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Video Friday: Steamboat Willie

shoutOut on 28/9/12 by travis.lyle1 in peeps

Happy Friday! And if it's Friday, it must be Video Friday here at The Leap. Today we're going way, way back to the very dawn of animated cartoons, with a clip that marks Mickey Mouse, and his girlfriend Minnie's, first appearance on public screens with which the two mice made their splash into immortality with this, Disney's third-ever animated cartoon: Steamboat Willie. Many people claim this to be the very first that Disney’s studio put out: it’s not. That honour falls to a short clip named Plane Crazy, which also featured Mickey & Minnie, but failed to find a distributor and was thus not aired commercially until the 1960s.

One thing that's immediately obvious in Steamboat Willie is of course that Mickey and Minnie don't look quite the same as they've come to be known by modern audiences. No surprises there - this 7:43s short was first aired at Universal's Colony Theatre in 1928! On release it became hugely popular and paved the way for other animators' introduction to American, and subsequently worldwide, moving picture audiences. The major factor that created the short's amazing success was not necessarily the animation, but rather the fact this was one of the very first animated cartoons to feature sound - something crucial to the sketch, as the entire storyline contains musical skits by Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the characters.

Directed and produced by Walt Disney, who also did the voices, Steamboat Willie is a time capsule which takes the viewer back to the very start of what would become an entire industry which would revolutionise the way cartoons were consumed. Enjoy!


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