November 18, 2019, marks the 91st birthday of Mickey Mouse. Always remember that all of Disneyland was made possible because of a little cartoon mouse. Here are some pieces of trivia about the world-famous rodent called Mickey Mouse.
- A brief history of The Mouse. The first known appearance of Mickey Mouse as portrayed by an actor was in the Fanchon and Marco traveling stage show “Mickey Mouse Idea,” which premiered March 12, 1931, in Los Angeles. Popular vaudeville performer “Toots” Novelle was the man inside The Mouse. Mickey’s second appearance was at the premiere of the first full- length color animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) on December 21, 1937. The permanent appearance of Mickey Mouse, among other Disney characters, was at the grand opening of Disneyland on July 17, 1955. Disney didn’t have official character costumes yet, so he borrowed them from the Ice Capades. Since they were originally intended for ice skaters, there had obnoxious-looking holes in the face to provide the skater with visibility. The body part of the costume was also meant for a skater, so it was more humanoid than cartoon. Upon the park’s opening, Walt had never intended to have characters permanently walk around and greet people, says Disney Legend and Disneyland attraction designer John Hench, who designed the torch for the 1960 Winter Olympics. After seeing how enthusiastic people were to see the characters, Walt decided to make them permanent. The costume didn’t have set measurements and would sometimes be six feet tall, depending on the performer. It wasn’t until the 1961 design done by Bill Justice and John Hench did the costume increase in quality and appearance. With these new standards, Disney cast Paul Castle as a permanent Mickey Mouse performer. Paul had performed as Mickey Mouse in the Ice Capades. In the 1960s, there was a set of 10-12 full-time performers that worked five days a week (Disneyland used to be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays) in the characters, and another 40 part-time performers to work nights, weekends, and holidays. The newest Mickey Mouse was added in 2010 and could move his mouth and blink his eyes in synchronization with shows and performances, which later carried over to Meet and Greets in 2013, but only in Disney World. Hopefully, soon he will make his way to Disneyland.
- After getting fired from Universal as the director of the shorts Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney first drew Mickey during a train ride back to Los Angeles.
- Walt started calling him Mortimer Mouse, but Lillian didn’t like it so she suggested using a friendlier name. Walt suggested Mickey Mouse, and she agreed.
- Contrary to the popular belief, Steamboat Willie was not Mickey’s first film; it was actually Plane Crazy. Walt, Lillian, and Ub Iwerks worked in secret on the film in a garage behind the Disney’s home.
Plane Crazy had a sneak preview at a Hollywood movie house in May 1928. The film was received and liked very well, but the idea of Mickey Mouse on the big screen was shot down by the theater due to a lack of interest. This film had no audio yet, which is why most don’t count it as Mickey’s first film.
- Mickey’s second film was Gallopin’ Gaucho, August 7, 1928; also with no sound.
- The first two films, Plane Crazy and Gallopin’ Gaucho, cost Walt $2,500 each to create.
- Mickey’s third and most famous film, Steamboat Willie, played in the Colony Theater in New York on November 18, 1928.
- Now, Mickey’s official birthday is November 18, 1928.
- Walt’s main animator, Ub Iwerks, would lock himself in his office and could put out 300 drawings of Mickey Mouse in a single night.
- Walt was the first one to provide the voice for Mickey Mouse from 1929-1947. Walt was a smoker, which made his voice become raspy. Because of this, he couldn’t do the high pitch of Mickey’s voice. Mickey was then voiced by:
- Jimmy MacDonald (1947-1977)
- Wayne Allwine (1977-2009)
- Bret Iwan (2009-present)
- Chris Diamantopoulos (2013-present)
- Walt Disney provided the voice of Mickey Mouse until 1947. James MacDonald took over and was Mickey’s voice for three decades until he retired. In 1987, Wayne Allwine started providing Mickey’s voice until his death in 2009. Bret Iwan took over after Wayne passed, but only for the video games and other Mickey Mouse voice work. The current Mickey Mouse series that started in 2013 uses the voice of comedian Chris Diamantopoulos because Disney wanted a more retro sound to Mickey’s voice.
