“Plane Crazy” is the first animated cartoon to feature Mickey Mouse. It was released as a silent film in May 1928, but was quickly withdrawn. Sound and music were later added, and it was re-released, but by this time three other Mickey Mouse cartoons had been completed and released, including the famous “Steamboat Willie,” officially considered Mickey’s “debut.”
Much of American society was, indeed, going crazy for aviation in 1927 and 1928. Lindbergh’s New York-Paris flight in the Spirit of St. Louis on May 20-21, 1927 was, in a way, symptomatic of this rush of enthusiasm as it was to become the cause of so much more of it, rather immediately in fact.
The Mickey Mouse cartoon, produced and animated by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney (who was, coincidentally, just two months older than Charles Lindbergh), depicts an impish Mickey building and flying his own plane. He uses a big manual called “How to Fly,” which features a full-page portrait of his hero, “Lindy.” Mickey even tousles his hair (mouse fur?) to look more like Lindy. Very quickly it becomes clear that Mickey expects the plane to be a babe magnet; he soon entices a girl mouse (whose name we will come to know later as Minnie) into flying with him and even kissing him. Quite risqué.
Watch the whole six-minute cartoon here: