Walt Disney & Ub Iwerks – Steamboat Willie (1928)

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Description: “The first Mickey Mouse cartoon released, and the first cartoon with synchronized sound. As a mischievous deckhand on a riverboat, Mickey, to Minnie’s delight, plays ‘Turkey in the Straw’ utilizing an animal menagerie as his instruments. However, the tyrannical Captain Pete is not amused, and Mickey ends up peeling potatoes in the galley.
After unsuccessfully trying to make a deal to record through RCA or Western Electric, Walt contracted with the bootleg Powers Cinephone process and, after a disastrous initial recording session, finally recorded the soundtrack with a 15-piece band and his own squeaks for Mickey.”
Steamboat Willie was released “on November 18, 1928, the date used for the birth of Mickey Mouse. (…)

Viewed from a distance of over 70 years, it appears that Mickey’s success was inevitable, that he was a kind of force of nature in entertainment, destined to become one of the most beloved characters in the world. (…) In fact, when Mickey was first created he didn’t look so very different from many of his predecessors. Clearly, the most significant factor that led to Mickey’s super-stardom was his optimistic, cheerful, resilient character — one very much like Walt’s. It may be true that animator Ub Iwerks was largely responsible for Mickey’s final form — reworking Walt’s sketches to make the mouse easier to animate. But as old animators have commented, according to animation historian Charles Solomon, ‘Ub designed Mickey’s physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul.'” disney.go.com



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