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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Before Disney's Planes, things were crazy

Many of the things we take for granted today are actually less than a century old. For the majority of people alive today, jets have always been around, making the world smaller, and Disney has always been around, trying to take over that world.

However, it was 86 years ago today (May 15th, 1928) that Mickey Mouse, a character known throughout the world, got a companion: Minnie Mouse. And what did he do to try to impress her? The same thing all pilots do—take her for a flight, of course!

Obviously, aircraft engines have evolved a little bit from the days of wind-up animals inside a box, but that is one of the things that makes this video interesting from a historical perspective: it was made only 25 years after the Wright Brothers made their first flight! Another bit of neat history comes early on when Mickey idolizes a picture of Charles Lindbergh. Although it is hard to find someone more famous than Mickey now, "Lucky Lindy" was as world-famous back when this was made as Mickey Mouse is today.

Just how much more famous than Mickey was Lindy? Infinitely more, because Mickey didn't exist before this cartoon! This was his first time on film, and his test screening went so underwhelmingly that it didn't even get picked up for distribution. Mickey is officially said to have been created in "Steamboat Willie", but that actually came out after "Plane Crazy". However, it was "Steamboat Willie" that launched Mickey to fame, leading to the re-release of his original film that almost no one had heard of.

From black & white cartoons of Mickey Mouse, Disney has advanced all the way to computer-generated, high-quality animation with Planes. It's a fun story about Dusty Crophopper and his ambitions to leave the routine world of cropdusting and make his way in the world as a racing champion. I enjoyed it, and I'm not a fan of animation or Disney. Pick up a copy here and see for yourself:

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