“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney
Welcome to Mickey Monday here at 23&Main. Mickey Monday is dedicated to one of the most recognizable, enduring, and lovable icons ever to be created. We are talking about Mickey Mouse of course! Like Walt has said, without Mickey Mouse there wouldn’t be Disney as we know and love it. For over 90 years Mickey Mouse has made us smile, laugh and help us appreciate the things that really matter in our lives. It’s almost surreal to think that an animated mouse could make such an impact. So, we decided to celebrate the magic that is Mickey Mouse each Monday. It will be sure to be a swell journey, so come on along with us!
In the last Mickey Monday edition, we jumped on a Steamboat with Mickey as he introduced the world to synchronized sound cartoons with phenomenal success. If you missed it be sure to check it out here after you finish today’s edition!
Much like last time, we will be riding along with Mickey in this edition of Mickey Monday. Make sure to fasten your seat belt as we hop aboard an airplane and explore the short Mickey’s Plane Crazy!
You may recall that when we looked into the making of Steamboat Willie that many people believe that is where Mickey made his debut. While, Steamboat Willie was the first short film featuring Mickey to achieve success it wasn’t technically his first appearance. Mickey’s actual debut was in the short film titled Plane Crazy. It didn’t initially take off (pun intended) with audiences so was shelved for a bit. Thanks to the the success of Steamboat Willie, Plane Crazy got a second chance and added to the fantastic history of our pal Mickey.
Released in 1928, Plane Crazy was the first creation of Mickey Mouse. The short was a collaboration between Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was made as a silent film and put in front of a test audience on 15 May 1928. The reviews were mixed and the film failed to secure a distributor. This didn’t ground the film permanently though. After the success of Steamboat Willie; Plane Crazy was ready to take the runway once again. Sound was added this time and due to the building popularity of Mickey was able to take flight and finally secure it’s place in Disney history.
Plane Crazy was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It may surprise many that Iwerks was the sole animator on this film. It’s interesting since this was really the first Mickey cartoon and Iwerks was trusted to do all the animation. Iwerks did not let Walt down. He worked for two weeks on the film at a rate 700 drawings a day! Riding the wave of sound in films, a soundtrack was added to Plane Crazy. Carl W. Stalling provided the soundtrack for Plane Crazy. Many of us have heard his work without realizing it. He was heavily involved with Looney Toons later on in his career.
Like many Disney productions of this era, Plane Crazy had its own “first” to brag about. The short was the first animated film to use a camera move. In a scene where the POV is from the plane, it looked like the camera was tracking into the ground. In reality, they piled a stack of books underneath the artwork and spun the artwork in circles. The result was a background that appeared to move closer to the camera giving the viewer the sensation they were heading towards the ground.
Plane Crazy – The Story
The concept behind using an airplane in a 1928 cartoon was greatly influenced by Charles Lindbergh. Mickey, trying to imitate Charles, builds his own plane and takes it for a test run. It fails miserably, and falls apart. Never one to give up, Mickey builds a second plane from parts salvaged from his wreckage and a roadster. He meets Minnie (making her debut too) and asks her to join him on the maiden flight of his new craft, after she offered him a good luck horseshoe.
Mickey’s repeated attempts to kiss Minnie dominate the next scenes. At one point he purposely dumps Minnie out only to be able to catch her and try to kiss her yet again. In today’s context this seems highly inappropriate, however we must remember this is a cartoon and also meant to be outrageous! In fact Minnie is able to keep a persistent Mickey at bay and she bails out of the plane and uses her bloomers as a parachute. Mickey crashes and angrily throws the horseshoe given to him by Minnie. It boomerangs around a tree and ends up knocking him out ending the film.
Accolades for Plane Crazy
In April of 1929 Variety had this to say about Plane Crazy: “Walt Disney sound cartoon, produced by Powers Cinephone, one of the Mickey Mouse series of animated cartoons. It’s a snappy six minutes, with plenty of nonsensical action and a fitting musical accompaniment. Constitutes an amusingly silly interlude for any wired house. Disney has derived some breezy situations, one or two of them a bit saucy but, considering the animal characters, permissible.”
We hope you liked our third edition of Mickey Monday! It was certainly fun putting this together and sharing some of the magic with you. We are also looking forward to putting together future editions. While we have some great things planned, we’d love to hear from you, our loyal fans on what Mickey character, attraction, story, film etc. you’d like to see featured.
Let us know what you’d like to see featured in future Mickey Monday editions!