19 Disney Facts That Are Equal Parts Delightfully Geeky And 100% Fascinating
1. Mickey and Minnie Mouse share the exact same birthday — Nov. 18, 1928 — as they both appeared in Steamboat Willie together:
Courtesy Everett Collection, / Everett Collection / Everett Collection
3. The first sound cartoon in color is 1930’s Fiddlesticks — though it’s not fully color as it used a two-color processing system. The cartoon — which was about the character of Flip the Frog — was created by Ub Iwerks, an early Disney animator who worked with Walt for 10 years. He left the studio in 1930 over various creative differences. Fiddlesticks also features a mouse that looks a lot like Mortimer Mouse, and it’s speculated that it’s because it’s actually an early design of Mickey Mouse, whom Iwerks helped refine the design of.
4. The term “Disney Vault” is actually a lot older than you might think. It was used to refer to movies that were taken out of “the vault” and re-released into theaters after their original run (this was way before home videos existed).
5. The first movie Disney re-released from the vault was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1944, during WWII. The studio was sort of forced to as they were cash-strapped at the time and were producing propaganda films for the government that weren’t really made for profit.
6. The success of the Snow White re-release started the tradition of Disney re-releasing its films into theaters every 7–10 years. This would end in the ’90s after Disney decided to release the wildly successful The Little Mermaid onto VHS. Being the first Disney movie to be released on home video following its theatrical run was considered a huge gamble for the company.
7. The Little Mermaid was released onto home video six months after its release and, of course, went on to become a huge seller. Many at Disney did not want it to be released onto home video as it would cut into the established theatrical re-release model. The success of it led Disney in the 1990s to shift to the home video model, not only releasing its new movies on home video, but also its “vault” movies.
8. Though Disney very much resisted putting its animated movies onto VHS, in 1985, Pinocchio became the first classic Disney animated movie to get released onto home video, and they charged a premium for it, pricing it at $79.95 (which would be around $198 in today’s money).
9. The Disney Vault also stopped being a marketing tool after Disney launched Disney+ and essentially made its entire library available for streaming.
10. In 1930, a Mickey Mouse writing tablet became the first Disney character merchandise. Walt Disney agreed to license the character to a company in New York (for $300) because he needed the money at the time.
Mickey Mouse Writing TabletFirst Licensed Piece of Disney Character Merchandise1930#DisneyArchives50 pic.twitter.com/Ijy2w3eOGB
— Disney D23 (@DisneyD23) June 11, 2020D23.com / Via Twitter: @DisneyD23The writing tablet license made the studio realize they could increase their revenue through merchandise.
11. But it wasn’t the first Walt Disney created character to be licensed out — that was actually Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who had a stencil set released in 1928, though Disney at the time did not own the rights to the character as they were produced for Universal.
Oswald Stencil SetManufactured by Universal Toy & Novelty1928#DisneyArchives50 pic.twitter.com/3Db7Y36WMA
— Disney D23 (@DisneyD23) June 11, 2020Twitter: @DisneyD23