Disney is the largest media corporation in the world with theme parks spanning several continents and hundreds of published and premiered stories. As the origin of the mouse is coming up on its hundred-year anniversary, we often forget the company with gleaming castles and pirate sword fights started with only a mouse on a boat.
Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie is not the first Mickey Mouse movie ever made, but it left a mark in animation history. The two previous films failed to gain traction, but this film utilized synchronized sound and was one of the first to do so. With this 1929 release, Disney strayed away from other silent animations and further separated his empire from competitors.
Walt Disney used a click track to keep his musicians in time with the visuals and employed sound for comedic purposes, which impressed his audience. The film was a huge success and Disney maintained his status by quickly releasing Silly Symphonies, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, then many, many more.
The First Mickey Mouse Book
A year after Steamboat Willie’s success, the Mickey Mouse Book was published. Published through Bibo and Lang, the book was distributed in theaters to those a part of the Mickey Mouse Club. The book consisted of a children’s story, a board game made by the publisher’s daughter, and two songs with sheet music.
The book was so favorable that it sold out and the publisher had to release a second printing in the same year. There were some changes — the songs were rewritten and proper credit was given — but it was beloved nonetheless.
In 1944, Disney published its first Little Golden Books, which Simon & Schuster continues to this day. The books were released alongside film releases and featured the importance of written storytelling and literature.
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