Mickey Mouse

Mickey MouseAs the official mascot of the Walt Disney Company, Mickey Mouse is certainly a known figure to almost every kid in the world. He has easily become one of the most easily recognized cartoon characters, with his iconic white gloves, red shorts, and huge yellow shoes. Mickey has been featured not just on film and television, but even on comic books, video games, and every Disney merchandise imaginable. Get to know more about this famous cartoon character as you read along.

Mickey Mouse History

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Mickey Mouse’s history goes a long, long way in the history of animation. However, he is not the first cartoon character created by Disney Studios. In fact, he was created only as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

But because of a misunderstanding between Walt Disney and Universal Studios, which owned the Oswald cartoon, the two companies separated and Disney established the new Disney Studio, together with a few employees that remained loyal to the animation company.

The new Disney Studio essentially started from scratch as the remaining employees thought of ideas for a new cartoon character that will carry the name of the animation studios. Several ideas cropped up, including cats, dogs, cows, horses, and even frogs. But at last, Walt Disney got inspired by a tame mouse at his desk, so Ub Iwerks started creating a new mouse character that was eventually named Mortimer Mouse. The name Mickey Mouse was given due to the insistence of Disney’s wife, Lillian.

How Old is Mickey Mouse?

Mickey’s birthday can be traced back to when Mickey was created. The preliminary sketches of Hugh Harman that led to Iwerks’ eventual conceptualization of the character began in 1925. Mickey’s screen testing started in May 1928 for the cartoon short Plane Crazy, although this one failed to impress the audiences. The second Mickey Mouse short did not even push through due to lack of distributor.

Steamboat Willie

Steamboat Willie

The first Mickey short that had a distributor was titled, Steamboat Willie, a parody of Steamboat Bill Jr., a silent comedy film released in May 1928. Steamboat Willie was released a few months later on November 18, 1928. Since Iwerks incorporated sound in this short film, audiences and critics alike were impressed by this innovative idea in an era of silent films.

Because of Steamboat Willie’s success, November 18, 1928 was officially declared as Mickey Mouse’s onscreen debut or birthday. He quickly rose to popularity as one of the most prominent cartoon characters of that era.

Old Mickey Mouse

Vintage Mickey Mouse

Vintage Mickey Mouse

The Mickey Mouse being seen today is not the vintage Mickey that Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney created in the past. There are differences when it comes to the littlest details, although the old Mickey can still be easily recognized by today’s generation.

For instance, Mickey’s head has always been featured as having a circular design, especially in his ears. In fact, the symbol of three circles used to depict Mickey back then is still being used until now by the Disney Company. It has certainly become his personal trademark and this design extends up to the present generation.

Originally, Mickey’s body was also circular in nature, but he was later redesigned by animator Fred Moore to have a pear-shaped body—a move which Walt Disney himself approved of.

Mickey Mouse with Gloves

Mickey Mouse with Gloves

Mickey’s hands only had three fingers and one thumb. However, his white gloves were given to him only in the 1929 Mickey Mouse film, The Opry House, as a way of contrasting his hands from his black body. This was very helpful during the time of black and white screens.

The first two Mickey shorts featured the cartoon character with large white eyes outlined in black. The black outlines were then removed in Steamboat Willie. In 1938, Fred Moore reimagined Mickey’s eyes as small and white with black pupils, and his face was given a Caucasian skin tone in contrast to his previously plain white face.

Mickey was originally voiced by Walt Disney from his inception up to 1947. He was then followed by Jimmy MacDonald until 1977 and Wayne Allwine until his death in 2009. At present, Mickey is being voiced by Bret Iwan for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Chris Diamantopoulos for the new Mickey Mouse shorts.

As for Mickey’s clothes, the red color of his shorts could not be easily seen during the black and white era of film and television. But his red shorts were always obvious in print versions of the character. Today, even if Mickey is not always seen with his trademark clothes, he is still always portrayed in red clothes in all of his costume changes.

