouse Project / 23.04.2020

The one that redefined Disney animation. Are you ready for a shocking fact that will make your Mickey Mouse ears spin? You might want to sit down for this one. In 1959, Walt Disney was giving serious consideration to shutting down the animation department at Walt Disney Productions. Yes, the very studio who pioneered the field of feature film animation came achingly close to calling it quits. In retrospect, you can't blame Walt for wanting to call it a day. While a handful of Disney's animated films had been huge...

The House of Mouse Project / 22.04.2020

The one that ended an era. By the mid-1950s, Walt Disney was feeling decidedly exhausted. Since Pinocchio in 1940, Walt Disney Productions had released a new feature-length animated film every single year, bar one gap in 1952. The construction of Disneyland was now taking up the bulk of Walt's time, particularly as its July 1955 opening day grew closer on the horizon. Despite Lady and the Tramp standing as Disney's biggest box office success in almost 20 years, it was time for the animation studio to take a break. That...

The House of Mouse Project / 21.04.2020

The one that delivered a love story like no other. By the mid-1950s, Walt Disney's time and energy were split amongst three separate areas; the animation department which had made him famous, Disney's booming live-action feature film division, and the plans and construction for his mecca to be known as Disneyland. After the box office success of Peter Pan placed Walt Disney Productions back on top, Walt knew he needed a sure-fire winner to keep Disney on track. And the answer was rather obvious. Disney was fast becoming known for...