Hello, RetroJunkers! Today I'm writing about Disney shorts, I'm going to give you a brief history of Disney shorts and later give you a list of my favourites and why I like them.
Plane Crazy (May 15th, 1928)
After losing his rights to Oswald the lucky Rabbit Walter Disney needed a knew character to animate and that character became Mickey Mouse (who was originally going to be called Mortimer Mouse until Walter's wife suggested Mickey because Mortimer was too fancy).
Despite what alot of people believe "Steamboat Willie" was not the first Mickey Mouse cartoon made, it was actually the third, the proper title of first Mickey Mouse cartoon goes to "Plane Crazy" a cartoon in which Mickey Mouse is inspired by Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris. His anamorphic allies build a plane that consists of a propeller and a sausage dog as and elastic band, this crashes and Mickey finds a car which he changes into a plane and he flies with Minnie before crashing again at the end of the cartoon. This cartoon was not successful upon it's release and it wasn't given sound, however if you find a copy with sound that's because when Walter Disney copyrighted it he added sound.
Steamboat Willie (November 18th, 1928)
This is a big piece of animation history, it's often referred to as the birth of Mickey Mouse and it's not hard to see why, Walter Disney was having financial problems after the initial flop of "Plane Crazy" and "The Gallopin' Gaucho" and he decides to take one last shot at animating and uses sound this time around and the results are fantastic. It's often praised as the first cartoon with synchronised sound, however there were a few cartoons with sound before but they were not nearly as successful and this cartoon inspired other animators to take the plunge and use sound.
Also, note how Mickey has a slightly altered character model from "Plane Crazy" this time he has shoes and notable facial differences, but he's still yet to be animated with his famous gloves.
The Wise Little Hen (June 9th, 1934)
After a while when Disney became more successful he started making Silly Symphony cartoons in preparation for his upcoming movie "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" one of the most notable Silly Symphonies is "The Wise Little Hen" the dÃ©but of Donald Duck. In this cartoon the Wise Little Hen asks Donald Duck (who has a different character model) and Peter Pig to help her plant her corn they both say they can't and fake illnesses, later the Wise Little Hen asks them to help her harvest her corn and they both pretend to be ill again but the Wise Little Hen see's them shake hands and knows something is up. Later the corn is ready to be eaten and Donald Duck and Peter Pig show up to "help" her with the eating and she presents them with a basket which turns out to have a bottle of Castor Oil in it.
The Band Concert (February 23rd, 1935)
Yet another Mickey Milestone, Walter was afraid of releasing Mickey in colour incase it would ruin his popularity but Mickey finally hit the coloured screen 1n 1935 under the title "The Band Concert" were Mickey is in a band concert performing and in a case of role reversal Donald Duck tries to contribute to their concert by playing "Turkey in the straw" but Mickey is bitter about Donald changing the song and snaps his flute in half. Even though a tornado comes and wrecks the park the show must go on and the band play through the tornado and the cartoon ends with the whole band hanging from a tree.
The Old Mill (November 5th, 1937)
In preparation for Walt's movie, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" Walter was getting his animators to use different animation techniques so they would be ready to animate the movie to the best of their ability and this short marks the first time Disney used the Multiplane camera to make some breathtaking effects, t was very high tech for the time and is still very impressive today.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (November 13th,1940)
It can probably be debated whether or not you qualify this as an actual Silly Symphony since it is part of a full length movie and didn't get it's own theatrical release but regardless it marks the first use of Mickey's more modern character model. Funnily enough Walter originally planned for Dopey (from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs")to be the role of the sorcerers apprentice but because he was worried about Mickey's future on the silver screen he used Mickey in place of Dopey.
For the reasons that the above cartoons made The Walt Disney Company it is today I like all of them but I have some other favourites that had little impact on pioneering new animation tactics and shaping the company:
Donald's Off Day (December 8th, 1944)
I saw this cartoon at a very young age and I thought the visual gags were just great. Looking back I notice that the humour is a bit dark for a Disney short but that one of the reasons I like it so much.
Father Noah's Ark(April 8th, 1933)
This is the only musical Silly Symphony I saw (it was at the end of the Dumbo Videotape, my favourite movie) it tells the magical story of Noah's Ark with some clever animal sight gags, even though I'm not really religious this is one of my favourite Disney shorts.
Boat Builders (February 25th, 1938)
I liked this cartoon because it had all 3 of Disney's most famous characters trying to make a ship that's so simple to build "even a child can do it".
Moose Hunters (February 20th, 1937)
I like this for the same general reason I like "Boat Builders" that is the Disney three are working together and doing a bad job at a difficult task.