Post Lot Text
In 1923, five years before the advent of Mickey Mouse, 21 year-old Walt Disney began work on "Alice's Wonderland," the film which was to become the prototype for his first successful silent film series. In a reversal of Max Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" series in which cartoon characters enter the real world, Disney envisioned placing a live actress into a cartoon world. He chose four year-old Virginia Davis to play the live character, Alice, and filming began in Virginia's home town of Kansas City, Missouri. By this time, Disney had run into serious financial difficulties and decided to move to Hollywood to seek work as a director. In August 1923, Disney arrived in California with a small amount of money ($40 according to most accounts) and a sample print of "Alice's Wonderland."
Living on loans and lodging with his uncle on Kingswell Street, Disney failed to get work as a Hollywood director. He decided that the only way to break into the film industry was through making cartoon films. Falling back on his "Alice" sample reel, Disney had the film delivered to Margaret J. Winkler, the distributer of the "Out of the Inkwell" series. On October 15, 1923, the turninig point in Disney's career came when Winkler ordered twelve "Alice" films from Disney, providing that he use the same little girl who had appeared in the sample reel, in all of them.
Disney immediately made arrangements to bring Virginia Davis to Hollywood, proposing to pay her parents $100 per month for the first two months, with pay incrementally increasing up to $250 per month if the series was successful.
This letter, written on personalized stationery purchased with a $10 loan from his brother Roy, by the 21 year-old Walt Disney, eight days after receiving the distributor's offer, confirms his proposal to Mrs. Davis to make her daughter Virginia his first star. The first few "Alice" comedies marked the last time Disney ever did his own animation.
This letter is believed to be the earliest and most significant handwritten Disney letter to appear on the market as it marks the start of one of the most amazing careers in American history.