Steamboat Willie
Season N/A, Episode N/A
[[File:Steamboat Willie title card|250px]]
Air date November 18 1928
Written by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising
Directed by Walt Disney
Episode guide
The Galloping Gaucho
The Barn Dance

Steamboat Willie is a 1928 animated cartoon with the twenty-nineth appearance of Pete the third appearances of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and the second appearance of Clarabelle Cow.


Mickey is serving about Steamboat Willie under Captain Peg-Leg Pete (a longtime Disney villian). He is first seen piloting the steamboat while whistling suggesting he himself is the captain (This scene is re-used for the opening logo of Walt Disney Animation Studios). Pete then arrives to take the helm and throws him off the bridge biting into tobacco and spitting it out of his mouth. His spit hits the captain's bell. Pete then laughs and attempts to spit it out again but does it unsuccessfully. They soon have to stop at Podunk Landing for cargo. One of the animals waiting to be picked up there is the as-of-then unnamed and non-antropomorphic Clarabelle Cow who is thin that Mickey had to feed her a ton of hay in order to lift her into the ship due to problems in tightening a belt around her. Almost as soon as they set off again Minnie arrives too late on board. Mickey manages to pick her up from the river shore. Minnie accidentally drops her sheet music for the popular folk song Turkey in a Straw which is eaten by a goat. Mickey and Minnie use its tail to turn it into a phonograph which plays the tune. Mickey uses various other animals as musical instruments disturbing Captain Pete who puts him back to work. Mickey is reduced to peeling potatoes for the rest of the trip. A parrot attempts to make fun of him but Mickey strikes him with a potato knocking him into the river. The short ends with Mickey laughing at the bird struggling in the water.


A full 30 version of scenes what might be considered crutely to animals have been removed from several versions of Steamboat Willie including Mickey pulling a cat's tail and then swinging the cat by the tail above his head picking up a nursing sow and playing her babies like an accordion keyboard and using a duck as bagpipes. On or before October 2008 however Disney seems to have moved toward honoring historical accuracy by showing the original in its entirely on the Cartoon channel offered in the rooms of Disney World resort hotels.

In June 1927 producer Pat Powers made an unsuccessful takeover bid for Lee DeForest's Phonofilm Corporation. In the aftermath Powers hide a former DeForest techinician William Garrity to produced a clone version of the Phonofilm system which Powers dubbed Powers Cinephone. By then DeForest was in too weak a finicial position to mount a legal challenge against Powers for patent infrigement. Powers convinced Disney to use Cinephone for a few cartoons such as Steamboat Willie The Galloping Gaucho and Plane Crazy (all 1928) before Powers and Disney had a falling-out over money-and over Powers hiring away Disney animator Ub Iwerks-in 1930.