Evil Mickey Mouse

Evil Mickey Mouse

Evil Mickey Mouse

Mickey’s target market has always been children, which is the reason why he had a squeaky clean image. However, this image was somewhat tarnished with the release of Runaway Brain, a 7-minute short animated film released in April 1995 and nominated in the Academy Awards.

In the story, Mickey’s brain was switched with Julius’, a monster portrayed by Mickey’s perennial nemesis, Pete. Because of this, the evil Mickey Mouse character was born. The two characters battle it out and finally get switched back to their own bodies at the end of the film.

A slightly evil Mickey also appeared in Epic Mickey, a video game released for Wii in 2010. This was done by the Walt Disney Company in the efforts of showing the mischievous side of Mickey, rather than continuing the perpetuation of his squeaky clean image.

Mickey Mouse Characters

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Mickey has always been shown as interacting with other characters. The character most closely associated with him is Minnie Mouse. In fact, during Mickey’s early film in 1929, he was characterized as a suitor to Minnie Mouse.

Aside from Minnie Mouse, Mickey also intermingled with other popular cartoon characters during the course of his lifetime. Here are some of the characters from one of Mickey’s latest animated series, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Characters

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is an animated television series that premiered on May 5, 2006 at Disney Channel. Originally, it was shown as a part of Playhouse Disney, but later on was moved to the Disney Junior time block. The main audience of this cartoon is preschoolers.

In this cartoon series, a lot of Mickey’s popular friends were cast as characters. Here is a list of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

As previously mentioned, Mickey’s love interest, Minnie Mouse, has always been part of his story. Minerva Mouse, nicknamed Minnie, was also created by Iwerks in 1928 just like Mickey. She also appeared in Plane Crazy, where Mickey invited her to join him in the first flight of his aircraft.

In Mickey’s debut short, Steamboat Willie, the rivalry between Mickey and Pete for the heart of Minnie was established. Pete was depicted as the steamboat’s captain, Mickey was the only crew, and Minnie was the only passenger. The two male characters vied for the attention of Minnie Mouse while music blared in the background.

Mickey and Minnie were established as a couple in June 1929 in a short film titled, Mickey’s Follies. In this film, the song, Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo was first performed. The song was basically praising Minnie with the use of animal sounds. It eventually became the couple’s theme song to all their series.

Minnie’s appearance was inspired by the “flapper” fashion era, with her short polka-dotted red dress, matching bow, white gloves, and high-heeled pumps. She was originally voiced by Walt Disney in 1928, followed by Marjorie Ralson in 1929 and Marcellite Garner from 1930 to 1938. At present, she is being voiced by Russi Taylor, Allwine’s wife, for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Sidekicks

Aside from appearing alongside Minnie Mouse, Mickey also forms part of the trio composed of himself, Donald Duck, and Goofy.

Donald Duck
Donald Duck

Donald Duck

Donald Duck is famous for two things: being Mickey’s sidekick and having an almost unintelligible speech. In fact, he has a very distinct voice, and was voiced by Clarence Nash for 50 years until his death. Donald is also ranked as one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time.

He is often characterized as a white duck with yellow feet and yellow beak, wearing a sailor outfit with a cap and a red or black bowtie. He is quite irritable, short-tempered, and partly mischievous, in contrast to Mickey’s adventurous and good-natured spirit. He can be a prankster and bully at times, although there is no malice in his pranks and he does not intend to hurt anyone. Whenever his pranks go too far, he is shown to be remorseful for his actions.

Donald’s love interest is Daisy Duck, characterized by her glamorous and sophisticated personality. But in spite of being high maintenance, Daisy is devoted to Donald. She often helps Donald get through his temper tantrums. In some cartoons, Daisy is even portrayed as Minnie Mouse’s best friend.

Donald also has three nephews—Huey, Dewey, and Louie—who are portrayed as unruly kids who often get their Uncle Donald into trouble.

Goofy
Goofy

Goofy

Goofy is the clumsy and dim-witted sidekick of Mickey. He is portrayed as a tall dog wearing a turtleneck, vest, pants, shoes, white gloves, and tall hat. Even though he is sometimes shown to have a lack of common sense, Goofy still displays bouts of cleverness and intuition in his own special way.

