Walt Disney Productions stock certificate specimen 1984
Uncommon Disney piece. Great vignette of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse and the theme park castle. Flanking the scene are various characters - Donald Duck, the three little pigs, the seven dwarves, Bambi, an d others. Unissued and not cancelled. Circa 1984 from company records. Michael Eisner printed signature as president.
The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney, is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It is the world's second largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of revenue, after Comcast.
Disney was founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, and established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and theme parks. The company also operated under the names The Walt Disney Studio, then Walt Disney Productions. Taking on its current name in 1986, it expanded its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theater, radio, music, publishing, and online media.
In early 1923, Kansas City, Missouri, animator Walt Disney created a short film entitled Alice's Wonderland, which featured child actress Virginia Davis interacting with animated characters. After the bankruptcy in 1923 of his previous firm, Laugh-O-Gram Films, Disney moved to Hollywood to join his brother, Roy O. Disney. Film distributor Margaret J. Winkler of M.J. Winkler Productions contacted Disney with plans to distribute a whole series of Alice Comedies purchased for $1,500 per reel with Disney as a production partner. Walt and Roy Disney formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio that same year. More animated films followed after Alice. In January 1926, with the completion of the Disney studio on Hyperion Street, the Disney Brothers Studio's name was changed to the Walt Disney Studio.
In 1928, Disney came up with the idea of a mouse character named Mortimer. The mouse was later renamed Mickey Mouse (Disney's wife, Lillian, disliked the sound of 'Mortimer Mouse') and starred in several Disney produced films. Ub Iwerks refined Disney's initial design of Mickey Mouse. Disney's first sound film Steamboat Willie, a cartoon starring Mickey, was released on November 18, 1928 through Pat Powers' distribution company.
Deciding to push the boundaries of animation even further, Disney began production of his first feature-length animated film in 1934. Taking three years to complete, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered in December 1937 and became highest-grossing film of that time by 1939. In 1954, Walt Disney used his Disneyland series to unveil what would become Disneyland, an idea conceived out of a desire for a place where parents and children could both have fun at the same time. On July 18, 1955, Walt Disney opened Disneyland to the general public. On July 17, 1955, Disneyland was previewed with a live television broadcast hosted by Art Linkletter and Ronald Reagan. After a shaky start, Disneyland continued to grow and attract visitors from across the country and around the world. A major expansion in 1959 included the addition of America's first monorail system.
In 1954, with the Sid Bass family purchase of 18.7 percent of Disney, Bass and the board brought in Michael Eisner from Paramount Pictures as CEO and Frank Wells from Warner Bros. as president. Eisner emphasized Touchstone Films with Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1985) to start leading to increased output with Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Pretty Woman (1990) and additional hits.
On March 3, 2004, at Disney's annual shareholders' meeting, a surprising and unprecedented 45% of Disney's shareholders, predominantly rallied by former board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, withheld their proxies to re-elect Eisner to the board. Disney's board then gave the chairmanship position to Mitchell. However, the board did not immediately remove Eisner as chief executive. In 2005, Disney sold the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team to Henry and Susan Samueli. On March 13, 2005, Robert Iger was announced as Eisner successor as CEO. On September 30, Eisner resigned both as an executive and as a member of the board of directors.