Witness the birth of an American icon. This historic compilation chronicles Mickey Mouse's early career, from his landmark debut in 1928's "Steamboat Willie" to the last of his black-and-white shorts, "Mickey's Service Sta... more »tion," in 1935. Gain insights into Mickey's beginnings in new interviews with legendary Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. See the earliest visuals on record showing the creative birth of animation's most historically significant cartoon as well as the only black-and-white cartoon pencil footage known to exist. All of this and more is revealed in this homage to the mouse who captured the imagination of the world. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.« less
"Despite this being a seminal moment in DVD history having the black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons available in the best possible digital format, this Disney Treasures collection is not a complete set. As mentioned, this set will contain 34 black and white MM shorts, but they are only selections out of about 75 made between 1928-1935. Last year's "Silly Symphonies" collection was put together in a similar way with a little more than half of the 73 or so made. Rumors are that next year's DT series will include a "Mickey Mouse in Living Color Vol. 2", which means that host/compiler Leonard Maltin possibly intends to include second volumes of past and future collections in this series that don't contain everything in one set due to large amounts originally produced. When these MM black and white shorts were available on laserdisc years ago, they were also released in two volumes.
Here is a complete list of the B&W selections on this collection (year-by-year) straight from the Disney press release:
1928--"Steamboat Willie", "The Gallopin' Gaucho", "Plane Crazy" (actually the first official Mickey Mouse short--originally silent with sound added later and re-released following the success of "SW").
1929--"The Karnival Kid", "Mickey's Follies"
1930--"The Fire Fighters", "The Chain Gang", "The Gorilla Mystery", "The Pioneer Days"
1932--"The Duck Hunt", "Mickey's Revue", "Mickey's Nightmare", "The Whoopee Party", "Touchdown Mickey", "The Klondike Kid"
1933--"Building a Building", "The Mad Doctor", "Ye Olden Days", "The Mail Pilot", "Mickey's Gala Premiere", "Puppy Love", "The Pet Store", "Giantland"
1934--"Camping Out", "Gulliver Mickey", "Orphan's Benefit", "The Dognapper", "Two-Gun Mickey"
1935--"Mickey's Service Station" (Curiously, "Mickey's Kangaroo" is not included here. This was really the last B&W Mickey cartoon done shortly after he premiered in color in "The Band Concert").
The press release has stated that, in addition to all the features mentioned above, there will also be rare footage of the only MM B&W pencil test known to exist. This pencil test was done for "The Mail Pilot." Also, new interviews were apparently done with the legendary animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston for the documentary. Much-needed audio commentary (presumably by Leonard Maltin) has also been added to the poster gallery on disc 2 that was absent from last year's "Mickey Mouse in Living Color."
For those not acquainted with last year's "Mickey Mouse in Living Color": that collection collects Mickey's first three years in color between 1935-1938. Next year's rumored Vol. 2 will probably complete the color Mickey, going up to his last short under Walt Disney--"The Simple Things" (1953).
More rumors for next year's DT series: "Wartime Cartoons" (originally intended for this year) and "The Chronological Donald" (obviously the first phase of the many Donald Duck cartoons produced through the 1930's-1960's)."
Hidden bonus - If you like finding them, read no further.
bobtec | Redlands, CA | 12/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to elaborate on the 2 disc set. As far as I'm concerned, it's a five star set that apoligizes for not being PC. On disc one, there is a hidden bonus. STOP HERE IF YOU WANT TO FIND IT YOURSELF. The hidden bonus is Malton's explanation of the 1920's - 1930's Mickey Mouse club, the (extremely rare) "Minnie's YooHoo" cartoon that usually began the Mickey Mouse club meetings, And a news reel on a 2 day festival. The 2 ways that you can obtain the hidden bonus: 1. First go to the bonus material menu. Then right arrow down till you highlight "Register your dvd". Then press the up arrow. At this point, Mickey's cowboy hat should have turned blue. Press play, and it will start. (Malton intro is chapter 1, Minnie's YooHoo is chapter 2, 2 day festival is chapter 3). 2. After going to the bonus menu, press 6 on your remote. Incidently, to bypass the nonPC apology from Malton that occurs several times, press the forward to next chapter arrow on your remote (ie: those cartoons that contain the Malton speech are broken up into 2 chapters - the speech (ch. 1), and the cartoon (ch. 2)). Enjoy.
