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Prod. and Airdates:

 

July 1922 - ?,  released theatrically

Walt Disney Studios

Theme Song: Disney shorts

 
W

 

alt Disney, the founder of what is today known as Walt Disney Animation Studios, worked briefly as a commercial artist before founding Laugh-O-Gram Films, Inc. in Kansas City in 1922. His studio created several advertisements before moving on to the four to ten minute animated shorts that traditionally played before the main feature in a movie house in the early years of cinema. The first six Laugh-O-Gram cartoons were modern day adaptations of traditional fairy tales. Disney's distributor went bankrupt in 1923 and Disney's studio soon followed, after having created only eight short films. Looking for better employment opportunities, Walt Disney packed his suitcases shortly afterwards and moved to California where the burgeoning film industry had taken root.

 

Starting over in California with a shoestring budget and a small staff, Disney found a distributor for a new series that featured live-action footage of a little girl named Alice who interacted directly with animated cartoon characters. The series was successful, but by the end of its four year stint the live-action sequences in the Alice series were taking an obvious back seat to the purely animated scenes. Having played out the Alice series, Disney's next project was a series of cartoons starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The Disney Studio created twenty-six Oswald cartoons before losing the rights to the character to it distributor Universal, forcing Disney to develop a new prospect: namely Mickey Mouse, a perpetual underdog with a big heart who was first created for the 1928 short, Plane Crazy.

 

(1936) Thru The Mirror

 

There was nothing particularly original about Mickey Mouse or his early co-star Minnie Mouse, as cartoon animals of various sorts were already standard fare for the medium - the most recognizable and popular probably being Felix the Cat - and Disney couldn't find a distributor for his new picture.

 

At the time, sound was first being introduced to motion pictures, although nobody had as yet come up with a method of doing so that produced satisfactory results. Disney was convinced that sound held the future to motion pictures. He did some research and finally happened upon the Cinephone system from Pat Powers. Using the system, Disney's studio worked out a method of adding synchronized sound to the picture that produced satisfactory results. Their first sound picture was the 1928, Mickey Mouse animated short Steamboat Willie. Still unable to find a distributor, Disney worked out an independent deal to have the cartoon shown at the Colony Theater in New York, billing it as the first animated cartoon with sound (although Paul Terry's Dinner Time was actually the first). The film was an instant sensation and received rave reviews. Pat Powers agreed to release the pictures through his company Celebrity Pictures and Mickey Mouse flourished into a national craze in 1929.

 

The advent of synchronized sound created a rush of feature-length musicals from the major studios that were very popular with audiences. Disney decided to get in on the action by creating some of the first animated musicals in a series of shorts entitled Silly Symphonies. While music and dance numbers were already a key element of the early Mickey Mouse cartoons, in the Silly Symphonies cartoons the imagery and content of the film centered around the musical score. The stories for the series were independent from one another and normally didn't use established characters. Seventy-five Silly Symphonies cartoons were made from the years 1929-1939.

 

(1939) The Autograph Hound

With its newfound success the Disney Studio expanded at a rapid pace, setting a standard for quality and creating some of the most fondly remembered characters in animation history. To this day, Mickey Mouse has remained the studio's figurehead. Minnie Mouse continued to co-star with Mickey through the year 1934, after which her appearances were significantly reduced, although she continued to be used sporadically. Pluto, who first appeared in the 1930 short The Chain Gang, was developed as Mickey's four legged canine friend. While the majority of Disney's creations took on an anthropomorphic tone, Pluto retained the essence of his heritage and played the part of a pet. The next major character to appear was Goofy in the 1932 short Mickey's Revue (although he was unofficially called "Dippy Dawg" at the time). Goofy was… well, goofy. From the way he talked, to his manner and expressions, Goofy lived up to his name. Donald Duck, normally dressed in a blue sailor suit and best known for his explosive temper, made his first appearance in the 1934, Silly Symphony cartoon The Wise Little Hen. Donald's rambunctious nephews - identical triplets by the names of Huey, Dewey, and Louie - made their first animated appearance in the 1938 short Donald's Nephews. Shortly thereafter Daisy Duck, Donald Duck's girlfriend, made her appearance in the 1940 cartoon Mr. Duck Steps Out. These characters continued to star in the majority of the animated shorts put out by the Disney Studio, and most went on to play prominent roles in later, made-for-television cartoon series.

 

The Disney Studio largely gave up creating animated shorts during the 1960s, although it has continued to release short films on an irregular basis. Walt Disney passed away in 1966, but the company he founded in 1923 as an animation studio continues to be a prominent player and innovator in the field of animation and forges ahead in its quest to capture the imagination of audiences worldwide.

 
   

 

Cast

Mickey Mouse

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Walt Disney (1928-1947)

Mickey Mouse

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Jimmy MacDonald (1946-1982)

Mickey Mouse

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Wayne Allwine (1983-2009)

Donald Duck

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Clarence Nash (1934-1985)

Donald Duck

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Tony Anselmo (1985-?)

Goofy

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Pinto Colvig (1932-1938, 1943-1967)

Goofy

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George Johnson (1939-1943)

Goofy

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Bob Jackman (1951)

Goofy

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Hal Smith (1983)

Goofy

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Tony Pope (1986-1988)

Goofy

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Bill Farmer (1986-?)

Pluto

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Pinto Colvig (1930-1939, 1941-1967)

Pluto

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Lee Millar, Sr. (1939-1941)

Pluto

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Clarence Nash (?)

Pluto

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Jimmy MacDonald (?)

Pluto

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Bill Farmer (1983-?)

Minnie Mouse

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Walt Disney (1928)

Minnie Mouse

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Marjorie Ralston (1928)

Minnie Mouse

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Marcellite Garner (1928-1940)

Minnie Mouse

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Thelma Boardman (1940-1942)

Minnie Mouse

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Ruth Clifford (1942-1986)

Minnie Mouse

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Russi Taylor (1986-?)

Daisy Duck

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Clarence Nash (original voice)

Huey

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Clarence Nash (short films voice only)

Dewey

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Clarence Nash (short films voice only)

Louie

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Clarence Nash (short films voice only)

 

Opening Themes:

 

The opening theme was different for every Disney short until 1941, when particular themes began to be reused for cartoons starring specific characters. The same opening was used for most of the Donald Duck shorts from 1941-46, Goofy from 1941-49 and Pluto from 1942-47. New themes were introduced for Donald from 1947-59, Goofy from 1950-53 and Pluto from 1947-51. Surprisingly, Mickey Mouse never got a distinct theme song. Below is a random sampling of the one-shot opening themes used for the Disney shorts throughout the years.

 

1929: Wild Waves

1930: The Gorilla Mystery

1933: The Mad Doctor

1937: Moose Hunters

1938: Mickey's Parrot

1940: Tugboat Mickey

1956: In the Bag

 

Similar Shows:

 

Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
  Episodes  
 
 

Walt Disney Animation continues to create short subjects on an irregular basis. The following links list films created up to the year 1999 only, and do not include many of the educational and commercial short films also created by Disney.

 

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960 and beyond

 

 

 

 

 

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Bright Lights, 1928)
Mickey Mouse (The Barnyard Battle, 1929)
Mickey Mouse (The Barn Dance, 1928)
Pluto and Mickey Mouse (Trader Mickey, 1932)
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse (Mickey's Steamroller, 1934)
(1936) Mickey's Elephant
(1936) The Country Cousin
(1939) Society Dog Show
(1936) Toby Tortoise Returns
Goofy
(1937) Pluto's Quin-puplets
Pluto
Donald Duck
 

 

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