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“Making Mickey Mouse Act For the Talkies”

Calling all animation historians and Disney geeks! Our friends at the Modern Mechanix blog have dug up another animation related article from their stash of long lost popular science/mechanics publications of the 1930s. This time it’s Making Mickey Mouse Act For the Talkies from the March 1931 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine. The article, by Gordon S. Mitchell of Universal’s sound department – who includes ample references to Lantz’s Oswald Rabbit – is a pretty poorly written explanation of how cartoons are produced. However, it does feature several unique behind-the-scenes photos and drawings, and well worth a look for how animation production was explained to the public in those long ago days before DVD bonus features. Check it out here.

(Thanks, C. Peklenk)

  • Luke

    Wow, that was interesting. But rather awkwardly written. I didn’t know that the musicians would make the growls in those cartoons. Some rather ignorent comments on that page though.

  • uncle wayne

    it’s THIS kind of thing that has made THIS site my home page for a lonnnng time. Thank YOO! Priceless!!!

  • Rufus

    “Walk contributes this image of his character being chased by a BIG BLACK BEAR”….

    Even back then they were so ignorant that they can’t tell a killer monkey from a bear, or what?

    • joe micallef

      I could imagine how this mistake could happen in the typesetting era pre 1960s. Graphic design was a very segmented process back then. Most likely, the writer was unaware of the images before it went to press and the paste up was made after the text was finalized.

      But whether it was bear or gorilla (I know its a gorilla of course) I love the abstraction of both Mickey and his antagonist. No rigid joints, floppy tube appendages, wobbly, silly… I miss this in CG… today this would be a great exercise in soft body dynamics.

  • Dominique N.

    Wow, incredible article!


  • David Gerstein

    Wow. That’s actually a publicity still for THE GORILLA MYSTERY—one that I’d never seen before. (Though I believe I’ve seen a photo of Walt at a table where it’s sitting under him; I remember identifying the gorilla and wondering if I’d ever see the drawing in non-distorted from.)

  • David Gerstein

    Urgh… I mean non-distorted FORM.

  • Check it out: a drawing of Oswald in a typical pose, drawn by Walter Lantz, his creator! You think the Universal guy wrote the captions too?