Walt Disney physical performance as Mickey Mouse (lost animation reference footage; late 1930s)


Walt Disney physical performance as Mickey Mouse (animation reference footage)
Mickey Mouse in The Pointer from the scene in question and Walt Disney, who wore his felt hat for this performance.
Mickey Mouse in The Pointer from the scene in question and Walt Disney, who wore his felt hat for this performance.
Status Lost

There doesn't seem to be any need to introduce animator/businessman/producer Walt Disney. The man behind the most famous entertainment company ever, his most known creation is the cartoon character Mickey Mouse, that he also personally voiced in his early appearances.

What is lesser known, though, is that Walt Disney was once filmed physically performing as Mickey Mouse to be used as reference footage by his studio's animators.

Background

The 1939 Mickey Mouse animated short The Pointer is the cartoon for which Walt Disney physically performed as animation reference.

The Pointer is also notable for having the first "modern" design of Mickey with his eyes in defined white circles and a peach-toned face (which would be popularized in the 1940 animated feature Fantasia).

Walt Disney was very enthusiastic when describing a cartoon he would ask his team to work on, often moving and acting the characters' personalities and mannerisms. When he described The Pointer, he would physically emulate how Mickey would act when facing a bear. The animation team found him "so funny acting out [his] confusion that [they] asked if [they] could shoot a film of him as he recorded the lines."

The footage

Disney "reluctantly" agreed, but only if the camera was far away and without the animators looking like they were staring at him, as he was understandingly embarrassed.

The camera was so far away that Disney was reduced to a tiny figure on film, but his performance, dressed in baggy clothes and his felt hat, was strong enough to use as good reference for the cartoon's scene. Notably, when Disney was on stage, he instinctively indicated with his hand that Mickey Mouse was the size of a small child.

Disney refused to ever repeat the experience, and when the animators tried to look for the footage film years later, it was gone, without explanation. To this day, it is still lost.

References

  • Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life - 1981

Comments


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Anonymous user #1

16 days ago
Score 2++
Disney had stage fright. Who knew?
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Happy Brian

16 days ago
Score 3++
Everyone, even the most famous people, has stage fright at some point of their life.
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TeridaxXD001

9 days ago
Score 0++
Funny how he eventually hosted his own TV show every week for 12 years...
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Reynard

9 days ago
Score 1++
Well, he was anxious because he knew he was really going to look silly moving exaggeratedly like Mickey Mouse. It's different from hosting a show while sitting at a desk looking normal and serious.
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Terry the Cat

16 days ago
Score 1++
Yeah, that's true. Some worse than others.
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Anonymous user #2

15 days ago
Score 4++
If this ever got found it would probably become a meme
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Anonymous user #3

10 days ago
Score 0++
Oh-
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Yoda

6 days ago
Score 1++
Walt avoided being a meme.
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Babydaisylover

1 days 1 hours 33 minutes ago
Score 0++
Why exactly is this in the category of Lost Recordings of Real Incidents? Shouldn't this go, basically anywhere else?
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Reynard

1 days 41 minutes ago
Score 0++
Where?
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Anonymous user #4

20 hours 12 minutes ago
Score 0++
@Reynard Would it be better to put it in miscellaneous lost media?
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