The first thing that comes to mind when exploring information about the New York World’s Fair of 1938 and 1939 is the foundational presence of Disney. The fair was a perfect example of displaying an ideal world and fantastic technology. I’d like to connect the significance of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York to the 2010 hit video game: Epic Mickey. Before I explain the significance of the Epic Mickey game, it’s important to understand Disney’s significance at the New York World’s fair in 1939. Mickey Mouse was featured at the fair in 1939, and his debut consisted of a cartoon titled “Mickey’s Surprise Party” where he essentially sells Nabisco brand products. The link to the video is displayed at the end of this post. In the short animated film, Mickey goes over to Minnie’s house, and her cooking turns into a disaster which leads to Mickey going out and buying an array of Nabisco snacks to sooth her emotions over the failed sweets. This video is significant because it illustrates the historical nature of Disney at the fair as well as the evolution of Mickey Mouse throughout the years.
This Mickey Mouse film illustrates several interesting components of American culture at the time. For example, when Mickey first arrives, Minnie hurriedly applies lipstick and sits down at the piano to serenade Mickey as he enters her home. The short film portrays the stereotypical male and female relationship of the early 20th century, even if it was between mice. Also, this film could be considered one of the first ever “infomercials.” This animated short film was highly influential because of the millions of people who attended the fair. Also, the cute and loveable character of Mickey could have influenced people to purchase Nabisco products. While the fair was a wonderful place of entertainment and showcasing extraordinary technology, it was also a perfect place for advertising and marketing, and the Nabisco brand took advantage of that.
While the Disney “Epic Mickey” video game certainly wasn’t around at the New York World’s fair of 1939, some of its levels seem to be influenced by the fair’s elements. For example, there’s a “Tomorrow City” level that features strange animatronics, futuristic technology, and accolades to the mystery of space. Overall, the concept of this level in Epic Mickey demonstrates the Disney company’s desire to preserve history or at least incorporate it into newer developments. This also shows how the character of Mickey Mouse has evolved from a brand promoting, cute animation to a death defying, evil stopping hero in Epic Mickey. Mickey’s “Surprise Party” short film displayed at the fair in 1939 shows how the culture of that time was different as well as the changes that Mickey has endured over the years. It was interesting to analyze the short film as a historical piece of evidence surrounding the type of content that was shown at the fair. Below are a few pictures from Epic Mickey in Tomorrow City that possess elements of the fair.
Most of the information regarding Mickey’s presence in the fair was found from the website listed below
“Mickey’s Surprise Party” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Ihwt9Mwow