The following exclusive story by Walt Disney was written especially for RADIO GUIDE. In it he tells why he's going to let Mickey go on the air over NBC Sunday.
I'LETTING Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the rest of my gang go on the air, although I've been advised against it.
We consider this a good omen, for we were also strongly advised against ever creating Mickey, doing our pictures in sound, branching into Technicolor, making "The Three Little Pigs,' and creating a feature-length picture.
People said Mickey would flop because women were afraid of mice, that both sound and color were fads, and that audiences would never sit through eighty minutes of an animated feature. However, the reception accorded " Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has convinced us that people will sit through it and like it.
So you can see why radio doesn't hold too many terrors as new venture for us.
We have shied pretty clear of it until now. For several years many sponsors and advertising agencies have whispered the siren song of its riches in our ear.
"If you are capable of devising a formula for translating Mickey into your medium," we told them at first, "and if you can write and produce the show successfully without calling on us for help, take a shot at it."
Several tried, but none of them had the feeling for our characters. Then we realized that what we had begun to suspect was true: if Mickey went on the air we'd have to build the program ourselves.
Up until recently, we didn't have time to do this. We were working on "Snow White" day and night to get it into the theaters by the first of 1938, and were also turning out our usual quota of short subjects.
A few months ago, my brother and business manager, Roy Disney, rather talked to the Pepsodent representatives in Chicago. Frankly, 1 hoped the deal would fall through. Most of us were too tired to think radio, let alone do anything about it. But Roy came back with a contract. We were to build most of the program ourselves, for Pepsodent realized that this was the only way our characters could be aired successfully.
Minnie is training a woodland choir of song-birds, crickets, frogs, and free-toads to sing cappella or with orchestra. Felix Mills, who will direct our Silly Symphony Orchestra, has been doing grand job of whipping into shape a group of singing hens, roosters, donkeys, goats, horses, and sheep rounded up by Mickey's talent scouts. However, the bee band still continues to get in his hair.
Goofy is collaborating with the sound-effects department on a gadget band. Its instruments are a bit rudimentary a frying-pan section, a hot hosophone, a concrete mixer, and so on.
Seriously, though, we're all glad of this opportunity to go on the air, now that it's here. After all, we're a pioneering bunch at heart and radio will give us new interests and points of view. It's a rather logical direction in which we can expand.
We are sure that Mickey's many fans will welcome him to the airlanes, but the whole thing is not entirely a giving proposition where we're concerned. We are taking something ourselves. You see, out of this thirteen-week NBC series, we expect to develop new ideas and personalities which we can use in our pictures.
We look upon radio as a new stimulus, a challenge – something which will give us fresh ideas and a better perspective on our work.