Wikia

The Disney Wiki

Steamboat Willie

36,347pages on
this wiki
Comments9

This article is about the short. For the titular riverboat, see Steamboat Willie (boat).

Steamboat Willie is an animated cartoon released on November 18, 1928. It was the first Mickey Mouse sound cartoon (Mickey had appeared in two earlier cartoons, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho). It was also the first cartoon in history to feature synchronized sound.

The cartoon was written and directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. The title is a parody of the Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr. Music for Steamboat Willie was put together by Wilfred Jackson, one of Disney's animators — not, as sometimes reported, by Carl Stalling — and comprises popular melodies including Steamboat Bill and Turkey in the Straw.

Plot

Steamboat-willie-title2
Steamboat-willie

The iconic opening scene in which Mickey is piloting Steamboat Willie.

Steamboatwillie2

Pete scowling at Mickey Mouse.

Steamboatwillie3

The goat ready to feast upon "Turkey in the Straw."

Steamboatwillie4

Mickey playing along to "Turkey in the Straw."

Steamboatwillie5

Minnie cranking the goat "phonograph."

Steamboatwillie6

Mickey peeling potatoes.

The film begins with Mickey piloting the Steamboat Willie riverboat down a river, happily whistling along to the tune of "Steamboat Bill". He pulls a rope to sound the steamboat's three whistles. The tall and medium whistle sound off in synch but the shortest one stays quiet until it receives a good hit from the medium one. Unbeknownst to Mickey, an angry Captain Peg Leg Pete appears behind him and grabs Mickey's torso, stretching it in the process and switches places with him behind the wheel.

He proceeds to yell at Mickey and then and sends him back down to the deck. Mickey salutes weakly while Pete turns around. To his back, Mickey blows a raspberry. Pete turns around angrily to see Mickey weakly waving his hands, possibly indicating it was just gas. Pete goes to kick Mickey who races down the stairs which causes Pete's leg to miss completely and swing around to kick himself in the rear instead.

Mickey tumbles down the stairs, slips on a bar of soap, and lands in a bucket of water. A parrot nearby by mocks him and begins to laugh which provokes Mickey to throw the bucket of water on the parrot who squawks for help as Mickey walks away. Pete, who has been watching this whole time, pulls out a slab of chewing tobacco and bites off half of it. He spits in front of him and the spit circles around and hits the bell behind him causing it to ring. Giddy, Pete attempts to do it again. He spits and turns around to watch it hit the bell but gets hit in the face instead which causes him to make a fuss.

The film then cuts to a shot of Podunk Landing with two chickens, a duck and a cow stationed on the dock. Steamboat Willie makes its way around the bend and backs up into the dock. Mickey is lowered down to the dock by a crane near the cow. He fastens a belt around the cow in order to lift him onto the ship. However, the belt is far too big and the cow far too skinny, so all that happens is the cow is caught by the udder hanging upside down.

In a panic, Mickey attempts to bring the cow back down by grabbing his tail and gets sprayed by the udder. The cow is lowered back to the dock and Mickey attempts to tighten the belt to no avail. He looks distraught until he sees a wagon of hay and grabs a big fork load to feed to the cow. The cow happily swallows the entire bail and easily fills out to the size of the belt and is raised to the ship.

Just then, Minnie Mouse appears on the scene running to catch up to Steamboat Willie. Mickey jumps aboard the ship and takes off leaving Minnie yelling at the dock. She proceeds to run alongside the river after the steamboat. Calling for help, Mickey hears her and decides to lower the crane to catch her. The crane is lowered by Minnie and the hook proceeds to gently lift of her dress and grab hold of her bloomers carrying her onto the ship. As she is lowered, Minnie drops her fiddle and "Turkey in the Straw" sheet music which bounces over to a goat.

The goat sees it and begins to eat the sheet music. Minnie is lowered to the ship and the hook pulls her dress back down. Minnie is happy to see Mickey and turns shyly away to see the goat eating her sheet music. The goat then starts on the fiddle and Mickey attempts to yank it out of his mouth. Mickey struggles but can't pull it out and falls on the ground launching the fiddle into the goats body which proceeds to bounce around causing music notes to sound. Mickey hears this and gets the idea to use the goat as a phonograph. He opens the goat's mouth and calls Minnie over.

Minnie gets the idea and begins to "crank" the goat's tail and "Turkey in the Straw" begins to play. What follows is a lively rendition of the song where Mickey uses a barrel and garbage can as drums, bangs on pots and pans, strokes a washboard, pulls on a cats tail to make it sing and swings it around his head, uses a duck as a makeshift bagpipe, pulls on little piglets tails to make squeaks, and finally uses the cows teeth as a makeshift xylophone.

