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Mickey black-and-white classics shine bright on ‘Disney Treasures’ DVD

Say the name Mickey Mouse to anyone in the world, and chances are he or she might be able to draw a rough sketch of three circles, closely identifying the shape of Mickey’s head. It is this worldwide appeal that has inspired four theme parks on three continents and more than 30 original animated features that have been showered with the highest honors in every award category imaginable.

But, what started it all? Walt Disney was famous for saying, “I hope we never lose sight of one thing — that it all started with a mouse.” And in honor of the mouse that started it all, the Walt Disney Company has released its seventh Walt Disney Treasures collection, featuring eight years of Mickey Mouse shorts in black and white on two DVDs.

For the Disney buff, these DVDs, packed with more than four hours of material, are a must-have. Not only does the collection have Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey cartoon, and the first to utilize synchronized sound, but it also features introductions by film historian and critic Leonard Maltin, as well as bonus material that puts other DVDs to shame.

The best of the extras is an interview with two of Disney’s original animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, two men who not only animated Mickey through the 1930s, but also worked side by side with Disney himself.

Other bonus material includes story sketch sequences that give viewers an insight into the animation process in the early days and a virtual poster gallery that allows viewers to click through the different posters of the 1920s and 1930s that announced Mickey’s presence as a matinee idol.

But the real treasures on these DVDs are the cartoons. With more than thirty black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons, the discs serve as a veritable evolution of not only Mickey, but the animation process, as well. The cartoons are evidence of not only Walt Disney’s genius, but help to remind adults and introduce children to the appeal and charm of Mickey Mouse.

Mickey may represent a corporation with worldwide ties, but before he was synonymous with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, he was a charming character who made a name for himself by doing just about anything and keeping a positive attitude.

Now, with the release of Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White, children, parents, grandparents, Disney fans, animation buffs and Mickey groupies can have a piece of Disney history, and be reminded that it did indeed, “all start with a mouse.”

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