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Friday, January 8, 2021

Disney People: Roy Disney, Part Two

After contracting tuberculosis, Roy Disney was honorably discharged from the Navy and sent to a military hospital in Southern California, where navy doctors felt the climate would be conducive to his convalescence. Before joining the Navy, Roy had worked as a bank teller, so he quickly found work in his new home. (It was through his prior bank job in Kansas City that he had met his future wife.) 

Roy didn’t have much time to settle in when his younger brother blew into town. After suffering a bankruptcy in Kansas City, Walt Disney decided to go west to California to follow his dreams. Walt had an idea for a series of short pictures in which a live action girl would be inserted into a cartoon world. Roy was skeptical and initially watched his brother’s attempts to sell the cartoon from a distance. After Margaret Winkler signed a contract with Walt to produce the series for Universal Pictures, the younger Disney quickly realized that he was out of his element and he instinctively went to the one person he knew could help him turn the contract into a viable business- his brother Roy Disney.

Roy was intrigued, but initially resistant. He knew nothing about the motion picture business and didn’t want to be involved in “show business” at all. However, he had promised his brother that he would always look out for him, providing any assistance he might need. After convincing himself that maybe these newfangled motion pictures might become huge- and getting Walt to agree to solely take care of the show side of things while he took care of the business, Roy quit his job and formed Disney Bros. Studios.