Everyone loves a bit of Mickey Mouse. He’s a favourite that has appealed down through the ages. I remember first seeing the Steamboat Willie cartoon as a kid and thinking that was prehistoric, but now I’m not far from my dotage myself, I can see that being 90 years old is pretty young really!
So here’s some fun facts about Mickey Mouse that you can wow your mates with in the pub.
Mickey Mouse was created in 1928
His official birthday is 18 November 1928, so if you do the maths you’ll see he’s 90 next year.
Originally audiences were impressed by the movement, and the sound. The cartoon was designed to use music for comedic effect, something not often seen at the time. It kept the audiences coming back.
Everyone knows Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney, but the other person to have a hand in his creation was Ub Iwerks. Ub was responsible for the triple circle silhouette that is so iconic these days. Floyd Gottfredson drew the character for a newspaper strip for 45 years from 1930.
No-one is quite sure where the inspiration came from. It is claimed that Walt Disney based Mickey Mouse on the pet mouse he had as a child, but other reports suggest Disney got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse thanks to a tame mouse he had by his desk at Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Who knows?
Initially the name Mortimer Mouse was bandied about, but Walt’s wife Lilian suggested he change it to Mickey.
The first short film Mickey Mouse appeared in was Plane Crazy. The second film couldn’t find any distribution. Steamboat Willie was the third one and this was his official debut.
Mickey Mouse wears red shorts, yellow shoes and white gloves (typically).
Mickey Mouse first appeared in colour for the Parade of the Award Nominees in 1932, but because the film strip was created for the 5th Academy Awards ceremony, it was not released to the public. His first official first colour film, The Band Concert, was produced in Technicolour in 1935.
He has appeared in over 130 films, ten of which have been nominated for Oscars.
He was the first animated character to speak in a movie.
Mickey Mouse’s voice belonged to Walt Disney himself for many years.
His first words? Hot dogs!
In 1940 Mickey appeared in his first feature-length film, Fantasia. He was The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The movie was set to the symphonic poem of the same name by Paul Dukas.
Mickey Mouse won an Oscar in 1942 for Lend a Paw.
Walt Disney originally held the patent for Technicolor, meaning that Disney was the only animator who could make cartoons in colour.
He was the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Initially Mickey Mouse was a bit of a mischief maker, up to no good, and a bit naughty. But his character then developed over time to have a more universal appeal, so that he was seen as a mouse with flaws, but full of adventure. Since 2009, Disney have been downplaying his cheerfulness, and reintroducing the mischievous side.
Originally Mickey was drawn with white gloves so that his hands could be seen. The quirk has remained in spite of advances in cartoon technology.
Have you noticed that Mickey Mouse only has four fingers? It is claimed that Walt Disney felt that five fingers resembled a “bunch of bananas.” Apparently this saved the Studio millions of dollars over the years, as it saved on drawing time.
Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to have a double platinum album. In the 1970s he released a disco album!
Since Harry Truman, the only US presidents not to pose with Mickey Mouse are Lyndon Johnson and Trump (so far).
President Barack Obama jokingly referred to him as “a world leader who has bigger ears than me”.
In the UK Mickey Mouse is slang meaning small-time, amateurish or trivial.
In parts of Australia, Mickey Mouse can mean excellent or very good – rhyming slang for grouse.
To work as a Mickey Mouse mascot in Disneyland, you have to be fairly short. All of the actors are required to be between 4′ 8″ and 5′ 2″. They also have to practice the Mickey Mouse signature to make it the same (all while wearing big white gloves and only having four fingers).
Mickey Mouse, like all Disney characters, are copyrighted and trademarked, in perpetuity. The characters may not be used as trademarks without authorization. Disney is known to pursue even the slightest breaches of their copyright.
Over to you
What’s your favourite Disney film, and who’s your favourite character? Or do you have a different favourite? Mary, Mungo and Midge? Top Cat? Let us know below or come and join the chat on Facebook 🙂.