- Mickey’s first words ever spoken were “Hot Dogs” in the 1929 film Karnival Kid.
- The first merchandise to feature Mickey was a school tablet in 1929.
- Mickey Mouse is ranked the third most recognizable character in the world, right after Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald.
- Mickey Mouse is his name in America, in Sweden, he is Musse Pigg, in Iran, he is known as Mickey Moosh, in Iceland, they call him Mikki Mus, and in Italy, he is referred to as Topolino.
- In the 1930s, Betty Boop became more popular than Mickey Mouse.
- At one point, Max Fleischer’s (animator for Betty Boop and Superman in the ’30s and ’40s) Popeye the Sailor also surpassed Mickey in popularity.
- Animator Les Clark was the only one of Walt’s Nine Old Men to work on the Mickey Mouse cartoons from the beginning.
- Mickey received his own star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame on November 13, 1978.
- At the Fox Dome Theater located in Ocean Park CA, the first Mickey Mouse Club was formed in 1929. Following this startup, other Mickey Mouse Clubs started up in movie houses around the country.
- The first Mickey Mouse comic strip was published on January 13, 1930. They were drawn by Ub Iwerks back then. After that, Win Smith, Ub Iwerks’ assistant, drew them for 3 months. He was succeeded by Floyd Gottfredson, who drew the comic strip for 45 years.
- The first Mickey Mouse book was The Mickey Mouse Book, published in 1930 by Bibo-Lang.
- In 1932, a special Academy Award was given to Walt Disney for the creation of Mickey Mouse.
- The Encyclopedia Britannica gave Mickey Mouse his own entry in 1934.
- The first Mickey Mouse cartoon in color was The Band Concert, which premièred on February 23, 1935. The Silly Symphony Swings in California Adventure are themed after it.
- The last black and white cartoon was Mickey’s Kangaroo, which premièred April 13, 1935, only 1½ months after The Band Concert.
- In 1935, The League of Nations awarded Walt Disney a medal for the creation of Mickey Mouse.
- Mickey was originally drawn with circles for his head, body, and ears. In 1939, that design was changed to the more pear-shaped appearance we see now. Also, pupils were added to his eyes. The first film Mickey appeared in with his new features was The Pointer on July 21, 1939, and the first full-length feature, as Sorcerer Mickey, was Fantasia (1940).
- Fred Moore was the animator who redesigned Mickey with the new look. It is said that he was sweating bullets in a group meeting when the new look of Mickey was revealed to Walt. Then Walt said, “That’s the way I want Mickey to be drawn from now on.”
- The 1935 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was led by a 55-foot high Mickey Mouse.
- Mickey’s first appearance in a feature film was in Fantasia (1940), where he appeared in his most famous role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. His image was modified for this feature film debut to include eye pupils and a more three-dimensional appearance.
- One of Mickey’s greatest honors came in 1944 when the Allied Forces, under General Dwight D. Eisenhower, prepared to invade the continent of Europe. Eisenhower’s password for the mission was “Mickey Mouse.”
- Between 1928, Steamboat Willie, and 1995, Runaway Brain, Mickey Mouse starred in 120 films. However, there was a 30-year gap between The Simple Things in 1953 and Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983.
- According to Walt Disney, Mickey and Minnie Mouse have never been married on-screen. But, in 1933, during an interview with Film Pictorial, Walt said, “In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie… What it really amounts to is that Minnie is, for screen purposes, his leading lady.” Two years later in 1935, he told Louise Morgan in the News Chronicle “There’s no marriage in the land of make-believe. Mickey and Minnie must live happily ever after.” The discussion of Mickey and Minnie’s wedding has been fueled by the 1932 film Mickey’s Nightmare in which Mickey falls asleep in the armchair instead of meeting Minnie at the local dance. Mickey dreams of being married to Minnie and is surrounded by numerous little Mickey mice. Then in 1935, a cover for the sheet music “The Wedding of Mister Mickey Mouse” shows a picture of a beaming Mickey, dressed in a tux, leading Minnie, dressed in a veil, from the church to the happy cheering of Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow. This music was a Novelty Fox-trot with music by Franz Vienna and words by Edward Pola with special permission by Walt Disney.
