Hello and welcome back to my thoughts and musings. Today I look at a Disney Legend, an original Mouseketeer, and creator of the quintessential Disney park souvenir, Roy Willams.
On July 30, 1907 Joseph Roy Willams was born in Colville, Washington. Following his father’s passing in 1920, his family moved to Los Angeles. While in high school Roy began sketching cartoons for his friends. Turning down a sports scholarship, he began working for Hyperion Studios in 1925. After seeing the talents Roy possessed, Walt Disney paid for Williams to be trained at Chouinard Art Institute.
Upon graduation, Walt promoted Roy to the story department, where Williams worked on the Silly Symphonies series, including The Night Before Christmas, and on animated features, including Saludos Amigos and Make Mine Music. As an artist, Roy also created over 100 insignia designs for the Armed Forces, included the Flying Tigers.
During the 1950s Roy was promoted again to the Storyboard Department, where he was assigned to work on The Mickey Mouse Club. Walt decided Williams would be a co-host of the show with Jimmy Dodd, and as such, Roy appeared on all four seasons of the show. With the comedic skills Roy possessed, The Big Mooseketeer, as he was called, was used in many of the sketches on the show. It’s for the work on the show Williams is must well known for today.
Yes, Roy Williams created the Mickey Mouse Ears that were worn on The Mickey Mouse Club by all Mouseketeers, and that are now sold in every Disney theme park world wide, the very ears that is a necessary souvenir for any person traveling to the park for the first (or hundredth) time.
Roy Williams passed away on November 7, 1976 at the age of 69 in Burbank, California. For his work as an artist, story writer, actor, and souvenir creator, Roy Williams was posthumously named a Disney Legend in 1992.
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