Doing a Classic Disney Shorts marathon in celebration of Epic Mickey!:

Total posts: [26]
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With less than 15 days before the release of Epic Mickey, i'm going to be sitting down and watching every single Disney short and film up to 1959, via Youtube, which to my knowledge has all of Disney's short subjects available. I'm going to cover everything from Oswald Rabbit up to Sleeping Beauty, while posting my own observations of Disney's evolution throughout the decades. I'm going to skip the Laugh-O-Grams and Alice Comedies to save time—they're pretty boring, hollow cartoons anyways.

YEAR 1: 1927. Disney and Ub Iwerks get a contract with Winkler Pictures to make cartoon shorts for Universal studios. This results in the birth of Disney's first star character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Watching these early silent cartoon is a very charming, humbling experience. The animation has a weightless, dreamlike atmosphere to it, with objects developing a mind of their own, stretching like rubber. The fact that Oswald can even detach his own limbs only adds to this cozy feeling—and this all is no doubt borrowed from the surreal Felix the Cat cartoons, among the earliest attempts to get personality in animation. In these cartoons we begin to see the earliest development of true personality animation—during these cartoons, Oswald seems to actually be thinking about what's he doing—for example, watch the scene in his first cartoon where he tries to negotiate with a cow to get off the roads. We can tell from his expressions and gestures that theres some kind of thought process behind it, so we know that he's an individual and not a mindless construct just doing what the story is telling him to do. This is undeniably what contributed to Oswald's initial success with Disney—something that was never gained under the hands of Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz. The gags in these early cartoons are very inspired, despite being well over 80 years old and going. The animation is crisp and lively, albiet rigid and crude at the same time. The new musical scores provided by Robert Isreael breathe new life into these old treasures.

Unfortunately, three of the Oswalds from this year have been lost to time, no doubt due to neglect of the original negatives on Universal's part. I'm grateful we even have these six to watch. (Trolley Troubles) (Oh Teacher) (The Mechanical Cow) (Great Guns) (All Wet) (The Ocean Hop)

Feel free to tell me what you personally think of them. I'll be back soon with even more 'toons.

Year 2: 1928: The loss of Oswald, and the birth of Mickey Mouse.

At first it seemed like things would turn out great for Walt and his animators—Oswald was a hit with the public and profits were rolling in. But disaster struck—when Walt went to ask the boss of Winkler Pictures, Charles Mintz, for a budget increase (so that Walt could keep making progress with his films) not only was he denied the budget increase—but was then told to accept a 20% budget decrease. On top of that, Mintz revealed to Walt that he had hired away all but a handful of his animators out from under him with a new contract, and reminded Walt that he, not him, owned the rights to Oswald. So he gave Disney the ultimatum—take the budget cut, or lose his star character. Obviously, we know how this turned out. After completing the remaining Oswald shorts he was contracted to make, Walt, Ub, and a couple other animators left Winkler altogether. Walt was devastated by this loss—he had finally found success after failing with two previous studios, only to have his men and staff swiped out from under him. It taught him a very important lesson in making sure he owned the rights to anything he made. But he was not deterred—while completing the final Oswalds, his top animator, Ub Iwerks, went to work on creating a new star to replace Oswald—a little Mickey Mouse. In just two weeks, Ub finished the first Mickey Mouse cartoon—Plane Crazy.

Unfortunately, Walt and Ub couldn't get the series off the ground—at this point, cartoons had all but worn out their welcome with audiences, and Mickey just seemed like more of the same to them. Fortunately, they found a way to solve this—after, er, aquiring a pirated sound phone, they began work on making a synchronized sound cartoon. Walt obviously must have realised how much sound could help cartoons, after seeing the wide success of the Warner Bros. talkie "The Jazz Singer." After a month or two of work, Walt finally released the the cartoon that kicked off "The Golden Age of Animation": Steamboat Willie. While it was NOT the first sound cartoon, despite general misinformatiion, it was the first to truly take advantage of what it could do for cartoons. Upon release, the short was an instant success, selling big at the box office, getting rave reviews and instantly cementing Mickey Mouse as a star character, and thus guaranteeing animation, and Walt, a future. (Rival Romeos) (Bright Lights) (Ozzie of the Mounted) (Oh What a Knight) (Sky Scrappers) (The Fox Chase) (Tall Timber) (Plane Crazy) (Steamboat Willie) (The Gallopin Gaucho)

