January 5, 2012 by Brent
Recently I was asked to write an
article for this site dealing
with Disney and music. I'll be honest. I don't
know much about music. I've always enjoyed
listening to music, but I can't tell you too
much about it . So when the request was made, it
added some fun for me because (nerd alert!) that
means I could do research!
The amazing thing is, the Disney
company never really got its jump start until
music joined the Disney family in 1928 with
Steamboat Willie, so I feel its only appropriate
to begin our story back in 1928!
The first time audiences ever
saw Mickey Mouse on November 28, 1928 he was
whistling a song which most Disney fans can
recognize almost instantly, but the big question
is, why did Walt chose this song (which would
eventually define not only Mickey Mouse, but be
featured in the opening of all Disney animated
films starting with 2007's Meet the Robinsons)?
To answer that question, we need
to take a look at the title of Mickey Mouse's
first cartoon and figure out where the title
originated from. Six months before Steamboat
Willie was released a Buster Keaton film
entitled Steamboat Bill Jr. was released.
Realizing that both the Buster Keaton live
action film and the Mickey Mouse cartoon both
took place on a steamboat, Walt named the
cartoon to parody the title of Steamboat Bill
Jr. (even though it was not an extremely popular
Steamboat Bill Jr. in turn was
named as a parody of a 1911 song by Arthur
Collins called Steamboat Bill. To pay homage to
the original song, Walt decided to open
Steamboat Willie with Mickey whistling the tune
to 1911's Steamboat Bill! What's the song sound
like, click the link below to listen!
Like I said, I don't know a lot about music, but the
research is beginning and soon I'll be boring you with Disney music
knowledge in addition to the parks and movies!