- In 1950, Walt Disney started The Mickey Mouse Club television show.
- A 90-minute television show aired on November 19, 1978, to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 50th birthday. Guest appearances on the show were made by Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Lawrence Welk, Willie Nelson, Gene Kelly, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans, Edgar Bergen, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Eva Gabor, Anne Bancroft, Jo Anne Worley, and Burt Reynolds.
- The Runaway Brain was made in 1995. Dr. Frankenollie transplants Mickey’s brain. The name of Dr. Frankenollie was inspired by the famed animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
- Mickey Mouse’s favorite sayings are: “Gosh!” “Oh boy!” “That sure is swell!” “Aw, gee…” “See ya soon!”
- Mickey Mouse is the official greeter of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
- Animator Freddy Moore was tasked with redesigning Mickey in 1938 for the film Fantasia (1940). He worked on the Brave Little Tailor (1938) which was the last film Mickey was in with his solid-eyed appearance. He was in Society Dog Show (1939) with solid eyes, but that film was completed before Brave Little Tailor and released after it. After that, he had pupils, which was Fred’s idea.
- When Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) was released, it had been 30 years since Mickey Mouse had appeared in a short. His last was The Simple Things (1953).
- Let’s not forget that today is also the 91st birthday of Mickey’s leading lady, Minnie Mouse.
- The current voice of Minnie is performed by Russi Taylor from 1986-present. Russie had been married to the late Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey from 1977-2009 (due to his death).
- Most recently, the archive recordings of Marcellite Garner as Minnie Mouse, Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse, and Billy Bletcher as Pete, were used to voice their respective characters in the new animated short Get a Horse! (2013). It was released with Frozen (2013) in theaters.
Here is a full list of all the shorts Mickey Mouse was in.
|1928||Plane Crazy||1937||Moose Hunters|
|1928||The Gallopin’ Gaucho||1937||Mickey’s Amateurs|
|1928||Steamboat Willie||1937||Hawaiian Holiday|
|1929||The Barn Dance||1937||Clock Cleaners|
|1929||The Karnival Kid||1937||Lonesome Ghosts|
|1929||Mickey’s Choo-Choo||1938||Boat Builders|
|1929||Mickey’s Follies||1938||Mickey’s Trailer|
|1929||The Plowboy||1938||The Fox Hunt|
|1929||The Jazz Fool||1938||The Whalers|
|1929||Wild Waves||1938||Mickey’s Parrot|
|1929||Jungle Rhythm||1938||Brave Little Tailor|
|1929||Haunted House||1939||Society Dog Show|
|1930||Minnie’s Yoo Hoo||1939||Mickey’s Surprise Party|
|1930||The Barnyard Concert||1939||The Pointer|
|1930||Fiddling Around||1940||Tugboat Mickey|
|1930||The Cactus Kid||1940||Pluto’s Dream House|
|1930||The Fire Fighters||1940||Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip|
|1930||The Chain Gang||1941||The Little Whirlwind|
|1930||The Gorilla Mystery||1941||A Gentleman’s Gentleman|
|1930||The Picnic||1941||Canine Caddy|
|1930||Pioneer Days||1941||The Nifty Nineties|
|1931||The Birthday Party||1941||Orphans’ Benefit|
|1931||Traffic Troubles||1941||Lend a Paw|
|1931||The Castaway||1942||All Together|
|1931||The Moose Hunt||1942||Mickey’s Birthday Party|
|1931||The Delivery Boy||1942||Symphony Hour|
|1931||Mickey Steps Out||1943||Pluto and the Armadillo|
|1931||Blue Rhythm||1946||Squatter’s Rights|
|1931||Fishin’ Around||1947||Fun & Fancy Free|
|1931||The Barnyard Broadcast||1947||Mickey and the Beanstalk|
|1931||The Beach Party||1947||Mickey’s Delayed Date|
|1931||Mickey Cuts Up||1948||Mickey Down Under|
