mickeyyoohoo mickeyyoohoo

An invitation from Disney

Animator Hans Perk (whose wonderful Disney-centric blog is an essential read) has just posted a very rare find: a 1932 Disney party invitation to celebrate the switch in studio distribution from Columbia Pictures to United Artists. Hans points out that the invite is written by “Mickey” himself and suggests to current writers for the Mouse that “This is how Mickey should talk.” I agree.

Check it out on A. Film L.A..

  • Mike Lucy

    I have to disagree. I think this letter makes Mickey sound like a slave from a Mark Twain novel.

  • Mintz Meat

    A beautiful little drawing of Mickey. “… so’s you can bring a guest if ya like” sounds vaguely Popeye-esque to me.

  • Thad

    Well fer th’ love o’ Mike!

  • The text on that invite is about as much dialog as Micky might get in a whole film.

    I’m not sure modern audiences are ready for that much hayseed to come out of Mickey’s mouth. Can anyone point to a classic Mickey cartoon where he ever affected a full-tilt farm-boy accent like that? I can’t think of one.

    On the other hand Mickey is pretty chatty in the comic strips that are being reprinted at D23.com. But still no indication of an accent.

    I wonder why Disney signed with Columbia if they seemed so unpleasant. Mickey Mouse was a successful series by that time, were other suitors absent or hopelessly inadequate?

  • robcat2075, the Columbia story is a rather complex one. As far as I understand it, this happened: When Pat Powers distributed the Mickeys, he did not want to distribute the Silly Symphonies, and the Disneys found that the small outfit Columbia was the only one willing to do so, partly through the intervention of Frank Capra. Later, after Powers lured away Ub Iwerks, Walt broke with Powers and signed a contract with Columbia (Feb. 7th 1930), as they seemed to be a good choice AND they would help front a loan to pay off the Powers contract. Only after getting down to business with Columbia did the Disneys find out that Columbia’s business practices were less than wholesome. This is the reason that after only some 8 months with Columbia, the Disneys courted United Artists, which was seen as a quality distributor. The story is well documented and can be found in most of the Disney bios, like in Mike Barrier’s “The Animated Man.”

    As to Mickey’s accent, hear it straight from Walt’s own mouth in the Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air here… He does not sound like a slave at all in my mind – he is simply a straight-forward fun-loving country boy mouse with a no-nonsense attitude.

  • Very cool, wish I had a TARDIS so I could go back in time & attend the party.

  • I like when Hans quotes Roy Disney to say, they were not “overburdened with ‘Good Intentions’.”

    The wording on the invitation is perfect – I think if you just read it without any knowledge of who it was supposed to be, you would certainly guess Mickey – his language is ingrained in the minds of all who grew up with him as the most famous cartoon character in the world.

  • Osgood

    Even though Jim MacDonald was then doing Mickey’s voice, traces of this midwestern idiom-filled speech lingered well into the 1950’s Mickey Mouse Club bumpers. In one of them he states “Big doin’s today!”, dated rural slang for certain but unique to Mickey.

  • Osgood: Walt himself provided Mickey’s voice for the last time for the Mickey Mouse Club intros! Though Jim MacDonald was the official voice of Mickey since Mickey and the Beanstalk in 1947, Walt seems to have been around as they recorded these, and have insisted on doing them.
    His voice is a lot lower there than it was earlier, but you did not say no to the boss…

  • robcat2075: the Columbia story is often described in the Walt bios, like Mike Barrier’s superb “The Animated Man.” In short, the small outfit Columbia distributed the Silly Symphonies when no one else would, on Frank Capra’s recommendation, while Walt was still under contract with Pat Powers. When Powers got Ub Iwerks to leave the Disneys, they in turn signed up with Columbia, Feb. 7th 1930. Only after getting down to business did Roy Disney find out that Columbia’s business practices were less than wholesome, which is why the Disneys courted the reputable United Artists after only 8 months.

  • The way this is written is very much like how the writers of Mickey’s comic strips would have written his speech. Mickey was supposed to be an average sort, not the sophisticated suburbanite he became by the 1950’s, when he was clad in a Polo shirt and a ball cap, or a dressy jacket, a hat and slacks (those hats always looked like they were going to slide off the back of his head!).

  • I wrote Mickey Mouse for a number of years. Both comics and comic strips. I never had a problem writing for the famous mouse.

    I simply listened to him — and wrote down exactly what he said.

  • This is just another gem at A Film La. Hans has developed one of the most important sites available to us, and I hope this brings hundreds of new visitors to his site. You’re right, Jerry, it is an essential read.

  • Charles K

    Well said, Floyd!

  • Doug Drown

    When (and why) did Disney leave United Artists to go with RKO?

    — And another question that has been in my mind for a long time: Why did the famous RKO Radio logo (the revolving globe and enormous radio tower) never appear as the intro to any of Disney’s feature films? I’ve always wondered about that.

  • Tom Minton

    It’s too bad Universal and RKO never partnered on any major release during the 1930’s. The shotgun marriage of that decade’s Universal single engine airplane-encircled globe with the classic RKO tower astride it beaming out animated radio waves would have made a dynamite visual. If this gives anyone ideas, they’ll be seventy-seven years late.

  • Read it in this squeaky, chirpy voice (I hear “Newton” from the old Hercules cartoon), and all is well.

  • Mesterius

    Wow, cool! Mickey talks just like Little Orphan Annie! (Or at least like she did back in the 30s;)