Year 5: 1931: This was a fairly unremarkable year for the Disney shorts. Just standard fare of Mickeys and Silly Symphonies rolling in success. There was one little roadbumps along the way—first, Walt discovered that Warner Bros. had created a Mickey Mouse ripoff called Foxy for their Merry Melodies short subjects, which were made by two of his former employees, Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising. He personally put a stop to that plagarism. The studio Van Beuren got into similar trouble around that time with their "Milton Mouse" character. (The Birthday Party) (Birds of a Feather) (Traffic Troubles) (The Castaway) (Mother Goose Melodies) (The Moose Hunt) (The China Plate) (The Delivery Boy) (Mickey Steps Out) (The Busy Beavers) (The Cat's Out) (Blue Rhythm) (Egyptian Melodies) (Fishin Around) (The Clock Store) (The Spider and the Fly) (The Barnyard Broadcast) (The Beach Party) (The Fox Hunt—Silly Symphonies) (Mickey Cuts Up) (Mickey's Orphans) (The Ugly Duckling)

Year 8: 1934: Playful Pluto advances personality animation, Donald Duck Debuts in The Wise Little Hen, and Disney's first attempt at animating a realistic human figure occurs—and fails miserably—in "Goddess of Spring". (The China Shop) (Shanghied) (The Grasshopper and the Ants) (Camping Out) (Playful Pluto) (Funny Little Bunnies) (The Big Bad Wolf) (Gulliver Mickey) (The Wise Little Hen) (Mickeys Steamroller) (The Flying Mouse) (Orphans Benefit) (Peculiar Penguins) (Mickey Plays Papa) (The Goddess of Spring) (The Dognapper) (Two Gun Mickey)

Year 11: 1937: Disney finally grows the beard. (The Worm Turns) (Don Donald) (Magician Mickey) (Moose Hunters) (Woodland Cafe) (Mickey's Amatuers) (Little Hiawatha) (Modern Inventions) (Hawaiian Holiday) (Clock Cleaners) (The Old Mill) (Pluto's Quin-Puplets) (Donald's Ostrich) (Lonesome Ghosts) (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)

And i'm going to take a break for a bit. I'll round up more shorts later. In the meantime, tell me what you think of this stuff, guys.

12 Komodin15th Nov 2010 10:21:54 AM from Windy Hill Zone , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
TV Tropes' Sonic Wiki Curator
... Prinzenick? Is that you?

Looking at some of these shorts, I'm actually surprised that they're pretty interesting and funny. Not quite as good as some of the better Looney Tunes, but still.
^Yes, Prinzenick is me. Why do you ask?
14 Komodin15th Nov 2010 10:26:37 AM from Windy Hill Zone , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
TV Tropes' Sonic Wiki Curator
Remember that Komodin guy from Gamefaqs?

He's me.
^Yes, i remember you Komodin. I know you're the same Komodin who used to hang around the Sonic forums.
16 Komodin15th Nov 2010 10:33:43 AM from Windy Hill Zone , Relationship Status: I like big bots and I can not lie
TV Tropes' Sonic Wiki Curator
Ah, just wanted to make that clear. grin
Oh, I expected you to have a brief comment on every short, but that's alright.

@Komodin: Oh, there are some truly amazing ones if you know where to look at. As a quick example, you can't go wrong with the Trio cartoons (Lonesome Ghosts, Clock Cleaners, Moving Day...)
Defiler of Shops
Disney bonds people from every corner of the internet! :D
Soul is ugly.
As a kid, I was obsessed with that opening shot of the living steam shovel from Building a Building. I've been into complex mechanical stuff ever since.
Year 16: 1942 (Donald's Decision) (All together) (The Village Smithy) (The New Spirit) (Mickeys Birthday Party) (Pluto Junior) (Symphony Hour) (Donald's Snow Fight) (Donald Gets Drafted) (The Army Mascot) (Donald's Garden) (The Sleepwalker) (Food Will Win the War) (Donalds Gold Mine) (Out of the frying pan and into the firing line) (Bambi, part 1) (T Bone for Two) (How to Play Baseball) (The Vanishing Private) (The Olympic Champ) (How to Swim) (Sky Trooper) (Pluto at the Zoo) (How to Fish) (Bellboy Donald)

And now i'm going to take a break for a bit. Enjoy this stuff, guys! I want to spread the love of old cartoons, and i need all the help i can get to do so!
Thank you for making this thread. It's brought a lot of good entertainment to a lot of people. Good job, guys.
  1. Never be without a Hat!

Hot means heat. I don't care if your usage dates to 1300, it's my word, not yours.

My Pm box is open.

Total posts: 26
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