Is it true? Is there a segment of the population that believes Walt Disney invented animation? This programs examines how the other Hollywood animation studios reacted to the Disney juggernaut in the 1930’s and 1940’s. I focus on three tactics by his competition: Rip him off, beat him to the punch, or make vicious fun of him. See notes at bottom.
A Toytown Tale (1931)
Mickey Mouse spawned many imitators. This one was the only one that resulted in a Disney lawsuit against it.
One More Time (1931)
Warners best attempt at their own Mickey Mouse, a character called Foxy.
Snow White (1933)
Max Fleischer’s version done several years before Disney’s. This featured Betty Boop and the voice of Cab Calloway.
Johnny Smith and Poker-Huntas (1938)
Long before Disney’s Pocahontas, Tex Avery did this version.
Porky In Wackyland (1938)
Disney had a flop in 1951 with Alice In Wonderland. This earlier version by Bob Clampett is much better.
You Ought To Be In Pictures (1940)
Fritz Freleng combines live action and animation fifty years before Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit
A Corny Concerto (1943)
Warner Brother’s wonderful parody of Fantasia. Written by Frank Tashlin, directed by Bob Clampett.
Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
Tex Avery makes fun of Disney’s approach to fairy tales with an adult version.
In 1994 I became intrigued with various cartoons I owned that had strong connections with cartoons made by the Disney company, yet were made by other animators. These cartoons could be divided into three groups: Bald imitations of Mickey Mouse; non-Disney precursors to later Disney versions of the same story; and exuberantly vicious parodies. I thought there was a great program on this theme. I called it Compare To Disney (with the “TM” trademark symbol after Disney). This program was reviewed positively by the press, but attracted very small crowds. In 1996 I decided to try it again, but this time I called the show F@!k Mickey Mouse. It premiered under that title at the Cinema Village in New York in January of 1997, and attracted good crowds. I then took it to the West Coast that year and showed it in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. In 1998, I took it to Europe. During that tour I did one double feature of F@!k Mickey and Bad Bugs Bunny in Gothenburg Sweden which attracted 800 customers, the single largest crowd on the tour.