But Walt Disney Quit High School …

By Ron Coleman

As a teenager growing up in a small town in Oregon in the 50s, I had no desire to finish high school. For one thing, my dad never finished. Also, my big ambition in life was to be a cartoonist, and I was, in fact, already selling some of my cartoons to small magazines. My hero, Walt Disney, had never finished high school, and I felt that if he could quit and succeed, so could I. But my mother would never hear of it, so reluctantly, I continued to go.

In about my sophomore year I began to sell cartoons to a small magazine in Thousand Oaks, California. It was called Computer News and was a trade journal about the computers of that time. These were nothing like the laptops we know today … they were huge Univac computers which filled an entire room. I knew nothing about them, but still somehow managed to come up with cartoons about them.

In my correspondence with the editor, a Mr. Jackson Granholm, I mentioned my desire to quit high school and go into cartooning full time. He wrote back urging me to stay in school, spouting off all the reasons why school was important. To convince him I knew better, I told him about how Walt Disney had quit.

A few weeks later, I was waiting at the mailbox, waiting to see if any magazines had bought any of the cartoons I had recently submitted. When the mail came I was quite surprised to see one letter addressed to me from Walt Disney studios.

It was from their personnel department, and I was sure it was a job offer. Not so. They told me that Mr. Jackson Granholm had contacted them on my behalf and explained my attitude about finishing high school. They advised me very strongly to stay in high school, pointing out that they never even considered applicants without a high school education and preferred some college.

It took the winds out of my sails, but I guess it taught me two things: I was no Walt Disney, and times had changed. I finished high school, and went on for two years of college. Years later I worked for Walt Disney studios, as well as a couple of other major film studios, plus I have been doing cartooning on a freelance basis for years. To date I have been published in hundreds of publications, and I admit the college education was no deterrent at all.

Ron Coleman is a freelance cartoonist and writer living in Oakridge, Oregon. His work has appeared in hundreds of trade publications and newspapers, plus he continues to do work for clients on the internet. Today he is semi-retired and spends a lot of his time working on learning Flash animation. His work can be seen on his website: coleman-cartoons.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Questions on the text

Answer the questions according to the text.

  • Who wanted the author to stay in school?

  • Why did the author want to quit high school?

  • Which statement is correct?

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