Throughout my life, I have had my fair share of creative and historical interests, however, one stands out as having a consistently prominent role in my life: The Disney Legacy. While many of my peers were watching MTV, learning foreign languages, or pursuing athletic endeavors, I was holed up in my room consuming every bit of media I could on the history and business operations of The Walt Disney Company. I was the only 7th grader I’ve ever known to read James Stewart’s The Disney War, a 600+ page tome chronicling Michael Eisner’s time as Disney’s CEO, for fun.
The passion I held (and still hold) for learning everything I could about Disney and sharing it with anyone who would listen became an integral part of who I am. While, at times, it has been something I have been made fun of and picked on for, it is also something I have been able to come back to when I am at my lowest: to reground, recenter, and push forward. A few months ago, I was in a dark personal space and was struggling to find motivation/inspiration, so I decided to look into a facet of the Disney Legacy that I knew relatively little about: Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men.
Walt’s Nine Old Men were actually not very old at all—most in their 30s and 40s—by the time the moniker first came into use. They consisted of nine key Animators within Walt’s Animation Board; a group of men who were responsible for helping to oversee the entire department. Per Frank and Ollie, the Animation Board was in charge of “advising on hiring, firing, assignments, moves, promotions, and training.” Each of these artists brought their own unique history, stories, and talents to the studio—imbuing them into their works and helping to push the limits of the young medium of animation to unforeseen heights.
Below are a series of visual editorials which link to the stories of each of the men as they originally appeared on Instagram during the summer of 2019. At the bottom of each story are also a series of images known as the “Side Stories” that originally appeared in Instagram Story format. This series was done in partnership with the DisneyBound to History initiative and I hope you enjoy.