I found a purported deleted scene from some versions of the Mickey Mouse Disney classic film Steamboat Willie.

I recently purchased a Keystone Kinescope Model E-32 16 Millimeter Projector from eBay. The Keystone Manufacturing Company manufactured the projector. The company’s address displayed on the product was 288 A Street in Boston. In present-day times, Google Street View shows a parking lot at that site.

The Projector Is From 1932

In my research, I was able to date the projector as first sold in 1932. The model number “E-32″ is just a coincidence. The company created other projectors during or before 1932, for example with model numbers including B-63, A-74, D-61 and D-62. The best evidence I was able to find was in a catalog coming in the original projector box. It advertises light bulbs for 1930, 1931 and 1932 models. An old vintage movie equipment website lists 1932 as the possible year for the E-32.

Looking Inside the Box

After making the exchange for the projector in Union Square here in New York, I brought it home and went through the box contents. The seller included the original box. Upon first handling the item, I pulled out the projector, two camera spools with some very old films and some small spare parts.

A Strange Find At the Bottom of the Box

At the bottom of the box were several cut strips of film.

I found a purported deleted scene from some versions of the Mickey Mouse Disney classic film Steamboat Willie.
The bits of film found at the bottom of the box.

At first, I thought little it. Some film at the bottom of the box. I figured it was probably just discarded from the spools. I viewed one of the strips under the light to get an idea of what it might be. Looked like a black and white cartoon.

Story from eBay Seller About Grandfather

The eBay seller said his grandfather collected old film equipment many years ago, and the box had likely been sitting idle in the same place for decades. I set the short film strips aside and concentrated on the projector, setting up the film already on the spools.

I found a purported deleted scene from some versions of the Mickey Mouse Disney classic film Steamboat Willie.
The bulb inside still worked, but I replaced it with a modern one for brighter projection and reliability.

It’s Mickey Mouse

Several days passed, and last night I looked closer at the film in the box. I confirmed what I had wondered several days earlier: the film was part of an early cartoon for the famed Disney character Mickey Mouse.

I found a purported deleted scene from some versions of the Mickey Mouse Disney classic film Steamboat Willie.
Mickey Mouse in black and white. All of the frames are from the same scene.

Five Film Strips

I found five strips in total at the bottom of the box. Each of the five strips measured as a different length. All five strips together measured 22.72 inches, or 57.85 centimeters, with 68 full frames. Here’s the breakdown for anyone out there who absolutely must know:

  • Strip One: 2.5 in, 6.35 cm
  • Strip Two: 3.5 in, 9 cm
  • Strip Three: 5.27 in, 13.4cm
  • Strip Four: 4.8 in, 12.2 cm
  • Strip Five: 6.65 in, 16.9cm

Looking for Answers

Mickey Mouse debuted in 1928, first seen by the public in “Steamboat Willie”, though he did make appearances in the undistributed films “Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin’ Gaucho”. Looking at the film, I wanted to find out which movie these frames were from. I searched around the internet, watching old shorts and reading articles. 

I found a purported deleted scene from some versions of the Mickey Mouse Disney classic film Steamboat Willie.
A close-up of the film shows Mickey Mouse picking up a pig while piglets try to get some milk from their mother.

In studying all of the frames, here’s what I noticed happening in the scene: a smiling Mickey Mouse is walking on a prairie. He sees a pig with piglets getting milk and picks up the mother. One of the dark-colored piglets hangs on by the nipple. Mickey’s eyebrows change to show a bit of anger. He kicks the piglet off the mother pig, causing the piglet to go up into the air and then land on its head.

Interesting Fact About Mickey’s White Gloves

With such little information, I knew it might be difficult to find any details about the film frames. I noticed Mickey wasn’t wearing gloves. In doing some research, I found Mickey didn’t wear his signature white gloves until halfway through 1929′s “The Opry House”. The only films not featuring his white gloves are the three I mentioned earlier and 1929′s “The Jazz Fool”. Disney likely created the mystery film in 1928 or 1929.

After looking through almost 100 Mickey Mouse cartoons, I haven’t been able to locate the movie. Lists on IMDbDisneyShorts.org and YouTube didn’t contain the short. I’m continuing to research the frames, and while part of me hopes I can find out more information, a larger part hopes I’ve discovered a piece of history. 

Update (February 14, 2013): The video is now live on YouTube for viewing.

Update 2 (June 6, 2013): I found the answer regarding the source of the film strips. The six seconds of film is part of a scene deleted from some home cuts of “Steamboat Willie.” Thanks to online user Aeonterbor for notifying me on the YouTube comments.

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