Although Goofy started as out as part of the trio, he eventually had his own solo series, such as Goofy and Wilbur in 1939, and the How To cartoon series in the 1940s. He even starred in his solo movies together with his son Max in 1995 for A Goofy Movie, and in 2000 for An Extremely Goofy Movie.

Just like Donald and Mickey, Goofy is regarded as one of Disney’s most popular characters.

Pet Dog

Pluto

Pluto

Pluto is Mickey’s pet dog. Since he is a pet, he does not display the same human-like qualities that the other characters have. Instead, he is characterized as a golden-colored dog with black ears and a green neck collar. Together with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy, Pluto completes the “Sensational Six” cartoon characters—a term used to describe six of Disney’s biggest stars.

Supporting Characters

Other characters of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse include:

  • Pete the Cat – He is a huge black cat that appears as the main antagonist of Mickey. He actually debuted three years before Mickey as a bear in Alice Solves the Puzzle, making him the oldest Disney character that is still being shown until today. Even though he is primarily an antagonist, Pete has been portrayed as a friendly yet annoying character in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • Clarabelle Cow – She is one of Minnie Mouse’s best friends and is depicted in most cartoons as either the girlfriend of Horace Horsecollar or the love interest of Goofy. However, Horace does not appear in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series.
  • Professor Ludwig Von Drake – He is the uncle of Donald Duck and is characterized as being an expert on many things. He has several occupations, such as a scientist, psychologist, lecturer, and traveler. He is often depicted as wearing a pink shirt, red vest, lab coat, and black tie.
  • Chip and Dale – These are two chipmunks that often appear as guest stars in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. They also frequently appear in other cartoons as an antagonist to either Donald Duck or Pluto.

Mickey Mouse Cartoon

A lot of Mickey Mouse cartoons have been produced since 1928. They can generally be categorized as those shown through film, and those shown on television.

Films

Mickey in Black and White

Mickey in Black and White

Mickey’s first films were done during the black and white era of film. These early short films have a similar premise, and that is Mickey courting Minnie, which sometimes ends up with Minnie favoring another suitor over Mickey.

In March 1929, Mickey was first seen to wear his trademark white gloves in the short film, The Opry House. Before that, viewers were having a difficult time distinguishing Mickey’s hands from his body when his hands appeared against his body. The addition of the gloves paved the way for other characters to follow suit, hence the trademark costume of the Mickey and Minnie that we know today.

It was only in a 1929 film that Mickey first spoke. This was in the short film Karnival Kid, where he was depicted as a storeowner trying to sell hotdogs at the carnival. Hence, his first words were, “Hotdogs! Hotdogs!”

As previously mentioned, the June 1929 short film titled Mickey’s Follies introduced Mickey and Minnie as a couple with the debut of the song, Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo. That song became the theme song of succeeding Mickey Mouse shorts in the years to come.

Pluto was added to the Mickey Mouse films in 1931, when he first appeared as Mickey’s pet in The Moose Hunt. However, a year before, Pluto already appeared as Minnie’s dog named Rover in The Picnic short film. As for Donald Duck, he appeared alongside Mickey in Orphan’s Benefit, released in August 1934. This started the Mickey and Donald tandem, which would delight viewers in the years to come.

Mickey’s first official color film was released in 1935 with The Band Concert. This propelled Mickey’s popularity to greater heights, as this particular cartoon was hailed as one of the greatest cartoons of all time. It was also around the second half of the 1930s that Mickey was redesigned and Goofy was introduced as a series regular, joining Mickey and Donald in their adventures.

Mickey’s first feature length film was 1940’s Fantasia, in which he played a sorcerer’s apprentice and was depicted wearing a blue sorcerer’s hat and red robe. In 1953, the Mickey Mouse short film series concluded with The Simple Things. Mickey would then return to film 30 years later with Mickey’s Christmas Carol, a Mickey Mouse Christmas adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol.

Television

The 1950s saw Mickey appear on television, as many of his cartoon shorts were released on TV. Perhaps the most popular television series during the 1950s was The Mickey Mouse Club, which ran on TV intermittently from 1955 to 1996.

  • Bobby Burgess
  • Johnny Crawford
  • Annette Funicello
  • Darlene Gillespie
  • Cheryl Holdridge
  • Cubby O’Brien
  • Karen Pendleton
  • Mickey Rooney Jr.
  • Lisa Whelchel
  • Corey Feldman
  • JC Chasez
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Britney Spears
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Rhona Bennett
  • Tony Lucca
  • Nikki DeLoach

Aside from The Mickey Mouse Club, other television series featuring Mickey include Mickey Mouse Works, Disney’s House of Mouse, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which features the Mickey Mouse Hotdog song and dance.

 

There have also been numerous parodies of Mickey through the years, such as the one made by Mad Magazine titled Mickey Rodent, Bart Simpson’s mimicking of Mickey in The Simpsons Movie, and the South Park Mickey Mouse in which Mickey was depicted as the greedy and sadistic boss of the Walt Disney Company.

Mickey Mouse and Friends

Mickey Mouse and Friends

Mickey Mouse and Friends

Aside from appearing on film and in television, Mickey also had his own comic book series titled Mickey Mouse and Friends. It all started with Dell Publishing creating Four Color one-shot magazines in 1941, and then progressing to a regular series simply titled Mickey Mouse in December 1952. Dell Publishing’s series lasted until September 1962.

 

The series was picked up by Gold key Comics until 1980, and then by Whitman from 1980 to 1984. Gladstone Publishing developed the succeeding comic books from 1986 to 1990. From 1990 to 1991, Disney Comics created the short-lived comic book series titled, Mickey Mouse Adventures.

 

After a long hiatus, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Friends was adapted as the title of the comic book series when Gemstone Publishing took over production in 2003 up to 2006. Finally, BOOM! Studios reduced the title to Mickey Mouse and Friends from 2009 until the last issue in October 2011.
h2>Mickey Mouse in Other Media

Due to Mickey’s popularity, he had been licensed by Disney to appear in countless types of merchandise, from plush toys to lunch boxes for kids. There have been many different depictions of Mickey in these merchandise, starting from the popular original Mickey Mouse design down to the baby Mickey portrayal for kids’ merchandise.

Baby Mickey Mouse

Baby Mickey Mouse

Baby Mickey Mouse

Many baby Mickey toys and products are being sold for infants and toddlers. These include baby clothes, sandals, plush toys, costumes, cribs, party supplies, toy cars, and even potty chairs.

Aside from baby Mickey, other depictions of Mickey that became popular include Dance Star Mickey and Rock Star Mickey, which have been created by Fisher-Price’s line of talking Mickey Mouse dolls.

Mickey Video Games

Just like any other popular cartoon character, Mickey did not escape the video game genre, as he has been featured in many different games and gaming devices. For instance, Nintendo produced video games like Mickey Mousecapade, Disney’s Magical Quest, Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge, and Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse. Game Boy has also produced Mickey Mouse: Magic Wands! and Disney’s Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse.

 

Aside from all these video game titles, other Disney games also feature Donald Duck and the Disney princesses.

Mickey Mouse Quotes

Here are some of the most famous quotes of Mickey, including one from his creator, Walt Disney:

  • “Now I want to remind everybody of the House of Mouse rules: No smoking. No villainous schemes. And no guests eating other guests.” – from The House of Mouse TV series
  • “Well, everybody, that’s our show. Thank you for spending Christmas Eve at the House of Mouse. Here’s wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a safe trip ho-home!” – from Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse
  • “No, no! I won’t sell him to you, he’s my pal!” – from Mickey’s Good Deed, referring to Pluto
  • “Oh, Minnie. You’re all the music I’ll ever need.” – from Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
  • “Girls bored me, they still do. I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I’ve ever known.” – Walt Disney

The Walt Disney Company continues to introduce newer characters with its films and television series. However, Mickey Mouse will remain to be the famous animation company’s symbol, as he propelled the company to unimaginable heights during a time when Disney was down in the dumps and everything was seemingly lost and obscure.

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