It has been said that during times of national economic hardship, people look to entertainment for relief. Taking that with a grain of salt, Walt Disney couldn’t have revealed Mickey Mouse at a better time. Though on the verge of the Great Depression, and with the film industry making its swift yet awkward transition into synchronized sound, Walt Disney Studios released Steamboat Willie in 1928, securing animation on the cutting edge as a medium capable of expressive sound effects and coinciding scores.
In her blog post, Kate Finan of Boom Box Post, explains how the Big Three – Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. – developed their signature sounds for a form of entertainment as undeveloped as its film stock. Through compatible relationships and mentorship, these legendary sound teams were able to transform the initial utterances of animation sound into a dialect where KOs naturally produce a flock of warblers and pointy objects always make a nice sharp “poing!”