Witness the birth of an American icon. This historic compilation chronicles Mickey Mouse's early career, from his landmark debut in 1928's "Steamboat Willie" to the last of his black-and-white shorts, "Mickey's Service Station," in 1935. Gain insights into Mickey's beginnings in new interviews with legendary Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. See the earliest visuals on record showing the creative birth of animation's most historically significant cartoon as well as the only black-and-white cartoon pencil footage known to exist. All of this and more is revealed in this homage to the mouse who captured the imagination of the world. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.
In these cartoons released between 1928 and 1935, Walt Disney created one of the icons of 20th-century culture. Disney's reputation was built on these early shorts, and the films shimmer with the energy of the young artists exploring the new medium of the sound cartoon. Watching the films in chronological order enables the viewer to see the remarkable progress Walt and his crew made in animation, storytelling, and acting in just seven years. The rambunctious, rubbery Mickey of "Plane Crazy" and "Steamboat Willie" quickly developed into the polished charmer of "Gulliver Mickey" and "Mickey's Orphans." More than 70 years after his debut, the black and white Mickey still displays the appeal that made him so popular during the '30s, when A Mickey Mouse Cartoon appeared on theater marquees with the feature titles, and his fans included Franklin Roosevelt, Mary Pickford, George V of England, the Nizam of Hyderabad--and the more than one million children who joined the first Mickey Mouse Club.
Although it's fun to look at the old sketches and pencil tests, the high point of the supplementary material is the discussion host Leonard Maltin conducts with Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, the last surviving members of the justly celebrated "Nine Old Men" of Disney animation. Thomas and Johnston were nearly 90 at the time of the interview, but their enthusiasm for their work, for Mickey, and for the man who made it all possible remains undimmed. (Unrated; suitable for all ages: cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon
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