One hundred years ago, in the late summer of 1923, Walt Disney was living and working on the second floor of the Laugh-O-Gram building, then known as the McConahay Building. It had been built only a couple years earlier and was designed by noted KC architect Nelle Peters.
Walt was in desperate circumstances. He had exhausted the funds he had raised from local business people. He was paying his staff with shares of stock in his company and some of them were seeking employment elsewhere.
Walt’s response to these dire straits was to undertake his most ambitious project yet.
He cast four-year-old Virginia Davis in the role of Alice in what became the first episode of “The Alice Comedies”, his first film series in California. “Alice’s Wonderland” was a clever reversal of a special effects technique developed by the Fleischer Brothers in their “Out of the Inkwell” series. They featured cartoon characters in a live action world. Walt’s idea was to feature young Virginia Davis as a live-action Alice in a cartoon wonderland.
When Walt departed from Union Station on a Santa Fe train bound for Hollywood, he took with him that one reel of film which became the foundation for the entire Walt Disney Company.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".