Mickey Mouse is one of the most famous animated cartoon characters to exist within the Walt Disney universe. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks co-created the character, which Walt Disney himself initially voiced.
Mickey is an anthropomorphic voice who is clad in red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves. The name for this beloved mouse was initially suggested by Lillian, Walt Disney’s wife, who disagreed with Mickey’s original name; Mortimer Mouse.
Mickey is one of the most recognizable and universally acclaimed cartoon characters worldwide. The initial design of Mickey was done by Ub Iwerks, who designed his body out of circles to make it easier for the animators to animate him moving naturally.
Later on, these circles were quite helpful as they made it easy for the audience to recognize him. His circular ears were the most noticeable feature and later became his unofficial trademark. In subsequent years, Mickey’s body was redesigned to have more of a pear-shaped design.
Furthermore, his hand has only three fingers and a thumb for ease and aesthetic persons. Disney also claimed that five digits would be too many for a mouse.
Initially, Mickey was created to replace the previous Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Since his debut, Mickey has been known to appear in over 130 films. Primarily, he is a part of short films, but he is also a part of a few feature-length films.
A few Mickey Mouse cartoons have been nominated for Academy Awards. One of them, Lend a Paw, even won the Best Animated Short Film Award in 1941.
Usually, Micket Mouse shows up in his various shows, cartoons, and films alongside Minnie Mouse, his girlfriend, and Pluto, his pet dog. Sometimes his friends, Donald Duck and Goofy, also make an appearance.
With an entire franchise for himself, Mickey Mouse is a pop culture icon who is well known all around the world. The character is so iconic that it has become Disney’s brand, from Mickey headbands being sold at Disney to having exclusive toys, rides, and other merchandise. No one would not recognize Mickey’s character in an instant.
The Beginnings of Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse appeared for the first time on screen in an animated short film called Plane Crazy. This film was released in 1928 and directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, the creators of Mickey Mouse. When released, it was a silent film.
However, during its first test screening in 1928, it was seen by Goldwyn-Mayer but failed to pick up a distributor. Plane Crazy was put on hold and re-released the following year with sound. Thus, it became the fourth Mickey Mouse film to be released.
In the film, Mickey is trying to imitate Charles Lindbergh and trying to fly a plane. Iwerks, who spent over two weeks working on the film in a back room, animated the entire film. It is estimated that he drew 700 drawings a day.
There are speculations that Hugh Harman and Rudolf also helped make the film, even though they are known to have gotten kicked out when Oswalt the Lucky Rabbit was made.
Plane Crazy contained a soundtrack by Carl W. Stalling, and it was the first animated film that used a camera move.
The public and Mickey Mouse well received the film, and his antics generally amused them. There were already three films out with the iconic character, so the audience knew how he was and enjoyed the film thoroughly.
In the 1930s, the story of Plane Crazy was reused and adapted to form the first story of the Mickey Mouse comic strip, Lost on a Desert Island. Plane Crazy thus became a source of inspiration for scenes and stories in subsequent years.
In 1928, Mickey also appeared in Steamboat Willie, an animated short film directed by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. The film was produced in black and white by Walt Disney Studios and released by Celebrity Productions.
In the film, Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie Mouse are the main characters who appeared previously in two other Mickey-centered movies. Steamboat Willie is the third Mickey film to be produced, but it was the third to be distributed.
When released, Steamboat Willie was the first cartoon animated film to have synchronized sounds and the first cartoon to also have a fully post-produced soundtrack. This soundtrack was distinguished from earlier cartoons such as Song Car-Tunes, etc.
Wilfred Jackson and Bert Lewis arranged the music for Steamboat Willie. The songs included Steamboat Bill and Turkey in a Straw,
Steamboat Willie received worldwide critical acclaim for being one of the most popular cartoon films in the world and for its technical innovation. It is currently number 13 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons, which many animators voted on.
Furthermore, Steamboat Willie was also selected to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry. It was deemed to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
Colored Mickey Films
Parade of the Award Nominees
One of the first times Mickey appeared in color was in the Parade of the Awards Nominees. It is a Mickey short, which was created especially for the 1932 banquet held for the 5th Academy Award. Mickey Mouse and his friends were leading a parade in the Parade of the Award Nominees, including caricatured Hollywood stars.
