Monday, November 12, 2012

Fact of the Day: Steamboat Willie is Second Base

Steamboat Willie is arguably the most iconic Mickey Mouse cartoon of all time. It probably lends that reputation to the fact that it's the only Mickey Mouse cartoon that anybody, anywhere can remember with any bit of clarity. Because of it's popularity and status as the Mouse's first cartoon and his claim to fame, the cartoon has even been adapted for the beginning of Disney's theatrical films, opening every movie with that cheerful whistle.

Slow down their skipper! I cry false! False, I say! Steamboat Willie isn't actually the first Mickey Mouse cartoon at all. The cartoon is Mick's first sound cartoon, and it was responsible for picking him out of obscurity, but six months earlier the Mouse made his first ever screen debut in a little silent picture known as Plane Crazy. The cartoon features Mickey Mouse and some kind of Minnie precursor as they attempt to fly using a salvaged junk car and a turkey tail. This works, and the duo go soaring through what is without a doubt the most entertaining cartoon Mick has ever starred in.

Of course it's also his slimiest. You'd never expect it, but once in the air, every child's favorite Mouse demands some rather risque rewards from his bloomers-bearing cohort. When she refuses, he tosses her out of the plane, lets her plummet, then swoops in for the save. His scare tactics fail, causing Proto-Minnie to feel nothing but anger. Furious at the denial, Mickey grabs Minnie by the neck and forcibly tongues her. This is the kind of stuff that used to fly in those good, clean, old-timey cartoons!

When I was a kid, cartoons were innocent and cute! You didn't have any of that
swearing or blood or boobs back in my day!
Uh... Er... This was before my day!
The cartoon scored negatively with test audiences and was quickly removed from the public eye. Six months later, Steamboat Willie was released, and shortly after that Plane Crazy was rereleased with added sound effects, which is probably the source of the confusion.


I wasn't originally going to ask you guys a question for this one, but hey, I have one! What kind of company do you think Disney would be today had Mickey Mouse never evolved out of Mickey the Molester?

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