After the song, Mickey take a bow and finds Peg Leg Pete scowling at him. He attempts to walk away but Pete grabs him and sends him below deck to peel potatoes. Mickey begins to work when the annoying parrot flies into the window and begins to mock and laugh at him again provoking Mickey to throw a half-peeled potato at him, sending the parrot splashing into the water. Triumphant, Mickey begins to laugh and brings the picture to a close.

Characters

Production Notes

In a test screening from family and friends, Walt Disney recalls the first public reaction to his new sound Mickey Mouse cartoons:

When the picture was half finished, we had a showing with sound. A couple of boys could read music and one of them, Wilfred Jackson, could play a mouth organ. We put them in a room where they could not see the screen and arranged to pipe their sound into the room where our wives and friends were going to see the picture. The boys worked from music and sound effects score. After several false starts, sound and action got off with the gun. The mouth organist played the tune; the rest of us in the sound department blamed tin pans and blew slide whistles in the beat. The synchronism was pretty close. The effect on our little audience was nothing less than electric. They responded almost instinctively to this union of sound and motion. I thought they were kidding me. So they put me in the audience and ran the action again. It was terrible, but it was wonderful! And it was something new!

Releases

Television

Home video

VHS

Laserdisc

  • Mickey Mouse: The Black and White Years - Volume One

DVD

Blu-ray

Trivia

  • Steamboat Willie is generally considered to be the first popular cartoon with synchronized sound.
  • The film's original release date, November 18, 1928, was later declared as Mickey's official birthday in the early 1970s.
  • In 1998, the Library of Congress added Steamboat Willie to the National Film Registry.
  • Steamboat Willie was briefly referenced in the film Saving Private Ryan. After the main characters capture the machine gun nest, a captured German soldier mentions the film. As the soldier's real name is never stated, he is often nicknamed "Steamboat Willie."
  • The part where the goat eats the music sheets and the instrument, as well as Mickey turning the goat into a phonograph, mirrors an exact event from the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon called Rival Romeos.
  • In The Simpsons episode, "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie", the fictional TV characters, Itchy and Scratchy pay tribute to Steamboat Willie by mimicking the signature pose in a monochrome format. Ironically, the director of that episode is Rich Moore: a director at Walt Disney Animation Studios best known for directing Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia.

References in later Disney media

  • The signature melody for Steamboat Willie is has been used as an introduction for movies by Walt Disney Feature Animation ever since the animation studio's restructure by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull under the name Walt Disney Animation Studios (starting with the movie Meet the Robinsons). It starts out as a blank piece of paper as lines are drawn onto it, recreating the iconic scene from a basic sketch to the final iteration.
  • At the beginning of the Bonkers episode "Of Mice and Menace", Steamboat Willie's steering wheel, along with a framed picture of Mickey steering the boat, is shown to be on display at the Toon Museum.
  • In the cartoon Runaway Brain, Mickey (in Julius's body) shows Julius (in Mickey's body) his wallet and the first thing shown in it is a photo of Mickey at the steering wheel, to which Mickey comments "Aw, that's old!"
  • At the end of Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Genie is seen exiting the mouth of the giant turtle on a small boat similar to Steamboat Willie, with Genie himself appearing as Mickey whistling "Turkey In The Straw".
  • Steamboat Willie is often referenced and parodied in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse.
    • In "How to Be a Waiter", Goofy tries acting in a parody titled Steamboat Goofy. He ends up accidentally crashing his own steamboat against Steamboat Willie itself, much to the annoyance of Mickey.
    • In "The Stolen Cartoons", Donald Duck, trying to appease the audience when they're angry that Mickey is absent, attempts to imitate the opening scene of Steamboat Willie.
  • Steamboat Willie is the basis of the Timeless River world in Kingdom Hearts II. Other shorts that are areas of that world are Gulliver Mickey, Building a Building, Mickey's Orphans, and The Fire Fighters.
  • Stages based on Steamboat Willie are also featured in Mickey Mania and Epic Mickey. Additionally, in both Epic Mickey and its sequel, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, the theater on Mean Street is playing "Steamboat Oswald".
  • Steamboat Willie is the subject of a comic story titled "Mickey Mouse and the River of Time", in which the sunken ruins of the ship turn up in a river and Mickey and Pete work to salvage the craft.
  • Part of the Old-Timey World in the Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension video game is set on a version of Steamboat Willie owned by the level's version of Heinz Doofenshmirtz.


