Forever young

  • TV
  • Sunday, 17 Nov 2013

World’s most famous cartoon character Mickey Mouse turns 85 today.

OH boy! The universally-recognised symbol of The Walt Disney Company, Mickey Mouse celebrates his birthday today.

We take a look at some Mickey trivia and how the beloved fictional character got to where he is today.

A Mouse is born

Mickey Mouse was created by founder Walt Disney and Academy Award-winning animator Ub Iwerks in 1928. The character was inspired by a pet mouse Disney had on his farm. He said he wanted Mickey to be much like screen legend Charlie Chaplin.

“We felt that the public, and especially the children, like animals that are cute and little. I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea. We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin — a little fellow trying to do the best he could,” Disney said.

He was originally named Mortimer but Walt’s wife Lilian Marie Bounds thought the name sounded too pompous. Thus, it was changed to the more affable-sounding Mickey! Mickey stands at 2 ft 3 in (69cm) and weighs 23 pounds (10kg).

Walt Disney and his honorary Oscar for creating Mickey Mouse in 1932.

Disney himself voiced Mickey from 1928 to 1947. Now you know where his high-pitched voice came from.

Bet you didn’t know this one; Mickey has a sister called Amelia Fieldmouse. Mickey is an uncle to Amelia’s twins Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse.

Getting animated

Mickey made his first appearance in Steamboat Willie on Nov 18, 1928. The animated short is also notable for being one of the first cartoons with synchronised sound. Mickey’s girlfriend Minnie Mouse also made her debut on this show. Mickey’s first ever spoken line was “Hot dogs!” in another animated short The Karnival Kid in 1929.

Later in 1935, Mickey made his first appearance in colour in The Band Concert, where he played a concert conductor. His co-stars in the show were Donald Duck and Goofy.

Mickey’s makeover

In 1939, animator Fred Moore gave Mickey a pear-shaped body, white eyes with pupils, shorter nose and introduced his trademark white gloves. His previous look was drawn in a series of circles, which contained his movement.

Mickey also got to show off the new look on his first full-length animated feature Fantasia in 1940. The dialogue-free film featured Mickey as a rookie wizard in the segment The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Star struck

Mickey has appeared in 133 short films since 1928.

In 1955, Mickey made regular appearances on a popular children’s variety show, Disney production The Mickey Mouse Club. Main cast members on the show were called Mouseketeers. The original series ran for four seasons and it was revived several times before its final run in 1996.

Some of today’s hottest stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling got their start in showbiz as Mouseketeers.

Mickey made cameo appearances in Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988 and TV special The Muppets At Walt Disney World in 1990. His other popular television shows include Mickey Mouse Works (1999-2000), Disney’s House Of Mouse (2001-2003) and the current Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Major milestones

In 1933, Mickey received mail from 800,000 fans, more than any other Hollywood star at that time.

In 1978, to mark his 50th birthday, Mickey became the first animated character to get his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has also received nine Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Short Film. He won one in 1941 with Lend A Paw.

In 1932, Disney received an honorary Oscar for creating Mickey.

He said Mickey’s endearing popularity with audiences is due to his relatable nature. “When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it’s because he’s so human, and that is the secret of his popularity. I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse,” Disney said. 

Catch Mickey Mouse animated shorts on Disney Channel (Astro Ch 615) at 10am and Mickey’s House of Villains on Disney XD (Astro Ch 617) at 12pm today.

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Forever young


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