2018 will be the year of Mickey.

Mickey Mouse’s first film came out in 1928, launching an empire over the following 90 years. But do you really know where he started?

The caramel-voiced historian behind One Hundred Years of Cinema has some answers for you in this video essay. Understanding Mickey is to understand Walt Disney, and to do that you have to have a decent picture of both the economy of the early 1900s in America and the state of animation.

A small Missouri company animating tiny comic animated shorts that focused on animals (like mice) was the birthplace of what would become Mickey Mouse. The ambition that followed would lead to either total failure or a complete takeover through a cartoon craze. The rest is animation history.

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