90 years of Mickey Mouse


A few weeks ago, the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse was celebrated, a world icon and one of the most recognizable cartoons in the world. Since in our exhibition we have an animated cell (one of the drawings that are used to create movement) of one of his appearances on the big screen, we want to pay tribute to him by sharing with you a bit of history of the exposed piece.

Walt Disney considered the date of birth of his most popular character, November 18, 1928. That day "Steamboat Willie" third short film starring but first success undisputed and that parodied the film "Steamboat Bill Jr", by Buster Keaton, released a few months earlier. In the film also appeared his eternal fiancée, Minnie. The film, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, graphic designer of the character, bet on the sound film and used songs, voices and sound effects. In a matter of weeks, the cinemas demanded more pieces of Mickey and this allowed that on December 30 the second short film starring "The Gallopin’ Gaucho" parody of "The Gaucho" by Douglas Fairbanks, which remained unpublished due to lack of distribution. At the beginning of 1929 and suitably voiced, he returned to the screens "Plane Crazy" , the first short film starring and premiered by Mickey, accompanied by "Barm Dance" again starring the mouse.

An authentic fever was unleashed by Mickey and 12 pieces were released throughout the year. The stories liked children and adults alike and the shorts were continually replenished on the screens. The King Features Syndicate, aware of the potential presented by the character proposed to Disney to make a comic, the first strip was published on January 13, 1930, with a script by Walt Disney himself, which partially adapted "Plane Crazy" and drawings by Ub Iwerks The comic, how could it be otherwise, was a resounding success.

1930, was, again, a triumphant year for Disney. Although Ub Iwerks decided to leave the company to set up his own studio, he was able to replace it both in the animated shorts and in the daily strips, where his emptiness was occupied by Floyd Gottfredson, who would not abandon the mouse until 1975 and would give continuous samples of his excellence.

Two years later and without stopping to produce films starring Mickey, an exultant Walt Disney received the first Oscar for a cartoon.

The following year and as a tribute to the actresses and actors of his generation and in gratitude for the prize, the Disney studios launched "Mickey’s gala premiere", in which in seven minutes they reviewed the "who is who" of Hollywood at that time. Among Mickey's companions are the Keystone Cops, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Lionel, John and Ethel Barrymore, Maurice Chevalier, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Harold Lloyd, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson, Charles Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Groucho Marx, Oliver Hardy or Bela Lugosi and of course, Walt Disney himself. This short is where our animation cell comes from, specifically the 6.27 minute in which some of the aforementioned congratulate Mickey. The story that narrates the short is a mere excuse for the brilliance of the animators. Mickey premieres a new short in the Chinese Theater and the different personalities of the cinema that go its premiere, congratulate him personally at the end.

To conclude, we want to tell you two curiosities. The film that premiered in the short "Gallopin’ Romance" was never released outside the short film. When the BBC cut its emissions by the beginning of the Second World War, on September 1, 1939, "Mickey's gala premiere" was the last program aired, when they resumed programming, on June 7, 1946, it was the first to appear on the screen.

Steamboat Willie.


Mickey's Gala Premiere.