Disney+ deep dives: a review of the 1928 classic Steamboat Willie

Yesterday, Disney’s long awaited streaming service dropped and gave us nearly every piece of content Disney/Fox/Nat Geo have ever created all in one place. Needless to say the amount of content was overwhelming, but I went in with a mission: I wanted to watch the OG Mickey short, a 1928 black and white film called “Steamboat Willie.”

Steamboat Willie marks the first official appearance of the worlds second most famous vermin (the first being the rat that started the Black Plague), Mickey Mouse, who Disney alleges can nowadays be identified by 98% of the people on the planet. My curiosity with this short was to not only see this famous characters beginnings, but to also see what a children’s cartoon was like in 1928, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

For starters despite being over 90 years old the animation never felt too choppy, with smooth transitions, and was complemented well by the musical score. The short kicks off with Mickey driving a steamboat, whistling a fire tune, before his dick of a boss shows up and tells him to fuck off (without saying it though, as this film has no dialogue). His boss then proceeds to eat a cigar and start spitting tobacco all over the fucking place (via a gap in his teeth), something we would never see in a children’s cartoon today:

Tobacco is wacko kids

Mickey then helps a a cow onto the steamboat after fattening it up with some hay, before his chick Minnie joins him on the boat with gifts, only for a goat on the boat to eat those gifts. After the goat eats her mans guitar, Minnie makes that fucker pay by using him as a phonograph:

At this point in the film I was quite unclear about what the plot was, and I would only get more confused as it went on.

After kicking Minnie off the boat, Mickey heads down into the bowels of the boat to check on a fuck ton of farm animals residing there. This is where Mickey shows his true self: an absolute asshole. Whether it be out of spite for the goat eating his instrument or him just being a sick fuck, Mickey proceeds to fuck with the animals all to the tune of a musical score, I mean look at this shit:

After he beats up on all of the animals to the tune of his song, Mickeys dip spitting boss again makes an appearance to tell him to stop fucking around and get back to work . Where the short concludes with Mickey skinning potatoes, during which he knocks a parrot that as been mocking him out off a window, then laughs while listening to it drown outside, I’m really not making that up, he actually laughs while it drowns.

All in all, what I learned from the short is that 1928 was a very different time, A time before PETA and pussies, one where kids were encouraged to choke out ducks to the sound of music, and to eat cigars for comedy. Mickeys actions in this film can be chalked up to youthful ignorance, as these violent traits are no longer part of his character.

I would give this short an 8.1/10 for both its historical significance and slapstick comedy. However I still don’t understand why some animals (Mickey, Minnie, and his boss) are able to talk and walk, while others (every other animal in the short) are dumb as rocks.

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