In 1937, RKO Radio Pictures assumed the distribution rights for Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies animated shorts from United Artists. To help promote the acquisition, RKO ran this beautiful advertisement in its 1937-38 exhibitor book, which also features ads for movies like Stage Door (starring Katharine Hepburn).
The first RKO Mickey Mouse short, Hawaiian Holiday, debuted in September 1937. The first RKO Silly Symphony cartoon, The Old Mill, came out in November of the same year and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subjects (Cartoons). RKO distributed just eight Silly Symphony installments through 1939, when Walt Disney Productions stopped making them to focus more on feature films. The Mickey Mouse shorts continued through 1953 on RKO, although they were produced less frequently after 1943.
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