Monday, November 19, 2018

Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse

Micky Mouse Walt Disney Disney Figure Comi  Yesterday, ninety years ago, Walt Disney released a movie that changed the history of that media.  On November  18, 1928, he released Steamboat Willie to positive reviews.

According to something I read, Disney had gone to see The Jazz Singer, one of the very first movies with speaking, and came out of it inspired to create a "talkie" for two new characters.

He'd already made two silent movies with Micky and Minnie Mouse but neither had done well.  In fact, he was doing so poorly, he was on the verge of bankruptcy because those two and other silents he made hand not been commercial successes.  The Jazz Singer showed him movies with long passages of song and dialogue attracted people.

So in July of 1928 and a budget of just under $5000, he began production on this movie. Many of his people didn't think this was a good idea but to prove them wrong, he took the bare film, brought together sound people and musicians to create the sound  at a test showing for the families of employees.  People loved it.

With this encouragement, he arranged to have a sound track created and synchronized with the film by hiring a studio in New York City to provide sound with a 17 piece orchestra and 3 sound professionals. Unfortunately, the orchestra's first attempt to play along with the movie didn't succeed so animators added a bouncing ball to keep time and the finished film had totally synchronized sound.

It was released on November 18, 1928 at the Colony Theater in New York City.  This date is the date given for the birth of Mickey Mouse.  It was so successful that he re-released it at the Roxy Theater in New York City, a place considered the largest theater in the world.

Critics saw this character as a mixture of Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire and Douglas Fairbanks as they watched Mickey turn animals into musical instruments while the ship itself joined in with puffs of smoke that were musical.

 The success of the movie encouraged Disney to go back and add soundtracks to the two earlier films.  Although Steamboat Willie was not the first cartoon with sound but it was the first successful one. What I find amazing is this black and white movie was only eight minutes long. This one movie made the silent cartoon's obsolete since he proved cartoons with sound could be done and people preferred them this way. 

This one movie gave Disney the chance to grow and ten years later, he released his Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie.

Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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