Screencap courtesy of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Youtube Channel
CAIRO – 18 November 2017: November 18 marks the day that "Steamboat Willie" was released by Walt Disney, introducing the world to Mickey Mouse and forever revolutionizing animation.
In 1928, Disney was in a jam. His characters just did not stand out amongst competitors, and his company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The rights to Oswald the Rabbit, Disney’s former star, had been taken over by Disney’s distributors. In an effort to think of a successor, Walt came up with the idea of a playful little mouse, and contracted his partner Ub Iwerks to design him.
Mickey Mouse was born.
Faced with finding an inventive new spin to make Disney stand out, Walt then recalled a film he had seen a year earlier, 1927’s "The Jazz Singer," one of the first movies to be filmed with sound. The nationwide success of the film at a time when silent movies were king inspired Disney to begin working on a cartoon that utilized sound technology.
A budget of $4,986 was spent on production, though detractors suggested that a sound cartoon would not be popular. Test screenings proved them wrong however; when the film was first shown to the wives and children of Disney’s workers, they were overjoyed. Once it was commercially released, the short became a wild success, helping to save Disney from bankruptcy, revolutionizing animation and transforming Disney’s small company into the unstoppable media empire it is today.