On ‘STEAMBOAT WILLIE’ (1928)

I wish I were alive back in the 40’s. I could have seen Disney’s wonderful ‘Pinocchio’ on the big screen. But unfortunately, having been born only a decade-and-a-half ago, I have to make do with a VHS I bought in Singapore.

‘Pinocchio’ is a masterpiece. It’s excellently animated, it has such beautiful, memorable imagery and characters, its songs are absolute classics… and the story, that marvelous story of a puppet’s journey to become a real boy, is just so very engaging. And, it was something we could relate to. Let’s face it; at some point in our lives, we all wanted to attain the impossible. Only, in ‘Pinocchio’, it wasn’t impossible, thanks to the Blue Fairy.

Like ‘Pinocchio’, Disney’s older animated classics like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’, ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Cinderella’ were triumphs of both technical skill and storytelling magic. The animation in those films is, even by today’s standards, just amazing. And the story telling magic… even better than today’s. Who’s hair didn’t stand on end when Snow White bit that red apple? Who didn’t lean forward anxiously as the clock struck twelve as Cinderella lost her glass slipper?

Disney and his magician were pioneers in this glorious field of animation. They boldly did what hadn’t been done yet.

All this lead to infinitely so much more. Decades later, we had the wonderful ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Lion King’… the list of classics goes on. While most of you might have seen the films I’ve mentioned above, how many of you have seen the one that started it all? I’m not talking about ‘Snow White,’ I’m talking about what introduced the world to Disney’s creation, one of the world’s most popular icons… Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse was what got Disney into the big leagues. No wonder that little mouse was chosen to be Disney’s mascot. And as a result, he’s one of the most recognizable figures in the world. The gloved hands. The round ears. The black button eyes. The red pants.

This icon’s birthday is November 28, 1928, the release date of ‘Steamboat Willie,’ an animated Mickey short. It’s Mickey Mouse’s third animated short, and is cited as the first animated film with a synchronized soundtrack. Wondering why his birthday is celebrated on the release date of his third animated short and not his first? Apparently, ‘Willie’ was the first short to find a distributor, and so it’s considered Mickey’s debut.

‘Steamboat Willie’ is my personal favorite animated short of all time. If you see it now, you might not admire it like I do. I love it for so many reasons: it’s funny, it’s cute, it’s also very wild (Mickey grabs a cat by the tail and spins it around!), there’s just something wonderful about it. But the main reason I love it: It’s the one that started it all. The one that started the magic.

This post was just to share with you this little gem of a film 🙂

– Cinematic Jack*** (c’mon, this is an article about Disney), signing off 🙂

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3 responses to “On ‘STEAMBOAT WILLIE’ (1928)

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