Steamboat Willie was the first animated cartoon with sound. Recording was made way later after the animation was recorded in film. Walt Disney looked around New York for recording equipment with the best quality that he thought would fit the animation. It was in 1928 and Walt Disney opposed using a phonograph.
It cost $1,000 to record the all the music and sound effects. A lot of sacrifices were made, including selling Walt’s prized Moon roadster. In addition to that, majority of his studio artists were pirated away by his previous distributor just only months before.
Walt Disney continued to stay in New York, away from Hollywood where his brother, studio and wife were. He approached major distributors and was repeatedly rejected for a month.
The film opened at a Broadway theater and was critically acclaimed. It was only then when distributors wanted to distribute the Mickey Mouse series.
Steamboat Willie on YouTube