This extremely rare Mickey Mouse Original Production Layout Drawing from 1937 Lonesome Ghosts captures the ghosts and the ghost hunter!
About Early Mickey Mouse:
Created as a replacement for a prior Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey first appeared in the short Plane Crazy, debuting publicly in the short film Steamboat Willie (1928), one of the first sound cartoons. He went on to appear in over 130 films, including The Band Concert (1935), Brave Little Tailor (1938), and Fantasia (1940). Mickey appeared primarily in short films, but also occasionally in feature-length films. Ten of Mickey's cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of which, Lend a Paw, won the award in 1942. In 1978, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Beginning in 1930, Mickey has also been featured extensively as a comic strip character. The Mickey Mouse comic strip, drawn primarily by Floyd Gottfredson, ran for 45 years. Mickey has also appeared in comic books such as Disney Italy's Topolino, MM – Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine, and Wizards of Mickey, and in television series such as The Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1996) and others.
Mickey generally appears alongside his girlfriend Minnie Mouse, his pet dog Pluto, his friends Donald Duck and Goofy, and his nemesis Pete, among others. Though originally characterized as a cheeky lovable rogue, Mickey was rebranded over time as a nice guy, usually seen as an honest and bodacious hero.
In Mickey's early films he was often characterized not as a hero, but as an ineffective young suitor to Minnie Mouse. The Barn Dance (March 14, 1929) is the first time in which Mickey is turned down by Minnie in favor of Pete.
The Opry House (March 28, 1929) was the first time in which Mickey wore his white gloves. Mickey wears them in almost all of his subsequent appearances and many other characters followed suit. The three lines on the back of Mickey's gloves represent darts in the gloves' fabric extending from between the digits of the hand, typical of glove design of the era.
When the Cat's Away (April 18, 1929), essentially a remake of the Alice Comedy, "Alice Rattled by Rats", was an unusual appearance for Mickey. Although Mickey and Minnie still maintained their anthropomorphic characteristics, they were depicted as the size of regular mice and living with a community of many other mice as pests in a home. Mickey and Minnie would later appear the size of regular humans in their own setting. In appearances with real humans, Mickey has been shown to be about two to three feet high The next Mickey short was also unusual. The Barnyard Battle (April 25, 1929) was the only film to depict Mickey as a soldier and also the first to place him in combat. The Karnival Kid (1929) was the first time Mickey spoke. Before this he had only whistled, laughed, and grunted. His first words were "Hot dogs! Hot dogs!" said while trying to sell hot dogs at a carnival. Mickey's Follies (1929) introduced the song "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo" which would become the theme song for Mickey Mouse films for the next several years. The "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo" song sequence was also later reused with different background animation as its own special short shown only at the commencement of 1930s theater-based Mickey Mouse Clubs. Mickey's dog Pluto first appeared as Mickey's pet in The Moose Hunt (1931) after previously appearing as Minnie's dog "Rover" in The Picnic (1930).
The Cactus Kid (April 11, 1930) was the last film to be animated by Ub Iwerks at Disney. Shortly before the release of the film, Iwerks left to start his own studio, bankrolled by Disney's then-distributor Pat Powers. Powers and Disney had a falling out over money due Disney from the distribution deal. It was in response to losing the right to distribute Disney's cartoons that Powers made the deal with Iwerks, who had long harbored a desire to head his own studio. The departure is considered a turning point in Mickey's career, as well as that of Walt Disney. Walt lost the man who served as his closest colleague and confidant since 1919. Mickey lost the man responsible for his original design and for the direction or animation of several of the shorts released till this point. Advertising for the early Mickey Mouse cartoons credited them as "A Walt Disney Comic, drawn by Ub Iwerks". Later Disney Company reissues of the early cartoons tend to credit Walt Disney alone.
Disney and his remaining staff continued the production of the Mickey series, and he was able to eventually find a number of animators to replace Iwerks. As the Great Depression progressed and Felix the Cat faded from the movie screen, Mickey's popularity would rise, and by 1932 The Mickey Mouse Club would have one million members. At the 5th Academy Awards in 1932, Mickey received his first Academy Award nomination, received for Mickey's Orphans (1931). Walt Disney also received an honorary Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Despite being eclipsed by the Silly Symphony short the Three Little Pigs in 1933, Mickey still maintained great popularity among theater audiences too, until 1935, when polls showed that Popeye was more popular than Mickey. By 1934, Mickey merchandise had earned $600,000.00 a year. In 1935, Disney began to phase out the Mickey Mouse Clubs, due to administration problems.
About this time, story artists at Disney were finding it increasingly difficult to write material for Mickey. As he had developed into a role model for children, they were limited in the types of gags they could make. This led to Mickey taking more of a secondary role in some of his next films allowing for more emphasis on other characters. In Orphan's Benefit (August 11, 1934) Mickey first appeared with Donald Duck who had been introduced earlier that year in the Silly Symphony series. The tempestuous duck would provide Disney with seemingly endless story ideas and would remain a recurring character in Mickey's cartoons.
Lonesome Ghosts is a 1937 Disney animated cartoon, released through RKO Radio Pictures on December 24, 1937, three days after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). It was directed by Burt Gillett and animated by Izzy Klein, Ed Love, Milt Kahl, Marvin Woodward, Bob Wickersham, Clyde Geronimi, Dick Huemer, Dick Williams, Art Babbitt and Rex Cox. The short features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as members of The Ajax Ghost Exterminators. It was the 98th short in the Mickey Mouse film series to be released, and the ninth for that year.
In Lonesome Ghosts, the Ajax Ghost Exterminators - Mickey, Donald and Goofy - are hired by telephone to drive out four ghosts from a haunted house that has long been abandoned. Unbeknownst to them, they were hired by the ghosts themselves, who are bored because nobody has visited the house since they had been haunting for a long time (either because none of the locals were scared or they had scared them all away, as one ghost puts it: "Guess we're too good!"). They wish to play tricks on the living, and do so through a series of inventive, annoying pranks.