What do Disney and aviation have in common? Well, Disney creates magic, and flying is a magical experience for many, especially aviation enthusiasts.
The world created by Walt Disney can be attributed to his imagination and creativity, but not many know that the magic was made possible on board a 1963 Gulfstream aircraft.
How did it all begin? Well let’s start with the legendary, iconic character who symbolizes all things Disney: Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse was created on November 18, 1928, so today marks the 95th birthday of Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse’s first screen appearance was in the short (and silent) film ‘Plane Crazy’, released in May 1928. The more popular ‘Steamboat Willie’, produced with sound, is often thought to be the first Mickey Mouse film, but it only came out months after ‘Plane Crazy’.
‘Plane Crazy’ was inspired by Charles Lindbergh, the American aviator and military officer who successfully completed the world’s first nonstop solo transatlantic flight in May 1927.
In the six-minute short film, Mickey Mouse’s attempts to construct an aircraft end in disaster. He eventually uses a turkey’s tail to fly the aircraft, and takes his sweetheart, Minnie, on an out-of-control joyride in the skies.
Here is the clip, now remastered with sound:
Disney and his fascination with aviation
It’s not at all surprising that Mickey Mouse’s first film was about flying an aircraft. Mickey Mouse’s creator, Walt Disney, was known to be an aviation enthusiast.
Reflecting on Walt, a blog dedicated to the life of Walt Disney, reported that Disney had been fascinated with aviation since the age of 10.
In 1911, Disney and his brother Roy ran two miles to see Calbraith Perry Rodgers land the Vin Fiz Wright Flyer EX in Swope Park in Kansas City during its first transcontinental flight.
The blog noted that Ed Ovalle, Senior Archivist at Walt Disney Archives, said that…
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