Check out the darkest secrets of Walt Disney! From hidden secrets exposed to facts about disney, this top 10 list of facts Disney doesn't want you to know is shocking!
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11. Forging his Birth Certificate
As Walt Disney watched his brothers go off to take part in WWI, he wanted nothing more than to join them. Even in 1918, when the war was coming to an end – he was way too young to join the army and no one would take a 16-year-old. Disney was born on December 5, 1901, and he wasn’t old enough to become a soldier. His initial plan was to join the Canadian Army, but it didn’t work out. However, Disney didn’t let this bring him down, as he was determined to reach Europe – no matter what. His next idea was to join the American Ambulance Corps, which was a part of the Red Cross who would take 17-year-olds, but he was still too young to join that as well. So, he decided to lie about his age. It actually wasn’t that hard for him to do because in 1901, birth certificates were not required by law in Illinois and official paperwork often went unfiled. When he filled out the application, all he had to do was change the 1 to a 0 and was now born in 1900. He was sent to France in September 1918 after the armistice and spent his time driving officials and making important deliveries.
There are actually many rumors about Walt Disney’s birth and his certificate. Since his was never officially recorded, it was rumored that he was actually an adopted boy from Spain or the product of an affair between his father, Elias Disney and a woman named Isabel Zamora from Spain. There is no evidence that Walt’s parents had any relationship with Spain or had even been there.
There was also the rumor that he had been born on Jan 8, 1891. Someone was born on that date with that name, probably his brother Raymond, and his parents just changed their mind about the name at the last minute. School records and photographs prove that Walt was not 11 years older and could not have been the product of an affair in 1890. So between the record for the red cross, the confusion about his birth and the alleged affair, Walt Disney is already off to a rocky start!
10. Modifying his Signature
Forging your birth certificate is one thing, but forging your signature is definitely something else. Actually, Walt Disney’s signature has a history all its own! His signature is one of the best-known images of the whole Disney Empire, especially because of the famous letters “W” and “D”, with their curved shapes and straight lines down the middle. But the truth is – those are not the letters from Disney’s original signature and this wasn’t even used as the company’s logo until 20 years after Walt’s death.
If you look at early pictures of Walt Disney’s work you can see the shape of his letters are pretty different and his real signature doesn’t look anything like the corporate signature.
The thing is that, because of the massive amount of animation in the Disney studios, Walt Disney just didn’t have enough time to sign and approve things all day long. So he allowed a few people to sign his name in the studio. One of those people was Hank Porter, who was employed in the promotions department of Disney studios and Bob Moore who signed autographs. Many of the cartoonists also signed their work in the same way, which looks much more like the corporate signature of today.
Walt himself made subtle changes to his signature every year and even his own, real signatures look like they were signed by different people. If you think you have something that may have been signed by Walt Disney, it is worth it to get it authenticated by an experienced appraiser. It could be worth a lot!!
9. Nervous Breakdown
With the success that we see now, it seems like Walt Disney had it all. You might think that his pathway to success was easy, but this is far from the truth. Early on, Walt was struggling to get his company started, and he would spend hours on end in his studio, working with the animators to deliver content that was up to his standards.
In the early 1930s, he was under extraordinary amount of pressure. According to his own testimony, he was working way too hard, pushing himself to the limit. In those days, Disney and his wife were also trying to have children, but they suffered a series of miscarriages. With a lot of financial troubles to deal with, and each new film costing more than the previous, and his problems at home.
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