Laugh-O-Gram Studio in 2010
|Successor(s)||Walt Disney Productions|
|Headquarters||Kansas City, Missouri
|Key people||Walt Disney|
The studio played a role in the early years of animation: it was home to many of the pioneers of animation, brought there by Walt Disney, and is said to be the place to have provided Disney with the inspiration to create Mickey Mouse.
In May 1922, Disney founded Laugh-O-Gram Films with $15,000. The company got an $11,000 contract to produce six fairy tale cartoons for Pictorial Clubs, Inc., which went bankrupt; a seventh fairy tale was sold to them separately. Among Disney's employees on the series were several pioneers of animation: Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman, Friz Freleng and Carmen Maxwell.
The company had problems making ends meet: by the end of 1922, Disney was living in the office, taking baths once a week at Union Station.
After the bankruptcy of Pictorial Clubs, Disney's staff left the studio. But when the local Kansas City dentist Thomas B. McCrum from the Deener Dental Institute contacted Disney and offered him the job of producing a short subject about dental hygiene intended for the Missouri school system, he brought together some of his staff again and made Tommy Tucker's Tooth. This earned the studio $500, which was invested in the live-action/animation demonstration film Alice's Wonderland.
After creating the final short Alice's Wonderland, the studio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 1923. Disney then moved to Hollywood, California. Disney sold his movie camera, earning enough money for a one-way train ticket; he brought along an unfinished reel of Alice's Wonderland.
Fate of the building 
The studio building had fallen to ruin by 2004 at the time the photo was taken and efforts were being made to restore it. The Disney family had promised $450,000 in matching funds for the restoration. By 2009, the exterior of the building had been restored, with all the buttresses removed, etc., but it was left looking like an abandoned, boarded up warehouse. A sign adorned the exterior wall saying, "Thank you, Walt Disney, Inc."
Inspiration for Mickey Mouse 
Disney told interviewers later that he was inspired to draw Mickey by a tame mouse at his desk at Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri.
- They used to fight for crumbs in my waste-basket when I worked alone late at night. I lifted them out and kept them in wire cages on my desk. I grew particularly fond of one brown house mouse. He was a timid little guy. By tapping him on the nose with my pencil, I trained him to run inside a black circle I drew on my drawing board. When I left Kansas to try my luck at Hollywood, I hated to leave him behind. So I carefully carried him to a backyard, making sure it was a nice neighborhood, and the tame little fellow scampered to freedom.
In 1928 during a train trip to New York he showed the drawing to his wife Lillian Marie Bounds and said he was going to call it "Mortimer Mouse." She replied that the name sounded "too sissified" and suggested Mickey Mouse instead.
Of the original seven Laugh-O-Grams fairy tales, four were long known to have survived, and have been restored for DVD: Little Red Riding Hood (1922), The Four Musicians of Bremen (1922), Puss in Boots (1922), and Cinderella (1922). These shorts later became available on Blu-ray Disc as bonus features for Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Tommy Tucker's Tooth (1922), and Alice's Wonderland (1923) are also available on DVD, and Alice's Wonderland eventually became a bonus feature for the 60th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition of Alice in Wonderland. The original piece of filming/animation known as Newman Laugh-O-Grams (originally released theatrically on March 20, 1921) is available on some DVDs too. Due to their date of publication, all 10 shorts produced by the studio have fallen in the public domain.
The missing fairy tale cartoons were Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant Killer, and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears (all 1922). On October 14, 2010, animation historian David Gerstein announced that copies of all three had been found. For many years the two Jack cartoons were believed to be one, until researcher John Kenworthy located old studio assets sheets confirming that they were separate shorts.
|1922||Little Red Riding Hood||Yes|
|1922||The Four Musicians of Bremen||Yes|
|1922||Jack and the Beanstalk||Yes|
|1922||Jack the Giant Killer||Yes|
|1922||Goldie Locks and the Three Bears||Yes|
|1922||Puss in Boots||Yes|
|1922||Tommy Tucker's Tooth||Yes||Mostly live-action|
|1923||Alice's Wonderland||Yes||Pilot film in Alice Comedies|
See also 
- Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams ISBN 0-7573-0231-9
- Tommy Tucker's Tooth at The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
- Tommy Tucker's Tooth at the Internet Movie Database
- Walt Disney: A Biography - Page 24
- Walt Disney: Conversations (Conversations With Comic Artists Series) by Kathy Merlock Jackson with Walt Disney " ISBN 1-57806-713-8 page 120
- Walt in Wonderland : the Silent Films of Walt Disney, Russell Merritt and J.B. Kaufman, page 125
- The Hand Behind the Mouse by John Kenworthy ISBN 978-0-7868-5320-5 page 18
- Laugh-O-Gram Films at the Internet Movie Database
- thankyouwaltdisney.org Thank you Walt Disney - Restoring Laugh-O-Gram Studios