Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – Trolley Troubles
In the mid nineteen twenties Walt Disney was commissioned for his “silent” cartoons by Charles Mintz and Universal Pictures. So, before Mickey there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. One of the first animations was Trolley Troubles in Sept. 1927. It wasn’t until a few years later that sound was added.
The Birth of Mickey Mouse
Walt Disney designed the character Mickey Mouse while riding on a train back to Los Angeles with his wife Lillian. After completing his sketch, Walt showed it to Lillian and said his name was Mortimer Mouse. Lillian did not like the name and suggested Mickey Mouse. And so was the birth of Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse – Plane Crazy
Mickey’s first film was Plane Crazy. Walt and Lillian Disney and Ub Iwerks, worked in secret on the film in a garage behind Walt’s home on Lyric Avenue.
Mickey Mouse – The Gallopin’ Gaucho
At the time of its first release, Plane Crazy apparently failed to impress audiences so, Walt went on to produce a second Mickey short: The Gallopin’ Gaucho. The short was intended as a parody of Douglas Fairbanks’s The Gaucho, a film first released on November 21, 1928. Mickey was intended to be a swashbuckler, an adventurer modeled after Fairbanks himself.
Mickey Mouse – Steamboat Willie
Mickey Mouse made his official film debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York.
Mickey Mouse – The Band Concert
The first Mickey Mouse cartoon in color was The Band Concert, which premiered on February 23, 1935. This also includes Donald Duck being his cantankerous self. Many scenes look as if they made their way into the Legendary Animation Fantasia filmed in 1940.
“We felt that the public, and especially the children, like animals that are cute and little. I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea. We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin — a little fellow trying to do the best he could. When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it’s because he’s so human; and that is the secret of his popularity. I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” -Walt Disney
Betty Boop – Dizzy Dishes
Just an added bonus of Betty Boop’s 1930 animated show Dizzy Dishes for my buddy Lou.
The character was originally created in the mode of an anthropomorphic French poodle. Max Fleischer finalized Betty Boop as completely human by 1932 in the cartoon Any Rags. Her floppy poodle ears became hoop earrings, and her black poodle nose became a girl’s button-like nose.
All historical references provided by MMania at:
Additional information can be found by searching Wikipedia.
Also, a great Chronology of the Walt Disney Company here: