My favorite childhood icon and everyone's favorite mouse, Mickey Mouse is 90 years young today! Most know Mickey Mouse to have first appeared in the cartoon "Steamboat Willie" in 1928 debuting at the Colony Theater in New York City. However according to multiple reports Mickey was tested out before audiences two times before his debut at the Colony Theater. All during 1928, the first appearance of Mickey was during a test screening of a film called "Plane Crazy" in May of 28' and then the second appearance was the "Gallopin Gaucho". Both films were shown as silent films. What most don't know is that Disney had this idea to have a fully synchronized soundtrack to go along with Mickey and Minnie (they were both featured together). When he was able to feature Steamboat Willie with a full soundtrack by what they call creating "bouncing ball animation" for the musicians to play along with what's happening in the cartoon film, that is when audiences became enamored with Mickey . So while Mickey was first shown in a silent film with "Crazy", it wasn't really until the release of "Steamboat Willie" and the full soundtrack that wowed audiences and left them wanting more. Side note: Disney went back and added sound to this first two Mickey creations: "Plane Crazy" & "Gallopin Gaucho" after the success of "Steamboat Willie".
Back in the 1970s is when the Disney Company actually looked into finding out Mickey's birthday by going way back in the achieves and decided upon November 18th, 1928 as that was his famous "Steamboat Willie" debut". Thus marking the day Mickey Mouse was officially "born".
There are so many random facts about Mickey Mouse and Disney's creation that is wildly fascinating. One fact in particular is that while Mickey Mouse is 90 years old, so is Minnie Mouse, his beloved spouse! She was also introduced in 1928 right alongside him in some of his popular short cartoons that made him popular. Statistics say that while Mickey Mouse was in 130 shorts between 1928-1952, Minnie Mouse starred in about 66 of those shorts.
*If you watch closely, you'll also notice a very familiar looking dog in "Plane Crazy"...!*
Random Facts about Mickey Mouse
- Mickey didn't first speak words till his 9th short.
What were Mickey's first words? "Hot Dog" in the 1929 short, "The Karnival Kid". Walt Disney himself first voiced Mickey Mouse! Then later in 1947 sound effects genius Jimmy McDonald was chosen by Disney to take over Mickey's voice, which he did until the 1970s when McDonald trained a young assistant Wayne Allwine to take over the role and he voiced Mickey Mouse from that point on up until his death in 2009.
- Mickey Mouse became the first cartoon with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
It was for Mickey's 50th birthday in 1978 that he was awarded the star.
- Mickey Mouse is rumored to have 136 different outfits!
Mickey surprisingly has even more outfits than Minnie Mouse's 100 outfits! His outfits range anywhere from scuba gear to tuxedos and everything in between.
- The first piece of Mickey Mouse merchandise was in 1933 in the form of a watch.
Mickey's first product was a watch made by Ingersoll Waterbury. They sold 2.5 million Mickey watches when all was said and done!
- Mickey finally got pupils!
It was in 1940 with what they call Mickey Mouse's "comeback," after his popularity started to fade slightly due to the creation of Donald Duck and others, that the classic "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" or what we know as "Fantasia" depicted Mickey as having pupils. Animator Freddie Moore was the brains behind Mickey's new look.
- Mickey "ears" first appeared on the TV show the "Mickey Mouse Club".
It was the "Mouseketeers who first debuted the ever popular Mickey ear hats that would in later years branch off into many varieties of mouse ears to choose from. Disneyland theme park started selling the ears in 1955/56 and has been selling them ever since.
Walt Disney was a great visionary who gave us the gift of joy, imagination, courage, and inspiration that came in the form of a mouse, Mickey Mouse. Mickey symbolizes all of your dreams, goals, and happiness, manifested into this one creation. Mickey is a symbol for having childlike imagination or dreams and the courage to manifest those dreams into reality. Walt himself famously said: "If you can dream it, you can do it". & That's what Mickey represents.
Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse! Your birth started something I'm forever grateful for because I believe that even as adults we must never forget about dreams, happiness, and joy. Mickey is not just for kids, he's for the child in all of us. He reminds us to enjoy life and that it's okay to dream!
I leave you with one last quote by Walt Disney: "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse."