Mickey Mouse, Disney Studios, Laugh-O-Gram Studios, Friz Freleng, animation
Walt Disney, Though the mere words Walt Disney invoke the sunny skies of Florida or California, the man who would become the icon had to first fail in Kansas City. The Disneys moved from Illinois when Walter Elias was 9 years old, and he returned after service as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross in World War I. He met his then-and-future colleagues at the Kansas City Film Ad Company and by 1921 they opened up the Laugh-O-Gram Studio on 31st Street, producing inventive animated films. The fledgling studio quickly floundered and Walt packed up to meet his brother in California in 1923. Five years later, Walt showed his wife Lillian a sketch of a friendly mouse from the Laugh-O-Gram building that he had endearingly named Mortimer. She suggested the manlier “Mickey Mouse,” and a legend was born.