Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eighty Four Years Back ...

The first (actually the third) Mickey Mouse cartoon was released. As President Emeritus Tom Sito reminds us:

Nov 18,1928 -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICKEY MOUSE- At the Colony Theater in New York, Walt Disney’s cartoon "Steamboat Willie" debuted- The first major sound cartoon success and the official birth of Mickey Mouse. Two earlier silent Mickey's had been done, but they were held back when the sound experiment went ahead. ...

Those first two cartoons were "Plane Crazy" (a little bit of Charles Lindbergh) and "Gallopin' Gaucho" (spoofing the Douglas Fairbanks feature The Gaucho.) But those two specimens were held back while Disney produced a short with voices, sound effects and music.

A wise choice, as it turned out.

The Disney Co. is today an international conglomerate, but the fact that the company survived its early years is testimony to Walt's plucky creativity and happy circumstance.

If Snow White hadn't shattered box office records, there would have been no Burbank studio, and probably no studio at all.

If World War II hadn't happened and the federal government hadn't enlisted Walt Disney Productions in war work at a time the company was broke, the Disney brothers might have gone under around the same time the Fleischer brothers' Miami studio passed into receivership.

If the Anaheim amusement park hadn't clicked ....

If the Bass brothers hadn't ridden to the rescue ...

Fate and genius have intersected multiple times over the past eighty-four years, and so in 2012 Disney rockets forward as a powerful brand name, just as it did when Walt was alive.


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