Did you know that Mickey Mouse was not Walt Disney’s first successful cartoon personality? And did you know that Steamboat Willie was not Mickey’s public debut performance? Read on, my friend.
Oswald? Who is Oswald?
In January 1927, executives at Winkler Pictures told Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks that Universal Pictures was desiring to get back into the cartoon market, and that Disney and Iwerks should create a cartoon character that could be sold to Universal Pictures. At the suggestion of Carl Laemmle, Universal’s founder, Disney decided to make the new character a rabbit.
Ultimately, the rabbit was called Oswald, The Lucky Rabbit. Even though it took a few “versions” of Oswald before he was acceptable to Universal, when they released Trolley Troubles on September 5, 1927, with a “perfected” version of the character, it was favorably received, and Oswald became a hit.
The problem: Disney didn’t own Oswald. Universal owned him. So when Walt sought a raise, based on the success of his new character, he was, instead offered a 20% CUT in pay! As a result of this and some other “tricky” stuff the studio was pulling, Disney and Iwerks abandoned Oswald. He and his animators stopped working on the character and any additional cartoons, and eventually parted company with Universal.
Mickey Is Born
Walt and Iwerks secretly started developing a new character. Even though Disney was afraid of mice, it was a mouse in his office that inspired Mickey.
After Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse, Walt didn’t waste any time getting the character registered with the U.S. Patent Office, so there could be no repeat of the Oswald episode!
Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney in 1928, and from that point until 1947, Walt Disney provided his voice.
In May 1928, Mickey made his debut in a silent cartoon short called Plane Crazy. Sadly, it didn’t bowl anyone over at the studio, so it was shelved, but about six months later, on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York City, both Mickey and Minnie publicly debuted in another black-and-white film, an 8-minute short called Steamboat Willie.
Steamboat Willie was a hit, two stars were born, and ever since then, their fans have celebrated November 18, 1928 as Mickey’s and Minnie’s birthday.
Mickey Mouse Was First
Mickey Mouse is the first fictional character to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Mickey’s Star is located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. It was presented to him for the role he’s played all these years in animated films, and it was dedicated on his 50th Anniversary.
On Monday, November 13, 1978 – the 50th Anniversary of his appearance on the Silver Screen – right in front of Mann’s (formerly Grauman’s) Chinese Theater, Mr. Mouse received the 1,700th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Minnie was right there to cheer him on.
At this point, there are 17 animated characters (not all Disney) who have stars – but Mickey was the first.
Didja Know . . .
Plane Crazy, The Gallopin’ Gaucho, neither impressed the studio “powers that be.”
Mickey Mouse was First in a number of areas:
In 1929’s The Karnival Kid, the voice of Mickey Mouse became the very first of any animated characters to ever be heard in a film. Wanna know what he said? “Hot dogs!”
Mickey is the first (and only?) fictional character to be photographed with almost every U.S. President since Harry Truman.
Michael Theodore Mouse is the first fictional character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Friends of Mickey go back to Harry Truman, the first President of the United States to have his picture taken with Mickey. Since then, practically every President has posed with Mickey, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson and Barrack Obama. Apparently LBJ never visited Disneyland, and, while Obama did visit and speak at Disneyland, he was not photographed with Mickey.
It is said that Lillian Disney (Walt’s wife) didn’t care for the name “Mortimer” and convinced Walt and Ub to call him “Mickey” instead.
According to the Disney Unified Comics Wiki – Fandom – Mickey’s full name is Michael Theodore Mouse (https://scrooge-mcduck.fandom.com/wiki/Mickey_Mouse)
Walter Elias and Lillian Mouse (aka Walter Elias and Lillian Disney)
Minerva Mouse (aka Minnie)
Not Universally Known: In a 1933 interview, Walt Disney disclosed – unofficially – that, although there was never an announcement or an onscreen ceremony, and they don’t live together, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were married. You heard it here first!
As everyone knows, Pluto is Mickey’s dog, and, of course, Pluto is a famous movie star in his own right, but even if your dog isn’t famous, and he or she could stand a little “polishing,” click here to check out a fantastic new way to get him or her in shape.
Missed my November Pet Awareness Days? No problem, It’s right here https://wetnosecentral.com/november-pet-awareness-days/
Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Mickey Mouse, Cruise Blog, Updated: 30th March 2021, https://www.iglucruise.com/blog/2017/04/20/ten-facts-you-didnt-know-about-mickey-mouse
National Museum of American History
Mickey Mouse turns 90, by NMAH, May 15, 2018, https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/mickey-mouse-turns-90
Mickey Mouse’s Birthday, November 18, 2021,
Mickey, the Mouse Who Knows Presidents, by Walter Scott, Parade Magazine, November 13, 2013, https://parade.com/229690/walterscott/the-mouse-who-knows-presidents/
After 90 year wait, Minnie Mouse gets her Hollywood Moment, Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Sebastien Malo and Reuters Television; Editing by Tom Brown, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-minniemouse-star/after-90-year-wait-minnie-mouse-gets-her-hollywood-moment-idUSKBN1FB2ZW
Which Disney Characters Have Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?, Matthew Trzcinski, Published on March 23,, 2020, https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/which-disney-characters-have-stars-on-the-hollywood-walk-of-fame.html/
18 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Mickey Mouse, December 5, 2016, by Bridget Sharkey, https://www.simplemost.com/18-fun-facts-you-didnt-know-about-mickey-mouse/
St. Louis Post Dispatch
17 Fictional Characters with Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lee Digital Content Center, November 18, 2020, https://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/17-fictional-characters-with-stars-on-the-hollywood-walk-of-fame/collection_109905c5-2bc8-551f-903b-e1297224e4f1.html#2
The Disney Wiki
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/Oswald_the_Lucky_Rabbit
A Brief History of Mickey Mouse, by Claire Suddath, Tuesday, November 18, 2008, http://content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1859935,00.html
WPTV – West Palm Beach
Mickey and Minnie Mouse turn 91 years old on Monday, CNN Newsourse, November 18, 2019, https://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/water-cooler/mickey-and-minnie-mouse-turn-91-on-monday
Mickey Waving With White Gloves
200.0mm – f/9.0 – 1/500s – ISO 1600
Resolution 3072 x 2048
CC0 Public Domain – Free for commercial use
All other images in this post were found on Pixabay.com.
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