What do Walt Disney and Christian Bale have in common?
They were both Newsies! Well, sort of.
While Bale merely played one in a movie, Walt was actually a newsboy when he was younger. When his family moved from Missouri to Kansas City, his father, Elias purchased a paper route. Along with his father and brother Roy, they distributed the Kansas City Star in an area called Santa Fe. (Um, are you getting Newsies flashbacks yet?) It wasn’t an easy task though. They would wake up sometimes as early as three-thirty in the morning to be able to deliver the popular newspaper.
At that point, Walt was only nine years old and he was no stranger to hard work. After waking up so early, he would deliver the newspapers and head home for a quick nap and bite to eat. He sold 50 papers and only attended school for half a day so that he would be able to deliver the rest. He also delivered medicine for the local pharmacy (he DOES seem like such a George Bailey-esque character, doesn’t he?) for some extra pocket cash. After his afternoon run, he would head on home and then the whole thing started up again the next morning. I doubt even the BEST cast member could hardly keep up with that pace. Maybe that’s why Walt was the way he was- he had the discipline. On the six years that he delivered newspapers, he only missed five weeks due to illness or a rare family vacation. (I think we ALL can agree that he earned them!)
Had he lived to see the premiere of Newsies, Walt would have been 91 years old. I’d like to believe that he would have enjoyed watching a movie about the plight of the newsboys in 1899. He knew what it was like to peddle the newspapers for little or no money (he seldom saw any of the money made on the route) and he also knew what it was like knowing your income solely came from people buying your papes. Personally, I think he would have seen the courage of the newsboys and their determination to “seize the day” and simply relate to it.
Besides, those Newsies sure knew how to sing and dance.
Facts from this post were taken from Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler.