The Real-Life Drama Behind the Birth of Mickey Mouse (feat. Tony Hale) – Drunk History


– HELLO, TODAY WE’RE TALKING
ABOUT UB IWERKS, THE CREATOR OF MICKEY MOUSE. SO OUR STORY STARTS IN 1919
IN KANSAS CITY, USA. WALT DISNEY WAS A DRAFTSMAN.
UB IWERKS WAS AN ANIMATOR. UB GOES, HEY WALT,
WHAT IF WE WERE TO PUT A LIVE ACTION PERSON
INTO AN ANIMATED FRAME? YES, THAT’S IT. THEY CREATE SOMETHING
CALLED THE ALICE COMEDIES, BUT THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT.
AND WALT, THOUGH, IS AMBITIOUS. HE GOES OFF TO CALIFORNIA
AND HE GOES TO THE HEAD OF UNIVERSAL ANIMATION,
CHARLES MINTZ. AND HE WAS LIKE,
THIS IS AMAZING, I CAN USE THIS, BUT THE QUALITY
HAS TO BE AS GOOD. WALT’S LIKE, UB,
GET OUT HERE, ASAP. YO, THIS IS BETTER
THAN BEING IN KANSAS CITY, ‘CAUSE KANSAS CITY
IS LIKE YOU COULD LIKE GIVE ME
THE DEED TO THE CITY AND I STILL WOULDN’T
EVEN STAY THERE. AND HE DRIVES THE SEVEN DAYS
TO CALIFORNIA. HE TAKES THESE–OH NO,
LET ME BACK UP. AT THIS POINT, UB CAME UP
WITH OSWALD, THE LUCKY RABBIT. SO OSWALD IS GREAT
FOR UNIVERSAL. WALT GOES TO CHARLES MINTZ
AND HE SAYS, LISTEN, WE ARE [BLEEP] KILLING IT, TIME FOR YOU
TO PAY US SOME MORE MONEY. AND MINTZ, MINTZ LOOKS AT HIM
AND HE LAUGHS. [laughs]
I’M GONNA GIVE YOU LESS MONEY. AND MINTZ GOES, I HAVE SIGNED
ALL OF YOUR ANIMATORS, AND I OWN OSWALD,
HE’S MINE. WALT DISNEY VOWED
FROM THAT DAY, NOT ONLY WILL I EVER NOT OWN
ANY CHARACTER I CREATE, I WILL NEVER NOT OWN THEM.
THEY-THE [laughs] I THINK. HE SAID TO UB,
UB, YOU WITH ME? AND UB, YET AGAIN,
LEFT WITH WALT DISNEY, AND UB SAID TO HIM,
WHAT ARE WE DOING WALT? AND WALT’S LIKE,
WE NEED A CHARACTER, UB, WHAT DO YOU GOT? WHAT ABOUT A HORSE?
NOPE. WHAT ABOUT A DOG? NOPE. [sighs] WHAT ABOUT A CAT?
NO, MAN, WE GOT ENOUGH CATS. WE GOT FELIX THE CAT,
THERE’S A LOT OF CATS OUT THERE. WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?
WHAT ABOUT A MOUSE? WALT’S LIKE, YEAH,
LET’S DO THAT. BUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
WAS ALL UB IWERKS, OKAY? SO UB LOCKED HIMSELF
IN THE STUDIO, AND HE CHURNS OUT 600 TO
700 FRAMES A DAY, UNHEARD OF. HE DID TWO MONTHS
OF ANIMATION IN TWO WEEKS, AND HE CREATED A CHARACTER,
MICKEY MOUSE. HE SAT DOWN AND DREW
THAT CARTOON PLAIN CRAZY, WALT LOVES IT,
BUT HE GOES YOU KNOW WHAT? WE NEED SOMETHING BIGGER,
AND UB WAS LIKE, BUT WHAT IF WE COULD
SYNC SOUND TO IT? WHAT IF WE DID OUR NEXT CARTOON
WHERE WE COULD SEE THE ACTION HAPPENING IN THE TIME
WITH THE MUSIC, AND WALT WAS LIKE YEAH,
LET’S DO SYNC SOUND. SO STEAMBAY–SO STEAM MILL–
SO STEAMBOAT WILLIE COMES OUT
AND IT BLOWS AUDIENCES AWAY. THEY WENT, I CAN SEE
THAT MOUSE WHISTLING. I CAN HEAR THE MOUSE WHISTLING,
OH MY GOD, THIS MOUSE IS WHISTLING ALONG
WITH WHAT HIS MOUTH IS DOING. THERE’S [bleep] SYNC SOUND.
