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Walt Disney on NBC Radio (late 1930s)

To promote Snow White, Walt arranged for NBC radio to produce a children’s weekly program called The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air, which aired from January 2 through May 15, 1938. The show featured Disney characters, with Walt himself providing the voice of Mickey. Felix Mills, who composed the show’s music, recalls: “I was in heaven with a fine 35-piece orchestra, a fifteen-voice chorus, a quartet of whistlers and the Disney characters, plus the most unique talent in radio, Mel Blanc. I rented a suite of five rooms across from Paramount Studios where we were doing the Disney show. There was a private office where I worked, a room for assistants, another for copyists, a library and an exercise room. The exercise was Ping-Pong. Twelve to fifteen minutes of music had to be written for each half-hour show, and we called it our weekly opera. It took three weeks to put the first show together and after that it was still a killer, but it was fun. The writers worked two weeks ahead, and after each show Glen Heisch (the producer) and I went to the Brown Derby for dinner to discuss the music, working until the wee small hours. I counted Glen’s beers one night: seventeen.” The photo here (previously unpublished) may (or may not) be from Theater of the Air, but is clearly connected to Walt’s appearances in the late 1930s on NBC.

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