Walt Disney’s 1928 short Steamboat Willie is widely recognized as a landmark in animation history; the short revolutionized animation technology, as well as launched Disney’s empire.
The cartoon is also considered the debut of Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie. Although both Mickey and Minnie appeared several months earlier in the short Plane Crazy, Steamboat Willie was the first film to be distributed. November 18, 1928 - the day that Steamboat Willie opened in New York City - is now known as Mickey Mouse’s birthday. The cartoon, which ran only eight minutes long, revolutionized animation because it was the first cartoon with synchronized sound, or sound that was paired to moving images.
The music in the final soundtrack was performed by the Green Brothers Novelty Band; a filmed bouncing ball helped the musicians keep tempo. The technology rendered silent animation obsolete. Prior to Steamboat Willie, Disney’s cartoons were nearly indistinguishable from his competitors; the “sound cartoon” set the businessman and filmmaker apart, and helped grow his expansive industry to what it is today.
The response to Steamboat Willie was so positive that Disney reproduced Plane Crazy as a sound cartoon, and also released it in theaters. Disney's first full length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, followed less than ten years later. This fantastic production drawing is a piece of animation history, and would make an outstanding addition to any animation collection. 19" x 17" framed. SOLD