Dividends and Walt Disney – Hollywood’s Dark Prince

Similar to many people around the world, some of my entertainment dollars has found its way into the Disney coffers. It some ways it is hard not to. From movies to theme parts to TV to merchandising to anything and all things Disney. The company was founded by Walt Disney and over the years many people have written about the company, one such author was Marc Elliot who wrote Walt Disney – Hollywood’s Dark Prince published by Carol Publishing Group, NY, 1993.

The great thing about company founders is their driven abilities which makes other people less than happy with them. Walt Disney was never a great animator, his talent was wonderful story telling and getting maximum production for his staff. He was often a big picture person, while his brother looked after the administration and finances of the company. Similar to many startups, there were many times when people thought the expenses outweighed the revenues.

Over time, Walt made and people thought of Disney as a one man show; for a time it was and what Walt thought about, the company did or did not do. Before there was TV, people went to the movies and all towns and cities had their share of movie theaters. Disney made short films for the movies and eventually did full length movies, which could be shown and if the public liked it, be released again and again without the actors earning fees. It was a great business, as long as the public liked the movies. As a control person, with the advent of TV, Walt was reluctant to give away too much and thus moved from ABC to NBC and eventually cable with the Disney shows.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, in the book, Walt Disney is not the perfect uncle the public saw him as, but had many demons and likely was not the nicest person on the block. In all family companies, succession is important, however as someone who controls things, allowing succession to happen is different than reality. Many dividend companies have seasoned executives which ensures the company continues to run well into the future. It is a terrific time in the history when there is a easy transition into the next group of people who run the organization.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.


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