Steamboat Willie was released in 1928 as a Short film by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. It was produced in black and white and is considered the debut of Mickey Mouse, although a Short called Plane Crazy was completed first. The sensation that was The Jazz Singer, credited as the first ‘Talkie’, motivated Walt to move his cartoons to sound before any other animation studio did so.
Walt knew that synchronized sound was the ‘fad’ of the day that was there to stay! And yes, the rest is history.
This ground-breaking Short has spawned more than cinematic history. It has also given us a lot of merchandise, like these Nano Metalfigs 100% die-cast Steamboat Willie figures:
For more information about this particular line of merchandise, please check out my earlier post featuring an eclectic grouping of Disney Characters.
I love this set because they are in black and white! They really capture the feeling of the original animation:
This Short didn’t follow the usual plot that would play out again and again over the years, that being that Mickey has to save Minnie from the inappropriate advances of a cad… usually Pegleg Pete, with or without a peg leg. This time, she is merely a passenger on the steamboat, and a fellow abuser of animals alongside Mickey.
The final character in this set is a bird on a perch. He appears three times in the Short. First, he laughs at Mickey when he falls down a flight of stairs, only to have a bucket of water dumped over him. Next, he is seen dancing to the music that Mickey and Minnie are making with the bodies of other animals, and lastly, he shows up at the end to laugh at Mickey again as he is pealing potatoes as a punishment for goofing off. Mickey again fixes the bird by throwing a potato at him, knocking him overboard and into the river.
It was a gentler time, I guess? Not!
These are very well done figures in a high quality die-cast material. The fit and finish is superb! I highly recommend them for any Disney collector. They are small (under 2″ high) so don’t take up much shelf space.
I bought these from a private seller for just $10.00 CAN.