|1931||Mickey’s Orphans||1948||Pluto’s Purchase|
|1932||The Duck Hunt||1948||Mickey and the Seal|
|1932||The Grocery Boy||1949||Pueblo Pluto|
|1932||The Mad Dog||1951||Plutopia|
|1932||Barnyard Olympics||1951||R’coon Dawg|
|1932||Mickey’s Revue||1952||Pluto’s Party|
|1932||Musical Farmer||1952||Pluto’s Christmas Tree|
|1932||Mickey in Arabia||1953||The Simple Things|
|1932||Mickey’s Nightmare||1954||Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color|
|1932||Trader Mickey||1973||The Walt Disney Story|
|1932||The Whoopee Party||1983||Mickey’s Christmas Carol|
|1932||Touchdown Mickey||1986||DTV Valentine|
|1932||The Wayward Canary||1987||DTV ‘Doggone’ Valentine|
|1932||The Klondike Kid||1987||Down and Out with Donald Duck|
|1932||Mickey’s Good Deed||1987||Funny, You Don’t Look 200: A Constitutional Vaudeville|
|1933||Building a Building||1987||DTV Monster Hits|
|1933||The Mad Doctor||1988||Totally Minnie|
|1933||Mickey’s Pal Pluto||1988||Who Framed Roger Rabbit|
|1933||Mickey’s Mellerdrammer||1988||Mickey’s 60th Birthday|
|1933||Ye Olden Days||1988||Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Very Merry Christmas Songs|
|1933||The Mail Pilot||1990||The Muppets at Walt Disney World|
|1933||Mickey’s Mechanical Man||1990||Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Disneyland Fun|
|1933||Mickey’s Gala Premier||1990||The Prince and the Pauper|
|1933||Puppy Love||1991||Muppet*vision 3-D|
|1933||The Steeplechase||1991||The Best of Disney: 50 Years of Magic|
|1933||The Pet Store||1993||Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Friend Like Me|
|1934||Shanghaied||1993||Disney Sing-Along-Songs: The Twelve Days of Christmas|
|1934||Camping Out||1994||A Day at Disneyland|
|1934||Playful Pluto||1994||Mickey’s Fun Songs: Let’s Go to the Circus|
|1934||Gulliver Mickey||1994||Mickey’s Fun Songs: Campout at Walt Disney World|
|1934||Hollywood Party||1995||Disney Sing-Along-Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World|
|1934||The Hot Choc-late Soldiers||1995||A Goofy Movie|
|1934||Mickey’s Steam Roller||1995||Runaway Brain|
|1934||Orphan’s Benefit||1998||The Spirit of Mickey|
|1934||Mickey Plays Papa||1999||Disney’s Mouseworks Spaceship|
|1934||The Dognapper||1999||Mickey’s New Car|
|1934||Two-Gun Mickey||1999||How to Haunt a House|
|1935||Mickey’s Man Friday||1999||Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas|
|1935||Mickey’s Service Station||1999||Fantasia 2000|
|1935||Mickey’s Kangaroo||1999||Mickey Mouse Works|
|1935||Mickey’s Garden||2001||Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse|
|1935||Mickey’s Fire Brigade||2001||Mickey’s House of Villains|
|1935||Pluto’s Judgement Day||2001||House of Mouse|
|1935||On Ice||2003||The 75th Annual Academy Awards|
|1936||Mickey’s Polo Team||2003||Mickey’s PhilharMagic|
|1936||Orphans’ Picnic||2004||Mouse Heaven|
|1936||Mickey’s Grand Opera||2004||The Lion King 1½|
|1936||Thru the Mirror||2004||Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers|
|1936||Mickey’s Rival||2004||Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas|
|1936||Moving Day||2005||Mickey’s Around the World in 80 Days|
|1936||Alpine Climbers||2006||Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales|
|1936||Mickey’s Circus||2007||Mickey’s Great Clubhouse Hunt|
|1936||Mickey’s Elephant||2007||Mickey’s Treat|
|1937||The Worm Turns||2009||Mickey’s Adventures in Wonderland|
|1937||Magician Mickey||2006||Mickey Mouse Clubhouse|
|2013||Get A Horse|
Walt Disney had once said, “I hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a Mouse.” We shall never forget the history of the park.
If you liked these fun facts, you should get my book with over 3,700 fun facts about Disneyland and Disney movies www.DisneyGuy.org