Brain Food #519

Dreams and actions

Thoughts of the day

Something a little more unusual today, but something worth our while nonetheless.

Steamboat Willie premiered on this day, more than ninety years ago. It was the first animated cartoon by Walt Disney that had synchronized sound and a post-produced soundtrack, and it was also the instance that propelled a certain fictitious mouse into stardom (though I personally empathise more with the duck).

Like with most success stories, what is less known is that Walt Disney had been struggling for eight years before Steamboat Willie was released. The world of animation had always been highly competitive, but Disney persevered, and when he believed he had invented something special in Mickey, he refused to let him go. In the relentless race to release an animated cartoon with sound, Disney knew he had to be the first. He wrote to his chief animator, Ub Iwerks: “If you ever worked like HELL before in your life, do it now. DON’T FAIL.”

Of course, this is slightly different from his more famous quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” The sentiment, though is the same. It is good to dream; it is better to act on one’s dreams.

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