Did you know that The Walt Disney Company has a birthday coming up?
On October 16, 2023, Disney will mark its 100th anniversary. (I learned this while working on last month’s post about Davy Crockett.)
Let’s celebrate the upcoming centennial with more than 100 Walt Disney-inspired baby names. Just to make things interesting, all of the names below refer to Disney-related people, places, things, and events from the pre-television era.
- Walt (Walter) or Elias for animator and businessman Walter Elias “Walt” Disney, who was born in 1901. His middle name was passed down from his father, Elias C. Disney.
- Kaycee for Kaycee Studio, Walt’s first animation studio. It was named after its location, Kansas City — “K.C” for short.
- Newman for the Newman Laugh-o-Grams, Walt’s first animated films, which aired exclusively at the Newman Theater in Kansas City starting in early 1921.
- Jack for the Laugh-o-Gram shorts Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer, both from 1922.
- Goldie for the Laugh-o-Gram short Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, also from 1922.
- The name Goldie was used again (for an elf) in the future Disney short The Golden Touch (1935).
- Alice for the Alice Comedies, a series of short films in which a live-action girl named Alice interacts with cartoon characters in an animated landscape. The first short, the unfinished Alice’s Wonderland, was created in Kansas City.
In the summer of 1923, after Walt’s second studio (Laugh-o-Gram) went bankrupt, Walt moved to Los Angeles, California.
- Margaret for businesswoman Margaret J. Winkler, who agreed to distribute Walt’s proposed Alice Comedies series. The contract was signed on October 16, 1923.
- Roy for Roy O. Disney, who, with Walt, co-founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (later The Walt Disney Company) upon the finalization of the distribution deal.
- Virginia for child actress Virginia Davis, who originated the role of Alice. Her family relocated to California so that she could appear in 14 more films.
- Kathleen for artist Kathleen Dollard, the studio’s first hire.
- Julius for Julius the Cat, a recurring character in the Alice Comedies.
- Pete for Peg Leg Pete, a villain who first appeared in Alice Solves the Puzzle (1925). He has since become Disney’s oldest recurring character.
- Margie and Lois for child actresses Margie Gay and Lois Hardwick, who played Alice in later films.
- Oswald for character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who was created in 1927 (by Universal Pictures) to star in a new series of animated films, the first 26 of which were animated by Walt’s company.
In 1928, the businessman who owned the rights to Oswald decided to create his own animation studio and produce the Oswald cartoons himself. He even hired away several of Walt’s animators.
It was a major setback, as Walt’s studio had already created more than two dozen successful Oswald films. But Walt refused to give up. Soon enough, he came up with an idea for a new character — a mouse!
- Mickey and Minnie for characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. They technically first appeared in the short Plane Crazy (May 1928), but their first wide-release appearance was in Steamboat Willie.
- Willie for the short Steamboat Willie (Nov. 1928). One of the first cartoons to synchronize sound and animation, it was an immediate hit.
- The name Willie was used again in the future Disney short Willie the Operatic Whale (1946).
- Charlotte for seamstress Charlotte Clark, who designed and sold the first Disney-approved Mickey Mouse dolls.
Walt’s studio not only continued making Mickey Mouse films, but also began another series of films, Silly Symphonies, which introduced a slew of new characters.
- Horace for character Horace Horsecollar, who first appeared in the short The Plowboy (1929).
- Adeline for “Sweet Adeline,” the song that Mickey (and a pair of alley cats) performed for Minnie in the short The Karnival Kid (1929). Mickey Mouse spoke his first words in this cartoon.
- Clarabelle for Horace’s love interest, Clarabelle Cow, who first appeared in the short The Shindig (1930).
- Pluto for Mickey Mouse’s dog, Pluto the Pup, who first appeared in the short The Chain Gang (1930). His name, inspired by the recently discovered planet Pluto, was first used in The Moose Hunt (1931).
- Vance for actor Vance “Pinto” Colvig, the original voice of both Pluto and Goofy.
- Fifi for Pluto’s love interest, Fifi the Pekingese, who first appeared in the short Puppy Love (1933).
- Donald for character Donald Duck, who first appeared in the short The Wise Little Hen (1934).