THERE WERE STANDING OVATIONS. MICKEY MOUSE BECAME
AN ICON OVERNIGHT. HE WAS REFERENCED
IN MOVIES AND SONGS, AND IT CREATES DISNEY. LIKE THIS EM–EMBELLISHES
THEIR MICE TO EVERYBODY. THEY KNOW THAT THIS IS LIKE
THE GAME HAS CHANGED. WITH THE ADDED PRESSURES
OF MICKEY DOING REALLY WELL, DISNEY, HE WANTED TO OVERSEE
EVERY BIT OF PRODUCTION. HEY, YOU GOT TO MEET
THIS TIMING SHEET AND WE GOT TO BE HERE BY THEN,
AND PRODUCTIVITY AND [groans]. NOW AT A PARTY IN HOLLYWOOD, A LITTLE KID
CAME UP TO WALT DISNEY, HE’S LIKE, HEY, MR. WALT DISNEY,
I LOVE MICKEY MOUSE. WOULD YOU DRAW ME
A PICTURE OF HIM? WALT’S LIKE, SURE, KID, I’LL DRAW YOU A PICTURE
OF MICKEY MOUSE, AND HE HANDED THE PAPER
TO UB IWERKS, AND UB GOES, WHOA,
ARE YOU [bleep] KIDDING ME? THIS IS–WHAT?
NO, I’M OUT OF HERE. – OH, WALT DISNEY? – AND UB STARTS
IWERKS ANIMATION. CRAZY STUFF HAPPENED
IN HIS CARTOONS. YOU KNOW, GIRLS DRESSES
WOULD BLOW OFF AND, YOU KNOW,
ANIMALS WOULD LOSE LIMBS. LIKE, IT WAS ANARCHY. BUT THE HAYS COMMISSION
COMES IN. THOSE ARE THE GUYS WHO WERE
STARTING TO PUT LIMITATIONS ON WHAT YOU COULD
AND COULDN’T SHOW, AND THEY WERE LIKE THIS
IS NOT GONNA FLY ANYMORE, SO THAT WAS THE END
OF IWERKS ANIMATION. A FRIEND OF UB’S IS WORKING
AT DISNEY STUDIOS STILL. HE’S LIKE, UB’S OUT OF WORK.
YOU COULD USE HIM. WALT AGREES
TO HAVE UB FOR LUNCH. HE SAYS UB, I WANT YOU BACK.
PLEASE COME WORK FOR ME. AND UB LOOKS AT HIM
AND HE SAYS, WALT, I WANT TO COME BACK
AND WORK FOR YOU, BUT I WILL NEVER WORK
FOR YOU IN ANIMATION. I WANT TO WORK FOR YOU
IN PHOTOGRAPHIC EFFECTS. AND WALT IS LIKE, YEAH, YOU’RE THE GUY FOR THAT,
COME AND DO THAT FOR ME. HE WAS A ROCK STAR FOR WALT.
HE–HE–HE BUILT STUFF SO THEY COULD DO
MARY POPPINS, THE PENGUIN DANCE. HE WINS A TECHNICAL OSCAR
FOR THAT. UB IWERKS HAD HIS HAND IN EVERY
SINGLE RIDE AT DISNEYLAND, CREATING THE SPECIAL EFFECTS.
AND UB DIED A DISNEY LEGEND. SO THIS IS A REAL DISNEY ENDING.
OR, AS I LIKE TO THINK, AS I LIKE TO THINK,
THIS IS AN IWERKS ENDING, ‘CAUSE HE WAS THE MAN.
[clinks glass] TO UB. – TO UB.
– WHAT THE [bleep] KIND OF NAME’S UB?

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