Watching Classic Mickey Mouse is a Great Use of an Afternoon!
It’s easy to forget that Disney has been making cartoons for ninety years. They are such a staple of childhood and so iconic that you forget that there was a time before Disney existed. And of course, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when you mention Disney is Mickey Mouse. The iconic mouse has held his title as the center of the Disney universe since 1928. Walt adored his happy little mascot and loved to use him for the studio’s short cartoons. If you haven’t seen most of these old cartoons (or even if you have), we would like you to pull up a chair for some classic cartoon shenanigans. Here are five favorites that we think every Disney fan needs to watch.
The good news: Disney is meticulous and never loses anything (unless they want to), so going on a nostalgic binge is easier than ever (we consider it nostalgia if you weren’t born yet). This is the pinnacle Mickey and well worth sitting down in a gently dancing chair.
5. Steamboat Willie
This is it, folks. This right here, in all of its black and white glory, is the moment Mickey became an icon. Sometimes great things come in little packages, and sometimes the humblest creature can become a titan under the right circumstances. Only one Disney short came before this one, Plane Crazy. While that bit of fun was good, Mickey took a very… harassing tone with Minnie, so it doesn’t make our list. Most hail Steamboat Willie as the true beginning of Disney, and we’re inclined to agree. It has a lot of comedy gold throughout and a fun plot. As usual, Pete stands as the main antagonist and Mickey is forced to deal with a truly terrible boss.
4. Thru the Mirror
Disney (the person, not the studio — well, the studio, too) loved Alice in Wonderland, and how the book perfectly captures the strange and amazing world of imagination. Therefore, it does not surprise us that he experimented with the world through the mirror more than once. There are a lot of good moments in this short cartoon between the telephone gags, the playing card shuffle march, and the barking footstool. It might not be as iconic as Steamboat Willie, but it has a few more laughs and a lighter tone over all.
3. Building a Building
This is one one of the best early cartoons in our opinion. Mickey works on a construction site under Pete and is a rather absentminded hand. Minnie sells boxed lunches to the workers on the site. It’s clear Mickey and Minnie have feelings for each other, so when Pete snatches her, Mickey goes to save her. Disney crafted so many great moments in this cartoon, and the music is perfectly matched to the situation. If you ever wondered how much can go wrong at a construction site, this short is a great play into that. This version we have for you is the re-release, as the original version was in black and white.
2. Clock Cleaners
One of the early trio pieces. Most of us think of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as a matched set (squad goals), but they weren’t always. For a long while, Mickey ran solo. In this short, however, the three of them are tasked with cleaning a giant clock. As you can imagine, this does not go as intended. Goofy gets bested by the bell, Donald gets bested by a spring, and Mickey just gets the worst of everything. It’s always interesting when your adversary is an inanimate object, and even more so when most of what’s going on isn’t spiteful or intentional. The clock is just a clock, and the humor is in the struggles that unfold, even with that being the case. Disney has always excelled at unexpected comedy, and this short is no different.
1. The Band Concert
Personally, we think that this is the best of Mickey Mouse. A band concert in the park seems like a pretty safe setting, and with Mickey conducting, the stage is set for a great afternoon. Then Donald shows up and tries to join in on the flute. He’s a competent player but he wasn’t invited, so of course this quickly turns into a game of cat and mouse between Donald and the band. It’s amazing how many flutes Donald carries at any one moment (and where does he keep them?). Also, there is something amazing about the fact that just playing The Storm will call forth a storm, and that the band is unwilling to relent — even when picked up by a tornado.
Special Mention: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
So this isn’t technically a short (it’s part of a compilation), but if it were to stand on its own, it would be topping the list. We also just can’t miss a chance to talk Fantasia. This movie was a masterpiece, and Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was unbelievable. The drama invoked by the rising water and the endless march of brooms really leaves you feeling hopeless. We all bite off more than we can chew sometimes, and for Mickey, that bite was pretty soggy.