Contributed by TOONWRITER.
Everybody knows Mickey Mouse to be the icon of purity and wholesomeness. However, Mickey was (one of) the most evil characters of his time, circa 1927-1932 (As compared to Harman/Ising’s Bosko, Iwerk’s Flip the Frog, and Lantz’s (formally Disney’s) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit). Disney’s most well-known representative was abusive to animals, abusive to women, vulgar, and racist. Sighting his first cartoon, (Plane Crazy), as well as Floyd Goddferdson’s newspaper comic strip (Disney’s Mickey Mouse) Mickey, in an attempt to recreate Col. Lindbergh’s transcontinental flight, makes his own plane. For the motor to spin the propeller, he twists up a wiener dog. Attempting to take off, he taxis around, chasing animals. He chases three animals towards a tree: a goat, a chicken, and a pig. His plane causes the goat to run into the chicken, who in turn, runs into the pig, literally. All three animals run through each other, becoming a new hybrid of farm stock.
Fine, that is not too bad, you say. In Mickey’s next film, Gallopin’ Gaucho, Mickey lives in Mexico, and spends most of his time frequenting a bar where Minnie works. In this cartoon, he vulgarly spits, drinks alcohol (ale, in fact), slaps Minnie’s rear end.
In his third film (first film with sound), Steamboat Willie, we find Mickey trying his hand at working on a steamboat. In the original version (that Disney has been trying to repress from the public), once the music begins (a goat eats sheet music) Mickey starts playing animals as musical instruments. This goes beyond animal cruelty. Mickey swings a cat by its tail and throws it off the boat. He then finds a several baby pigs suckling on their mama. He picks up the mama pig and forcefully shakes off all but one of her babies. He then kicks the last baby off the mama pig and begins to squeeze her teats as if she were an accordion!
In The Little Orphanage (1931), Mickey and his pals put on a play for the children: “Uncle Tom’s Cabana.” If this is not racist enough, the characters try to repair a generator which explodes and puts them in blackface.
In Floyd Goddferdson’s newspaper comic strip (Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse), Goddferdson takes us on a several-month run of a newspaper-version of Plane Crazy. I already cited the dog/engine and farm animal incident, but Goddferdson shows us how Mickey copes in the jungle. After crash landing, we find Mickey cursing (represented by symbols), dealing with racistly-depicted natives with enormous lips, shrunken heads, and a dialogue consisting of “Oogle Moogle Noogle,” etc.
Finally, I cite the first Mickey Mouse Club. Not the show with Cubby and Annette, but the Saturday cartoons the theatres ran. Walt, himself, recorded the theme song, “Minnie’s Yoo-hoo.” In this song, the voice tells of a girl he has in the barn and uses animal sounds as sexual innuendoes. This song can be found on one of Disney’s CDs.