On this date eighty-four years ago, Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon premiered. As has become a custom here on UP, we celebrate a birthday by selfishly plugging an upcoming personal project. Read on!
Now that this year's Disney Daze project is winding down, one needs to look towards the future, which this time around means delving ever further into the past. Starting on Monday, 7 January and running until I am finally committed to the mental institution I have successfully evaded for the last three decades, I will be watching Disney's Mickey Mouse shorts in chronological order and writing about them here. For now I only have plans to tackle the 74 black-and-white shorts, all released between 1928 and 1935, which for those of you who can count will easily take me into 2014. The reasons for this are three-fold. One, that's a heck of a lot of shorts. Two, the earliest incarnations of Mickey are the ones that truly interest me, back when he was more of a rapscallion and less of a corporate cipher. Lastly, I only own the two-volume Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White sets. (If someone wants to spring for the two-volume In Living Color sets--Jim Carrey-free, I assure you--I will accept them with open arms.)
A couple of notes regarding these posts. Since a Mickey Mouse short has a tenth of the running time of the typical Disney feature, expect a tenth of the wit, a tenth of the ribald humor, and a tenth of the penetrating insight associated with the Disney Daze posts. And I'd say expect about a third of the word count. You're not getting off that easily! I will also be classifying each short under one of the following three headings: Essential, Worthwhile, Avoidable. This will help separate the wheat from the chaff for those who need pithy answers to life's big questions.