The following year, stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls were introduced, and these were followed by a myriad of Mickey and Minnie toys.
By the mid-1930s, the comical cast of Disney characters had brightened the dark days of the Great Depression and numerous companies were licensed to produce Disney-themed items.
From hankies to hand-cranked toy projectors, wrist watches, jewelry, figurines, dolls, Halloween masks, party favors and more, all are highly collectible today.
‘SNOW WHITE’ SUCCESS
As Disney’s success in animation grew, he turned his attention to creating a full-length, color, feature film based on the Grimm fairy tale Snow White. When Hollywood learned of his plans, they dubbed the venture “Disney’s Folly” because the projected expense would be astronomical in the midst of the Great Depression.
Undaunted, the studio set to work. and after three years, with 750 artists working full time, the film was completed at a cost of $1.5 million.
In order to make the feature film, animation artists had to draw the images on cels: 10.5-by-12.5-inch sheets of thin, transparent celluloid plastic.
Each image was first hand drawn in ink, then a piece of glass was placed on top of it, and another cel was laid upon the glass, and the process was repeated with a slight alteration.
Artists worked from a storyboard, photographs and movies of live models so they could get animated character movement as lifelike as possible. Once all the images in a scene were drawn, they were hand-colored and then filmed in sequence, frame by frame, with a special camera.
When all was said and done, Disney artists drew in excess of 140,000 different animation cels for the film.
On Dec. 21, 1937, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” made its debut and was a smash hit. The Technicolor film earned more than $8 million and garnered Walt Disney an Academy Award.