Addendum: Incidentally,had Malton not put the PC clause in the films (this and many other Disney cartoons), they would have never been released. Disney was concerned about releasing it, and some soft hearted (and soft headed) liberals would surely try to sue the pants off them. This way, there is a warning, and the animations don't have to go through a lot of unnecessary (and unwelcomed) edits. Malton should be thanked, not criticized."
Surprises From the Revisionist Disney Empire
Frank M. Young III | Seattle, WA USA | 12/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was leery of this set, but bought it without hesitation. My greatest concern was that the highly revisionist modern-day Disney would butcher these early, rude 'n' crude Mickey Mouse cartoons, which are rife with animal abuse, drinking, smoking and racial/cultural stereotypes. These cartoons are so much better and livelier than the stale, dull "Silly Symphonies," which are important historically but bland as tapioca. Maltin provides on-screen mea culpas for the blackface gags and outhouse humor, but defends every American's right to see these pieces of our cultural history, and to view them with hindsight and intelligence. That said, these 34 cartoons are corkers. It will surprise some to see how zany and surrealistic these early Mickeys are. They are almost as daffy as the pre-Code Betty Boop cartoons of the Fleischer brothers. My favorite is the anarchic "The Karnival Kid," a 1928 cartoon that made me laugh non-stop. Transfers are decent, considering the age and condition of these films. Some obviously suffered vault neglect, and given the volatility of nitrate film stock, I suppose we're lucky to have them at all. There is little to no tampering that I could see, tho' the 1930-32 cartoons have something weird going on with the title cards. You'll see what I mean when you view them. I wonder why they re-did the cartoon titles, and why they're so jerky and wobbly. The extras are quite thoughtful, and more substantial than on the "Silly Symphonies" set. This is essential viewing for anyone who loves the rough and tumble days of pioneer animation."
Not PC? Who cares?
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 09/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pretty good stuff for classic animation fans. These cartoons are relatively plotless, but full of funny gags expounded on various situtations.
In particular, I enjoyed BLUE RHYTHM which has Mickey and crew rocking out (or perhaps "Jazzing out" is more time-appropriate) to the "St. Louis Blues." It's clear that Uncle Walt was a big jazz fan. The first three MM cartoons STEAMBOAT WILLIE, PLANE CRAZY (I like where Mickey tries to kiss Minnie and she resists on the plane-that sly dog!), and GALLOPING GAUCHO are real knee slappers, as are MICKEY'S REVUE, THE KARNIVAL KID, and THE CHAIN GANG.
Yeah, these toons have their moments of political incorrectness. BIG DEAL! The generation of SOUTH PARK, THE SIMPSONS, and LIQUID SWIM, (not even people familiar with TOM & JERRY or the LOONEY TUNES, in fact) et. al. will not be shocked, warped, or traumatized by anything here. Some animal cruelty (by a mouse, at that, but as in LOONEY TUNES it's too offbeat to take seriously as opposed to live-action) abound in Steamboat Willie, and gags involving outhouses, bodily functions, Minnnie's panties, cow udders, drunkenness, et cetera abound elsewhere, but who hasn't seen this kind of thing before? What child who has ever gone out to play isn't aware of such things?
To the crybaby sissy critics who feel that these cartoons are oh-so traumatic for the kiddies and (gasp) so terribly disgusting-go watch Barney and the New Zoo Revue with your raggedy ann dolls! Everyone else, get some cold drinks, put this in the DVD and have a REAL larf!"
Garrett Williams | Joplin, Missouri United States | 04/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All of these cartoons, I'm seeing for the first time. I'm 21 years old and have no cable, just to give you an idea of my experience with Mickey Mouse. Before I bought this, I had only seen bits and pieces of Steamboat Willie and Plane crazy. I've very proud of owning this DVD set. It even comes in a nice metal container!
The cartoons are very funny. Lots of slapstick, singing objects, and Mickey smoking cigars in front of a beer. In that age of animation, characters were allowed to drink liquor(Tom & Jerry have gotten drunk quite a few times!) and smoke cigars(ohhhh, I've seen lots of that in old cartoons). This is very fun to watch. There's also tons of information, like the cultural reference of a character yelling "MAMMY!" when they get soot on their face. There was an entertainer back then that put on black makeup and sang a song called "MAMMY!". The term can be offensive to African-Americans today.
I love this DVD set. Some of the visual gags remind me of Tex Avery cartoons. I never knew Walt Disney and his talented crew were THIS good! Definitly something to watch many times. Who CARES if it's black and white, has scratches and is old? It's good stuff."