Where a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Historical Realism
"It all started with a Mouse" - Walt Disney
Original oil on canvas - 45" x 28"

At the original Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, Walt had two offices known as the "formal" office and his "working" office. The painting, "It all started with a Mouse" is based on his working desk as it could have been in late 1966.

As if Walt's alter ego is looking down at the desk seeing laid out before him, many of the things that tell the story of the magic.

The desk is staged as it was in early December '66 with his stainless file organizers, ink bottles, red crayon pencils, cork ball pencil holder, ashtrays, and other personal objects. Other selected items placed across the desk, give a visual biography of the Walt's incredible vision and talent.
  • From his earliest animation book 'ANIMATED CARTOONS', by EG Lutz that he checked out of the library in 1920 to one of his last papers, signed by him in November 1966, giving approval for the script describing his new Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) center.
  • Sitting on the desk and under the animation book is the letter to Ubbe Iworks, dated June 1st, 1924, expressing surprise and excitement that Ub has agreed to come to California and work with Walt.
  • The partially folded paper just to the right of the Lutz book is one of the earliest known sketches of their new character. 
  • Higher on the canvas and in the stainless file organizer is the 6 page script for "Steamboat Willie", their first released film with Mickey. The cover is open showing the film's opening sequence. David Smith, Disney Archive's first curator said that Walt was never one to keep the items that were "part of the process", as the finished product is what was important. Dave found this script in Walt's desk drawer in 1970 as he began to document all of the items that were in Walt's offices.
  • The large, rolled yet folded document in the middle is the original drawing, completed over a weekend in September, 1953 by Herb Ryman and Walt of Walt's new vision. Dick Irvine, a colleague, called up Herb and Walt got on the phone and asked how long it would take him to get to the studio. Herb said 15 minutes and when he arrived, Walt began describing this new park that he wanted to build. He explained that Roy was going to New York to meet with some bankers to help with financing and they needed a drawing of this new park. He knew that Herb was just the guy to help. Herb said, "
    You’re crazy. You’ve got a lot of nerve to call me on a Saturday, hoping I can come up with something. Well I can’t. Nobody in the world can do it. It will embarrass me and you. I don’t want anything to do with it. We’re still good friends, but that’s impossible.“ - See more at: http://www.waltdisney.org/content/drawing-park#sthash.LNa4gt7L.dpuf
    Walt, you're crazy. You've got a lot of nerve to call me on Saturday, hoping I can come up with something...I don't want anything to do with it." About two hours later, Herb was hard at work, turning Walt's ideas into a beautiful drawing. The colorized version as well as the nine page document, describing this new park were taken to New York to secure funding to make it a reality.
  • Up to the right in another stainless organizer is the script for Mary Poppins, arguably the best live action film by Disney. Walt spent decades beginning in 1938, to purchase the film rights to the Mary Poppins books from P.L. Travers, finally succeeding in 1961.
  • Just below that is the book on city planning, "The Heart of Our Cities" by Victor Gruen. Walt immersed himself in this book during a July 1966 Vancouver trip/cruise with his family. Many of Walt's ideas for EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) came after reading this book.
  • The sketch near the bottom of the painting is a sketch that Walt did himself on a napkin, of his new vision for this experimental city.
  • Just to the right of this sketch is one of the last documents signed by Walt and gives his approval of the script that he was to read on television describing the new park and EPCOT Center.
  • Just barely visible on the right is his daily "Scotch Mist" a drink of scotch over crushed ice with lemon and made incredibly weak by his secretary.
The genesis of this painting would not have been possible without the help and guidance of an amazing friend, Wendell Warner, who worked with Walt and Lillian in the 60's and with Disney for many, many years.

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing...that it was all started by a mouse." - Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

     "It all started with a Mouse" is available in multiple sizes as signed and numbered giclees.

  Gary Kutscher - Huntington Beach, California - 714-330-8048