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Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an EntertainmentEmpire [Hardcover]

Bob Thomas
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 15 1998

One night, at a Los Angeles dinner gala, Walt Disney gave a rare public statement about his older brother, Roy: " We started the business here in 1923, and if it hadn`t been for my big brother, I swear I`d`ve been in jail several times for checks bouncing. I never knew what was in the bank. He kept me on the straight and narrow. " Although Walt wasn`t quite that ignorant of the numbers, it`s true that Roy handled most of the finances for the Disney empire. It was Roy who kept the studio running in the early years, Roy who put together the financing deals for Disneyland, Roy who oversaw the completion of Walt Disney World in Florida after his brother`s death in 1966.Building a Company provides plenty of anecdotal details about the Disney entertainment empire`s rise to power. Don`t look for juicy scandal, though: Bob Thomas`s fully authorized (and, ultimately, Disney-financed) biography steers clear of any controversies, such as Disney`s attempts to get out of a contract with ABC in the late `50s, before they can cause a blight on the success story. Useful primarily to those interested in the details of business and entertainment history.


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From Amazon

One night, at a Los Angeles dinner gala, Walt Disney gave a rare public statement about his older brother, Roy: "We started the business here in 1923, and if it hadn't been for my big brother, I swear I'd've been in jail several times for checks bouncing. I never knew what was in the bank. He kept me on the straight and narrow."

Although Walt wasn't quite that ignorant of the numbers, it's true that Roy handled most of the finances for the Disney empire. It was Roy who kept the studio running in the early years, Roy who put together the financing deals for Disneyland, Roy who oversaw the completion of Walt Disney World in Florida after his brother's death in 1966.

Building a Company provides plenty of anecdotal details about the Disney entertainment empire's rise to power. Don't look for juicy scandal, though: Bob Thomas's fully authorized (and, ultimately, Disney-financed) biography steers clear of any controversies, such as Disney's attempts to get out of a contract with ABC in the late '50s, before they can cause a blight on the success story. Useful primarily to those interested in the details of business and entertainment history.

From Publishers Weekly

Roy Disney was born in 1893, a full eight years before his brother Walt. Despite the age gap, the brothers were from the beginning almost inseparable. Roy joined the Navy during WWI, but following his discharge discovered he had tuberculosis. His search for a suitable climate for recovery brought him to California, where he was soon joined by Walt, who had already set up his first cartoon film company, Laugh-O-Gram. With Walt supplying the vision, Roy was brought onboard to handle the finances. Together they established the Walt Disney Company; by himself, Walt came up with a signature character named Mortimer Mouse, who made his debut as Mickey in the film Plane Crazy. Once he reappeared in his first talkie, Steamboat Willie, an American cartoon icon was born. Thomas (Walt Disney: An American Original) depicts the business acumen of Roy in such matters as licensing, the forming of the original Mickey Mouse Clubs and the retention of TV rights of Disney products as early as the 1930s. Thomas covers as well Roy's part in the company's going public; its financial restructuring after WWII; the production of feature films like Fantasia; and the creation of Disneyland, leading to the Florida land-buy necessary for DisneyWorld, which opened just before Roy's death in 1971. This is a highly entertaining book that will interest a business readership in addition to fans of Disney. 16 pages of b&w photos, not seen by PW. (July) FYI: Hyperion, a Disney company, appears to have taken its name from the first location of the Walt Disney Studios, 2719 Hyperion Avenue in downtown L.A.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The one who believed in the dreamer. May 3 2002
By TWiz
Format:Paperback
What an interesting read! I had never heard of 'Roy O Disney', and perhaps that's the way he wanted it. Great insight into the man behind the man at one of the most well-known and well-loved companies in the world.
This book will help you understand the difference between visionary leadership and organizational leadership. One without the other is all but irrelevant! Plus some interesting theories on money and risk-taking. Current self-absorbed (and overpaid) CEO's should read this book and take notes. Any comments Mr. Eisner?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally April 17 2002
Format:Paperback
Finally someone who wrote about equally important, 2nd pilar of The Walt Disney Company. Its cofounder is greatly described in this book. It has many comparisons with his more famous brother Walt, but Roy's business affairs genious was equally important for the company, as Walt's creative genious. This book is a must read!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful! Jan. 29 2002
Format:Paperback
Bob Thomas presents a fascinating history of the Disney entertainment empire, with a special focus on Roy Disney's role in the company's growth. While Walt Disney was the creative genius (although he never drew a single picture of Mickey Mouse), Roy Disney provided the solid financial foundation, got the loans and made the deals that made Disney profitable. Thomas mixes the Disney brothers' personal history with an overview of the Disney Company's creative and financial expansion, as they balanced creativity with practical business fundamentals. This personal and corporate saga illustrates the value of a company's commitment to both a central driving purpose and core values. We [...] recommend this lively, engaging, entertaining read. Just one note: The Book's publisher, like so many other entities in the entertainment world, is a Disney subsidiary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED THIS BOOK! Aug. 28 2001
Format:Paperback
This is the first book that I read on the Disney's and I really LOVED it! It talks about them before they were who they were. It talks about Walt's obessions and Roy's devotion to his brother's dreams. God! If I had a brother who did this for me... the accomplishments I'd have made already in life. It's really a good book if you want to see a little bit of the mind set going on. I really want to find other books that talks about them. I liked how it explained the human side of these two guys. I think that's very imporant for a anyone in a small business with big aspirations to read and understand.
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