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 FIRST AMERICAN-BORN ACTOR? WHO KNOWS?–March 13, 1790
- Today in Theatre History: WILLIAM WELLS BROWN’S “ESCAPE” LEAPS TO FAME–January 30, 1858
- Today in Theatre History: SHERIDAN’S FIRST PLAY, THE RIVALS, GETS A DO-OVER–January 28, 1775
- Today in Theatre History: OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD WITH DOROTHY AND IMOGENE THE COW–January 21, 1903
- Today in Theatre History: GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, “A THIRD RATE IBSEN”–January 9, 1905
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