On this day in theatre history (May 15, 1928), an illustrator from Chicago decided to push the very limits of Neoclassical verisimilitude by showing an animated short to a selected test audience in Los Angeles. The six-minute cartoon depicts an anthropomorphic mouse attempting to fly his own homebuilt aircraft while simultaneously harassing his rodent girlfriend. It was the first animated film to feature Mickey Mouse. The short, entitled “Plane Crazy,” failed to pick up a distributor, however, in part because it was not a “talkie.” So Disney produced another Mickey Mouse short, this time with sound, called “Steamboat Willie,” released November 18, 1928. It was an instant hit and an empire was born. “Plane Crazy” was eventually released in 1929 as the fourth in a line of early Mickey Mouse adventures. Castlevetro would be so disappointed.
- Today in Theatre History: THE GREAT RICHMOND THEATRE FIRE–December 26, 1811
- Today in Theatre History: JEFFERSON’S RIP ON BROADWAY–December 24, 1860
- Today in Theatre History: BEFORE POOH, MILNE HIT THE DOVER ROAD–December 23, 1921
- Today in Theatre History: WHY ACTING WITH ANIMALS IS A BAD IDEA–December 22, 1907
- Today in Theatre History: THEATRE WINS THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION–October 17, 1777.
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