In 1928, Walt Disney Studios produced a black and white cartoon short film called Steamboat Willie. The film is credited with being a first in synchronizing a cartoon with a fully produced sound track. Although Steamboat Willie was the third of the Mickey Mouse’s films, it was the first to be distributed. The plot of the short film has Mickey Mouse piloting a river paddle steamship. Other characters in the movie include, Minnie Mouse, and Captain Pete.
Due to some inconsistencies in the original copyright formulation, this first Mickey Mouse film became public domain on January 1st of 2024. The depiction of Mickey Mouse from the Steamboat Willie film is sure to be used on many print-on-demand items including t-shirts, mugs, pillows and more.
Ring in the New Year with a shirt, or other POD product, sporting the image of a cartoon character newly entered into the public domain!
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