Gallery

Wiki
The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Steamboat Willie.
Smallwikipedialogo
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Steamboat Willie. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


v - e - d
Walt Disney Animation Studios - Transparent Logo
In the Past

Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt Kahl | Frank Thomas | Ollie Johnston | Les Clark | John Lounsbery | Marc Davis | Ward Kimball | Eric Larson | Wolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill Tytla | Art Babbitt | Preston Blair | Ed Love | Fred Moore | Shamus Culhane | Cy Young | Don Lusk | Norman Ferguson | Hal King | Jack Hannah | Jack Kinney | Cliff Nordberg | Bob Carlson | Hal Ambro | Ken O'Brien | Judge Whitaker | Eric Cleworth | Harvey Toombs | Marvin Woodward | Bill Justice | Jerry Hathcock | Hugh Fraser | Clair Weeks | Don Bluth | Gary Goldman | Berny Wolf | Don Towsley | Norman Tate | John Bradbury | Lynn Karp | Charles A. Nichols | Art Palmer | Joshua Meador | Don Tobin | Robert Martsch | George Rowley | John McManus | Don Patterson | John Elliotte | Phil Duncan | George Kreisel | John Freeman | Jack Campbell | Ed Aardal | Blaine Gibson | Ken Hultgren | Fred Kopietz | George Nicholas | Bob Youngquist | John Kennedy | Henry Tanous | Dick Lucas | John Sibley | John Ewing | Walt Stanchfield | Fred Hellmich | Blaine Gibson | Julius Svendsen | Bill Keil | Andy Paliwoda
Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf Tenggren | Mary Blair | David Hall | Joe Grant | Campbell Grant | Mel Shaw | Claude Coats | Don DaGradi | John Hench | Art Riley | Eyvind Earle | Thelma Witmer | Al Dempster | Dick Anthony | Don Griffith | Ralph Hulett | Ray Huffine | Art Landy | Brice Mack | Al Zinnen | Ken O'Connor | Charles Philippi | McLaren Stewart | Tom Codrick | Hugh Hennesy | Lance Nolley | Thor Putnam | Albert Hurter | John Miller | Martin Provensen | John Walbridge | Dick Kelsey | Kay Nielsen | Terrell Stapp | John Hubley | Merle Cox | Ray Huffine | Mac Stewart | Jimi Trout | Basil Davidovich | Jack Hubler | Erni Nordli | Victor Haboush | Homer Jonas | Ray Aragon | Frank Artimage | Walt Peregoy | Bill Layne | Fil Mottola | Richard H. Thomas | Dale Barnhart | Anthony Rizzo | Sylvia Roemer
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Ted Sears | Bill Peet | Ralph Wright | Erdman Penner | Winston Hibler | Joe Rinaldi | Milt Banta | Bill Cottrell | Webb Smith | Aurelius Battaglia | Otto Englander | Joseph Sabo | Dick Huemer | Tom Oreb | Del Connell | Floyd Norman
Directors: Clyde Geronimi | Hamilton Luske | Wilfred Jackson | Bill Roberts | Jack Kinney | Ben Sharpsteen | Art Stevens | Ted Berman | Richard Rich
Producers: Walt Disney | Winston Hibler | Ron Miller | Joe Hale | Ken Anderson

In the Renaissance, the Present and the Revival

Renaissance Directors: Rob Minkoff | Roger Allers | Gary Trousdale | Kirk Wise | Chris Sanders | Mark Dindal
Story Trust Directors: Ron Clements | John Musker | Chris Buck | Byron Howard | Don Hall | Chris Williams | Rich Moore | Stephen J. Anderson | Nathan Greno | Jennifer Lee
Producers: Peter Del Vecho | Clark Spencer | Roy Conli | Dorothy McKim | Don Hahn
Executive Producers: John Lasseter
Associated Figures: Bob Iger | Roy Edward Disney | Michael Eisner | Ed Catmull | Jeffrey Katzenberg
Signature Voice Actors: Jim Cummings | Alan Tudyk | Katie Lowes | Maurice LaMarche | David Ogden Stiers | Jesse Corti | Paul Briggs | Raymond S. Persi | Phil Johnston | Frank Welker | Bill Farmer
Signature Musicians: Sherman Brothers | Robert B. Sherman | Richard Sherman | Alan Menken | Kristen Anderson-Lopez | Robert Lopez | Lin-Manuel Miranda | Howard Ashman | Tim Rice
Supervising Animators: Glen Keane | Andreas Deja | Randy Haycock | Alex Kupershmidt | Anthony DeRosa | Eric Goldberg | Mark Henn | John Pomeroy | T. Daniel Hofstedt | Tony Bancroft | Tom Bancroft | Tony Fucile | Russ Edmonds | Duncan Marjoribanks | Ruben Aquino | Nik Ranieri | Ron Husband | Rick Farmiloe
Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Paul Felix | Andy Gaskill | Dean DeBlois | Lorna Cook | Bill Schwab | Lisa Keene | Claire Keane | Chen Yi-Chang | Vance Gerry | Brittney Lee | Jin Kim | Shiyoon Kim | Cory Loftis | Leo Matsuda