It is the very first Mickey Mouse that appeared in Technicolor. In short, Mickey Mouse is accompanied by Minnie Mouse, Clarabella Cow, and other anthropomorphic animals and insects who serve as musicians and pages.
In this appearance, Mickey Mouse had green shorts, not the red ones he would wear in his upcoming films.
Fantasia was an animated musical anthology film that was released in 1940. Walt Disney Productions produced and released this film, whose story was directed by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer. Walt Disney and Ben Sharpsteen were the production supervisors of this project.
This film was the third Disney animated feature film to be released, and it consisted of eight animated segments. These segments were set to classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Seven of these pieces were performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The film’s concept was finalized in 1938 and released in theatrical roadshows held on 13 cities across the US between 1940 and 1941. At first, the film was acclaimed by critics, with many good reviews. However, it was not making a profit because World War II cut off its distribution to Europe.
Fantasia was later made into a franchise that grew to encompass video games, live concert series, and even Disneyland attractions. A sequel was also created called Fantasia 2000, which was co-produced by Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s nephew. This sequel was released in 1999.
Over the years, Fantasia has grown to become huge and has now become widely acclaimed. It was ranked as the 58h greatest American film in 100 years by the American Film Institute in 1998. Fantasia has also become the fifth greatest animated film in the American Film Institute’s Top 10 list.
Furthermore, this movie has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which deems it to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
The appearance of Mickey on Television and Later Films
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
As time went on, Mickey Mouse became more and more popular. In 1983, he appeared in an animated family comedy-drama called Mickey Mouse Christmas Caro. This drama was directed and produced by Burny Mattinson, who adapted it from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.
This featurette was produced by Walt Dinsey Productions and released by Buena Vista Distributions in 1983. Upon its release, it was well liked and enjoyed by the public. It was so popular that it was nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Academy Award in 1984. It was the first nomination for Mickey Mouse shorts after Mickey Mouse and the Seal.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was an interactive computer-animated children’s television series. This tv show aired on the Disney Channel from May 5, 2006, to November 6, 2016. It was produced by Disney Television Animation and is the first computer animated series aimed at preschoolers.
Bobs Gannaway created the series, and a total of 126 episodes were produced. The show’s premise was for the viewers to help the characters solve the problem during each episode. The show’s cast included Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald the Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.
During each episode, the problem would be explained, and Mickey would invite the viewers to join him at the Mousekedoer, which helped distribute the day’s Mouseketools to solve the day’s problems.
Mickey Mouse Funhouse
After Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ended, a replacement Mickey Mouse show was needed, which came in the form of Mickey Mouse Funhouse. It is also a computer-animated children’s television series created by Thomas Hart and Phil Weinstein.
This show is currently on-air after its premier in August 2021 and runs on Disney Junior. The show’s premise revolves around Mickey Mouse and his friends Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto, who meet Funny.
Funny is an enchanted and energetic playhouse that magically transports them to different destinations where they embark on unique adventures.
Mickey in Comics
Mickey also has his own comics. The first ever Mickey comic appeared after releasing fifteen commercially successful animated shorts. A late release of Mickey Mouse comics ensured that people were familiar with the character and the comic would not fail.
He appeared in comics for the first time in 1930, which were created by Walt Disney and the art by Ub Iwerks, while Win Smith did the inking. Soon after, Minnie Mouse was also added to the cast.
Many artists worked on the Mickey Mouse comics, including Iwerks, Win Smith, Floyd Gottfredson, Paul Murry, etc.
Mickey Mouse has been a pop culture icon since he was created in 1928. Disney has been able to market him into an entire franchise with films, tv shows, comics, toys, and more under his name.
Furthermore, Mickey and his iconic ears have also become one of the symbols of Disney, with Mickey Mouse ears being sold at Dinsey World worldwide. There is even a Mickey Mouse Club.
Furthermore, with shows and films directed at a younger audience, no one would not recognize Mickey Mouse with his iconic red shorts, yellow shoes, and white gloves. Even his silhouette is unique and recognizable, thanks to his popularity.