Have you ever noticed that familiar whistle at the start of Disney animations? Or the quick clip of Mickey behind the wheel of a ship? That’s a nod to Steamboat Willie, the start of Mickey Mouse.
This 1928 animation was not only the start of Mickey Mouse, but also the start of Walt Disney Animation. It was the studio’s third production, but first public release, as it was the first to synchronize picture and sound. It was also the first animated film to include a post-production soundtrack, setting a precedent for Disney dominating the musical animation market.
Here’s the original Steamboat Willie cartoon. As you watch, think about how many adventures Mickey and his friends have had since 1928. Walt couldn’t possibly have known what was on the horizon!
(Also – a tip to west coast travelers. You can watch the original Steamboat Willie series in Disneyland’s Main Street Cinema).