The release of 1928’s Steamboat Willie put a young animator Walt Disney on the map. Soon he was winning Academy Awards left and right—but he wasn’t satisfied with a few measly trophies. At the time, animation was an incredibly labor-intensive process, and everyone in Hollywood believed anything longer than a five to 10-minute short was a fool’s errand. Except for Walt Disney.
A New Frontier
Disney didn’t care how much work it took, he staunchly believed that a feature-length cartoon would be a goldmine. In 1934, he pushed Walt Disney Studios into production on an adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Not only did he want a film nearly 90 minutes long, but he also wanted full color and sound. No one had ever tried anything like it before.
Though he tried to keep it under wraps at first, word leaked out eventually—we’re talking about Hollywood, after all. The reactions ranged from disbelief to ridicule. Soon, people started calling Snow White “Disney’s Folly,” and most other studios believed the mammoth undertaking would bankrupt Disney’s fledgling studio.
The years began to pass, and Snow White still wasn’t finished. It looked like the naysayers had been right.