Wednesday 11 July 2012

"Steamboat Willie"

In 1927, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, one of the first “talkies” employing synchronized singing and speech, hit American theaters and thrilled audiences. Knowing that change was afoot, Walt Disney spent $4,986 to create his first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie (1928). Remembering the film many years later, Disney said:
The effect on our little audience was nothing less than electric. They responded almost instinctively to this union of sound and motion. I thought they were kidding me. So they put me in the audience and ran the action again. It was terrible, but it was wonderful! And it was something new!
Although these technical innovations make Steamboat Willie a legend, the film retains landmark status for another reason. It marked the first public debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, two of the most recognized cartoon characters worldwide. Ub Iwerks, the celebrated Disney animator, first brought Mickey to life, and we have been living with him ever since, although his personality has softened over time. 

Enjoy some genuine film history.


Anonymous said...

This little cartoon is an historic gem, the first time I saw it was on Sunday night Disney TV back in the 50's. Lovely to see it again, so cute & clever. Thanks Henry.

Kathy said...

Yes, in the 1960s I used to go to my grandparents' house to watch Disneyland, my one hour of television for the week. Watching Mickey now, I finally understand the jokes!