Mickey Mouse spawned an entertainment empire
There are a surprising number of famous people in the entertainment industry who are well past the age of 90. Olivia de Havilland and Kirk Douglas are 102, Carol Channing is 97, Betty White and Doris Day are 96 and Bob Barker is 95.
Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner and Cloris Leachman are all over 90.
The young man in that group, is Mickey Mouse, who turns 90 on Nov. 18.
That night, a look-back at his more than a hundred big screen roles, will air on ABC. Next Thursday, a 16,000 square foot exhibition opens in New York, tracing Mickey’s influence on Art and Pop Culture.
What do you suppose Walt Disney envisioned when he introduced the little guy in 1928 in the cartoon feature Steamboat Willie?
Disney proved to be a visionary. He was an artist, voice actor, film producer and entrepreneur when he introduced Mickey, after which his career took off.
He died in 1966 at the age of 65 just before Disneyworld in Florida opened. He was a billionaire, in today’s money.
Speaking of money, the Disney Company has annual revenues of $55 billion, with net earnings last year of $9 billion.
It would take a lot of paper to list what Disney owns today, so here are a few of note: Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Theme Parks, Lucas Films, Pixar Films and ABC.
Disney also has a Venture Capital arm and owns Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose airplane. They employ 199,000 people.
Michael Eisner was probably the most well-known Chairman and CEO (After Walt, of course). Eisner is credited with bringing the company back to life between 1984 and 2005.
The current chairman and CEO is Bob Iger, who took over from Eisner. He makes $36 million a year.
The grapevine says Eisner was a tyrant and difficult to work for. Carol and I rented a house in Palm Springs one winter from a guy who is a retired senior VP, reporting directly to Eisner. He told us some interesting stories.
I never liked Mickey Mouse’s voice. Nor Goofy’s. Nor Minnie’s. OK, I do like Goofy’s.
Fred Trainor is a retired broadcaster living in Okanagan Falls. Email: email@example.com.