- Clarence for actor Clarence Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck.
- Morty and Ferdie for Mickey Mouse’s nephews, Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse, from the short Mickey’s Steam Roller (1934).
- Clara for character Clara Cluck, the operatic chicken who first appeared in the short Orphan’s Benefit (1934).
- Peter and Polly for characters Peter and Polly Penguin from the short Peculiar Penguins (1934).
- The name Peter was used again in the future Disney short Peter and the Wolf (1946).
- Bianca for artist Bianca Majolie, the studio’s first female employee in the Story department (as opposed to the Ink and Paint department).
- Max and Toby for characters Max Hare and Toby Tortoise, rivals first featured in the Oscar-winning short The Tortoise and the Hare (1935).
- Ambrose (or Butch) for the kitten named Ambrose (who aspired to be a bandit called “Butch”) in the short The Robber Kitten (1935).
- Jenny for Donald Duck’s burro, Jenny, who first appeared in the short Mickey’s Polo Team (1936).
- The name Jenny had also been used in the unrelated 1935 short Who Killed Cock Robin?
- Elmer and Tillie for characters Elmer Elephant and Tillie Tiger from the short Elmer Elephant (1936).
- The name Elmer had also been used in the unrelated 1934 short Mickey Plays Papa.
- Mortimer for character Mortimer Mouse from the short Mickey’s Rival (1936).
- Did you know that Walt’s original name for Mickey Mouse was “Mortimer Mouse”? His wife Lillian convinced him to use the name Mickey instead.
- Monty and Abner for characters Monty Citymouse and Abner Countrymouse from the Oscar-winning short The Country Cousin (1936).
- Donna for Donald Duck’s first girlfriend, Donna Duck, from the short Don Donald (1937).
- Hortense for the insatiable ostrich Hortense in the short Donald’s Ostrich (1937).
- Snow for Snow White, the lead character from the studio’s first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). This was the first animated feature in history “to receive a wide, Hollywood-style release.”
- Adriana for actress and singer Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White.
- Marge for dancer Marge Champion, the real-life model for Snow White. She was also the model for other Disney characters, including the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio.
- Lucille for actress Lucille La Verne, the voice of the Evil Queen from Snow White.
- Moroni for actor Moroni Olsen, the voice of the Magic Mirror from Snow White.
- Larry and Frank for songwriters Larry Morey and Frank Churchill, who created the song “Someday My Prince Will Come” for Snow White.
- Seven for the seven dwarfs from Snow White.
- Huey, Dewey, and Louie for Donald Duck’s nephews, who first appeared in the short Donald’s Nephews (1938).
- Tailor for the Mickey Mouse short Brave Little Tailor (1938).
- Ferdinand for the pacifist bull Ferdinand from the Oscar-winning short Ferdinand the Bull (1938).
- Wilbur for Goofy’s pet grasshopper, Wilbur, from the short Goofy and Wilbur (1939).
- Gus for the gluttonous goose Gus in the short Donald’s Cousin Gus (1939).
- The name Gus was used again (for a mouse) in the future Disney movie Cinderella.
- Dickie for child actor Richard “Dickie” Jones, the voice of the lead character from the studio’s second feature-length film, Pinocchio (1940).
- Blue for the Blue Fairy, the character who brought Geppetto’s puppet to life in Pinocchio.
- Evelyn for actress Evelyn Venable, the voice of the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio.
- Cleo for Geppetto’s pet goldfish, Cleo, from Pinocchio.
- Leigh and Ned for songwriters Leigh Harline and Ned Washington, who created the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” for Pinocchio.
- Cliff for actor and singer Clifton “Cliff” Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio.
- Daisy for Donald Duck’s second girlfriend, Daisy Duck, who first appeared in the short Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940).
- Fantasia for the studio’s third feature-length film, Fantasia (1940). The movie’s title comes from the musical term fantasia, which refers to a musical composition without a traditional or fixed form.
- Fred for animator Fred Moore, who redesigned Mickey Mouse for the character’s feature-length film debut in Fantasia.
- Leopold for conductor Leopold Stokowski, who conducted the classical music in Fantasia.
- Giles for character Sir Giles, the elderly knight from the studio’s fourth feature-length film, The Reluctant Dragon (1941).
- Timothy for the character Timothy Q. Mouse from the studio’s fifth feature-length film, Dumbo (1941).
- Bambi and Faline for characters Bambi and Faline from the studio’s sixth feature-length film, Bambi (1942).
- Tyrus for Chinese-American animator Tyrus Wong, whose sketches inspired the impressionistic style of Bambi.
- Retta for animator Retta Scott, the first female animator to receive screen credit on a Disney animated feature (Bambi).
- José for character José Carioca, the dapper parrot who first appeared in the studio’s seventh feature-length film, Saludos Amigos (1943).
- Pedro for character Pedro, the anthropomorphic mail plane from Saludos Amigos.
- Chip and Dale for characters Chip and Dale, the mischievous chipmunks who first appeared in the short Private Pluto (1943).
- Pablo for character Pablo, the warmth-seeking penguin from the studio’s ninth feature-length film, The Three Caballeros (1945).
- Pauline for character Pauline from the short Duck Pimples (1945).
- Cedric and Esmeralda for characters Cedric and Esmeralda from the short A Knight for a Day (1946).
- Henry and Grace for characters Henry and Grace, the feuding newlyweds from the studio’s 10th feature-length film, Make Mine Music (1946).
- Lulubelle for character Lulubelle from the studio’s 12th feature-length film, Fun and Fancy Free (1947).
- Anita for singer Anita Gordon, the voice of the Golden Harp in Fun and Fancy Free.
- Alfred and Elma for husband-and-wife wildlife filmmakers Alfred and Elma Milotte, who created Disney’s True-Life Adventures documentary series, starting with the Oscar-winning On Seal Island (1948).
- Jeremiah for character Jeremiah Kincaid from the studio’s 14th feature-length film, So Dear to My Heart (1949).
- Danny for Jeremiah’s pet lamb, Danny, from So Dear to My Heart (1949). The lamb was named after champion racehorse Dan Patch.
- Bobby for child actor Robert “Bobby” Driscoll, who played Jeremiah in So Dear to My Heart. Bobby also played the part of Jim in Treasure Island.
- Luana for child actress Luana Patten, who played Tildy in So Dear to My Heart.
- Marceline for the town of Marceline, Missouri. Though set in Indiana, So Dear to My Heart was strongly influenced by Walt’s childhood experiences in Marceline.
- Melody for the studio’s 13th feature-length film, Melody Time (1948).
- Bill and Sue for characters Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue from Melody Time.
- Angus and Thaddeus for characters Angus MacBadger and J. Thaddeus Toad from the studio’s 15th feature-length film, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949).
- Brom and Katrina for characters Brom Bones and Katrina Van Tassel, also from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
- Cinderella for the lead character from the studio’s 16th feature-length film, Cinderella (1950).
- Ilene for actress and singer Jacqueline Ruth “Ilene” Woods, the voice of Cinderella.
- Verna for actress Verna Felton, the voice of the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella.
- Treasure for the studio’s 17th feature-length film, Treasure Island (1950). This was Disney’s first entirely live-action movie.
- Jim for character Jim Hawkins from Treasure Island.
- Humphrey for character Humphrey the Bear, who first appeared in the short Hold That Pose (1950).
Disney’s pre-television era ended in December of 1950, when NBC aired Walt Disney’s first TV production — a Christmas special called One Hour in Wonderland, hosted by Walt himself.
Which of the names above do you like best?
P.S. Today happens to be the 68th anniversary of Disneyland, which opened in 1955 on July 17.
- Disney to Celebrate 100th Anniversary in 2023 – D23
- List of Walt Disney Animation Studios short films – Wikipedia
- List of Walt Disney Animation Studios films – Wikipedia
- The Walt Disney Family Museum
- The History of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Part One – MousePlanet
- Animation – Britannica
- Screenshots from the Disney films Plane Crazy (1928), Alice’s Wild West Show (1924), The Country Cousin (1936), Pinocchio (1940), and So Dear to My Heart (1949)
- Charlotte Clark Doll Label by Redfoxtracks under CC BY-SA 3.0