November 20, 1928 [Steamboat Willie]

Another "Walt Disney Comic" (credited to the singularly named Ub Iwerks)--this one with sound, like a follow-the-bouncing-ball musical cartoon. But Willie is forbidden to pursue his musical inclinations--and they are harrowing, as he tugs and plucks at various livestock, from teats to necks, cat-tail-swinging, goose-squeezing, cow-hammering--most of them willing, or too surprised to protest.

Kiddo, that's the rubbery reality of cartoons, fried to the hat and gleefully bending shapes and sensibilities, unrestrained--tyranny and insurrection doled out in equal portions--and fiercely amoral. And we might tut-tut that these are meant for children--but the little rascals could care less, happy to be free for seven minutes at a time, going at it hammer and tongs--literally--just making giddy music while the river-bank streams past, the symphony's movements bouncing like jazz.


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