v - e - d
Mickey Mouse short logo
1920s
Plane Crazy | The Gallopin' Gaucho | Steamboat Willie | The Barn Dance | The Opry House | When the Cat's Away | The Barnyard Battle | The Plowboy | The Karnival Kid | Mickey's Follies | Mickey's Choo-Choo | The Jazz Fool | Jungle Rhythm | Haunted House | Wild Waves
1930s
Fiddling Around | The Barnyard Concert | The Cactus Kid | The Fire Fighters | The Shindig | The Chain Gang | The Gorilla Mystery | The Picnic | Pioneer Days | The Birthday Party | Traffic Troubles | The Castaway | The Moose Hunt | The Delivery Boy | Mickey Steps Out | Blue Rhythm | Fishin' Around | The Barnyard Broadcast | The Beach Party | Mickey Cuts Up | Mickey's Orphans | The Duck Hunt | The Grocery Boy | The Mad Dog | Barnyard Olympics | Mickey's Revue | Musical Farmer | Mickey in Arabia | Mickey's Nightmare | Trader Mickey | The Whoopee Party | Touchdown Mickey | The Wayward Canary | The Klondike Kid | Mickey's Good Deed | Building a Building | The Mad Doctor | Mickey's Pal Pluto | Mickey's Mellerdrammer | Ye Olden Days | The Mail Pilot | Mickey's Mechanical Man | Mickey's Gala Premier | Puppy Love | The Steeple Chase | The Pet Store | Giantland | Shanghaied | Playful Pluto | Gulliver Mickey | Mickey's Steamroller | Orphan's Benefit | Mickey Plays Papa | The Dognapper | Two-Gun Mickey | Mickey's Man Friday | The Band Concert | Mickey's Service Station | Mickey's Kangaroo | Mickey's Garden | Mickey's Fire Brigade | Pluto's Judgement Day | On Ice | Mickey's Polo Team | Orphans' Picnic | Mickey's Grand Opera | Thru the Mirror | Mickey's Rival | Moving Day | Alpine Climbers | Mickey's Circus | Mickey's Elephant | The Worm Turns | Magician Mickey | Moose Hunters | Mickey's Amateurs | Hawaiian Holiday | Clock Cleaners | Lonesome Ghosts | Boat Builders | Mickey's Trailer | The Whalers | Mickey's Parrot | Brave Little Tailor | Society Dog Show | Mickey's Surprise Party | The Pointer
1940s
Tugboat Mickey | Pluto's Dream House | Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip | The Little Whirlwind | A Gentleman's Gentleman | Canine Caddy | The Nifty Nineties | Orphan's Benefit | Lend a Paw | Mickey's Birthday Party | Symphony Hour | Pluto and the Armadillo | Squatter's Rights | Mickey's Delayed Date | Mickey Down Under | Mickey and the Seal
1950s
Plutopia | R'Coon Dawg | Pluto's Party | Pluto's Christmas Tree | The Simple Things
1980s-Present
Mickey's Christmas Carol | The Prince and the Pauper | Runaway Brain | Get a Horse!
See Also
Mickey Mouse (TV series)


Previous Mickey Mouse short: Next Mickey Mouse short:
The Gallopin' Gaucho The Barn Dance

Start a Discussion Discussions about Steamboat Willie

  • Steamboat Willie Be Gone Forever in 2023?

    8 messages
    • Reimeille wrote:More accurately, being in the public domain means that it would be able to be used by anyone (upload parodies without getting...
    • Periwinkle123 wrote:Reimeille wrote:More accurately, being in the public domain means that it would be able to be used by anyone (upload parod...
  • Google decorating for the 85th anniversary

    • Google should decorate for the 85th anniversary of Steamboat Willie like making a digital video of the short with him sailing by the word "Google"

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki