This Day in Disney History (courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum Timeline: http://www.waltdisney.org/content/time-head-west)
July 30, 1923
Having given up his Kansas City dreams, it seemed to Walt that there was only one way to go -- west. Months before the official Laugh-O-grams bankruptcy proceedings took place, Walt was ready for the next stage of his life. It was time to move to Hollywood.
First, though, he needed to put together a little bit of money to pay back bills and to purchase his train ticket. In July 1923, he sold his camera for twice what he paid for it, which gave him $80 -- just enough to buy his ticket west. As for the bills he owed, he did odd jobs to pay some of them, and others just disappeared when he went to the people he owed. The restaurateurs who had provided food for him refused the cash. “That’s all right, Walter,” they told him. “We’re for you, Walter.”
With the few dollars Walt had, he prepared to leave. “For $5, I got a nice pair of shoes,” he said. “I didn’t have a suit. Everything had gotten threadbare. I had a pair of trousers. And I had a coat, a checkered coat. And the suitcase was kind of a frayed cardboard one.”
So, with his few possessions in hand -- plus his half-finished cut of Alice’s Wonderland -- he boarded the train in the last few days of July 1923. “I was just as free and happy, you know?” he recalled. “It was July 1923. So that would make me 21, 21 going on 22. But I’d failed. I think it’s important to have a good, hard failure when you’re young.”
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