George Santos Talked to Us About His Inspiration Behind Steamboat Willie

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“…when you’re someone like me — and granted there are so very few who are — you come up with so many genius ideas in a day that it’s hard to keep them separate.” – Rep. George Ravache-Santos

Most Americans know that the men, women, and fossilized white men they elect to congress may have skill sets they bring to the table, but most often they are empty vessels that get filled with talking points (and in Ted Cruz’s case, farts) and campaign cash from rich donors. However, for a brief, shining moment in time, Congress had one member who was truly a multi-talented, dare we say it, “genius,” but then they expelled him over a simple matter of a few dozen felonies, including accusations that he stole money from not only constituents and donors, but from other elected Republicans.

While he awaits trial on those federal charges, former Congressman George Santos agreed to sit down with us, and discuss a less painful moment in time in his life — when he created, and then subsequently gave, Walt Disney a beloved animated character. What follows is a brief excerpt from our interview with Mr. Santos.

THE POLITICAL GARBAGE CHUTE: Set the scene for us. When did you come up with the idea for “Steamboat Willie,” if you can recall?

GEORGE SANTOS: Well, I’ll try to remember, but when you’re someone like me — and granted there are so very few who are — you come up with so many genius ideas in a day that it’s hard to keep them separate.

TPGC: Naturally.

SANTOS: At any rate, I do remember that it was the summer of 1989. I was a 45 year old cancer research scientist at the time, putting the finishing touches on my cure for cancer, and that summer I had helped the Oakland Nuggets win the NFL’s Stanley Cup. But, well, I knew there was something else deep inside me that had to get out.

TPGC: So that’s when you came up with “Steamboat Willie,” the summer of ’89?

SANTOS: Yes, but the summer of 1789. You see, I invented time travel about a decade before I drew that cartoon for the first time. And Doctor Emmett brown asked me to take him to the time in American history just after the Constitution was ratified. On the way to 1789, he and I were talking about steamboats, and our friend Willie Nelson.  One thing led to another, and then, BAM! I found myself drawing this cute little mouse.

TPGC: How long after you drew it did you give it to Walt Disney?

SANTOS: Almost immediately, because Walt was right there with me and Doc Brown. We picked him up on the way to 1789, you see. So, I hand him the cartoon, he tells me it’s quite literally the best thing he’s ever seen, and, well, the rest is history, isn’t it?

You can read the rest of our interview with George Santos in next month’s edition of our magazine, found everywhere non-existent periodicals are sold.

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