Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse is a funny animal cartoon character and the mascot of The Walt Disney Company. He was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studios in 1928. An anthropomorphic mouse who typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves, Mickey is one of the world's most recognizable characters.

Created as a replacement for a prior Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey first appeared in the short Plane Crazy, debuting publicly in the short film Steamboat Willie (1928), one of the first sound cartoons. He went on to appear in over 130 films, including The Band Concert (1935), Brave Little Tailor (1938), and Fantasia (1940). Mickey appeared primarily in short films, but also occasionally in feature-length films. Ten of Mickey's cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of which, Lend a Paw, won the award in 1942. In 1978, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Beginning in 1930, Mickey has also been featured extensively as a comic strip character. His self-titled newspaper strip, drawn primarily by Floyd Gottfredson, ran for 45 years. Mickey has also appeared in comic books such as Disney Italy's Topolino, MM - Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine, and Wizards of Mickey, and in television series such as The Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1996) and others. He also appears in other media such as video games as well as merchandising and is a meetable character at the Disney parks.

Mickey generally appears alongside his girlfriend Minnie Mouse, his pet dog Pluto, his friends Donald Duck and Goofy, and his nemesis Pete, among others (see Mickey Mouse universe). Though originally characterized as a cheeky lovable rogue, Mickey was rebranded over time as a nice guy, usually seen as an honest and bodacious hero. In 2009, Disney began to rebrand the character again by putting less emphasis on his friendly, well-meaning persona and reintroducing the more menacing and stubborn sides of his personality, beginning with the video game Epic Mickey.[3]

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
First appearanceSteamboat Willie (November 18, 1928)
[1]
Created byWalt Disney
Ub Iwerks
Voiced byWalt Disney (1928–1966)
Carl W. Stalling (1929)
Clarence Nash (1934)
Jimmy MacDonald (1947–1977)
Wayne Allwine (1977–2009)[2]
Les Perkins (1986–1987)
Bret Iwan (2009–present)
Chris Diamantopoulos (2013–present)
(see voice actors)
Developed byLes Clark
Fred Moore
Floyd Gottfredson
Information
Alias
SpeciesMouse
GenderMale
OccupationDetective (MM - Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine)
FamilyMickey Mouse family
Significant otherMinnie Mouse
Pet dogPluto

Origin

Mickey Mouse concept art
Concept art of Mickey from early 1928; the sketches are the earliest known drawings of the character, from the collection of The Walt Disney Family Museum.

"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse."

— Walt Disney, Disneyland; October 27, 1954

Mickey Mouse was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an earlier cartoon character created by the Disney studio for Charles Mintz, a film producer who distributed product through Universal Studios.[4] In the spring of 1928, with the series going strong, Disney asked Mintz for an increase in the budget. But Mintz instead demanded that Walt take a 20 percent budget cut, and as leverage, he reminded Disney that Universal owned the character, and revealed that he had already signed most of Disney's current employees to his new contract. Angrily, Disney refused the deal and returned to produce the final Oswald cartoons he contractually owed Mintz. Disney was dismayed at the betrayal by his staff but determined to restart from scratch. The new Disney Studio initially consisted of animator Ub Iwerks and a loyal apprentice artist, Les Clark, who together with Wilfred Jackson were among the few who remained loyal to Walt. One lesson Disney learned from the experience was to thereafter always make sure that he owned all rights to the characters produced by his company.

In the spring of 1928, Disney asked Ub Iwerks to start drawing up new character ideas. Iwerks tried sketches of various animals, such as dogs and cats, but none of these appealed to Disney. A female cow and male horse were also rejected. They would later turn up as Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. A male frog was also rejected. It would later show up in Iwerks' own Flip the Frog series.[5] Walt Disney got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse from a tame mouse at his desk at Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri.[6] In 1925, Hugh Harman drew some sketches of mice around a photograph of Walt Disney. These inspired Ub Iwerks to create a new mouse character for Disney.[5] "Mortimer Mouse" had been Disney's original name for the character before his wife, Lillian, convinced him to change it, and ultimately Mickey Mouse came to be.[7][8] The actor Mickey Rooney claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name Mickey Mouse after him.[9] This claim, however, has been debunked by Disney historian Jim Korkis, since at the time of Mickey Mouse's development, Disney Studios had been located on Hyperion Avenue for several years, and Walt Disney never kept an office or other working space at Warner Brothers, having no professional relationship with Warner Brothers, as the Alice Comedies and Oswald cartoons were distributed by Universal.[10][11]

Design

Mickey Mouse head and ears
The silhouette of Mickey Mouse's head has become an iconic image

Throughout the earlier years, Mickey's design bore heavy resemblance to Oswald, save for the ears, nose, and tail.[12][13][14] Ub Iwerks designed Mickey's body out of circles in order to make the character simple to animate. Disney employees John Hench and Marc Davis believed that this design was part of Mickey's success as it made him more dynamic and appealing to audiences.

Mickey's circular design is most noticeable in his ears. In animation in the 1940s, Mickey's ears were animated in a more realistic perspective. Later, they were drawn to always appear circular no matter which way Mickey was facing. This made Mickey easily recognizable to audiences and made his ears an unofficial personal trademark. The circular rule later created a dilemma for toy creators who had to recreate a three-dimensional Mickey.

In 1938, animator Fred Moore redesigned Mickey's body away from its circular design to a pear-shaped design. Colleague Ward Kimball praised Moore for being the first animator to break from Mickey's "rubber hose, round circle" design. Although Moore himself was nervous at first about changing Mickey, Walt Disney liked the new design and told Moore "that's the way I want Mickey to be drawn from now on."

Each of Mickey's hands has only three fingers and a thumb. Disney said that this was both an artistic and financial decision, explaining "Artistically five digits are too many for a mouse. His hand would look like a bunch of bananas. Financially, not having an extra finger in each of 45,000 drawings that make up a six and one-half minute short has saved the Studio millions." In the film The Opry House (1929), Mickey was first given white gloves as a way of contrasting his naturally black hands against his black body. The use of white gloves would prove to be an influential design for cartoon characters, particularly with later Disney characters, but also with non-Disney characters such as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Mighty Mouse, and Mario.

Mickey's eyes, as drawn in Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho, were large and white with black outlines. In Steamboat Willie, the bottom portion of the black outlines was removed, although the upper edges still contrasted with his head. Mickey's eyes were later re-imagined as only consisting of the small black dots which were originally his pupils, while what were the upper edges of his eyes became a hairline. This is evident only when Mickey blinks. Fred Moore later redesigned the eyes to be small white eyes with pupils and gave his face a Caucasian skin tone instead of plain white. This new Mickey first appeared in 1938 on the cover of a party program, and in animation the following year with the release of The Pointer.[15] Mickey is sometimes given eyebrows as seen in The Simple Things (1953) and in the comic strip, although he does not have eyebrows in his most recent appearances.

Some of Mickey's early appearance, particularly the gloves, and facial characteristics, evolved from blackface caricatures used in minstrel shows.[16][17][18][19][20]

Besides Mickey's gloves and shoes, he typically wears only a pair of shorts with two large buttons in the front. Before Mickey was seen regularly in color animation, Mickey's shorts were either red or a dull blue-green. With the advent of Mickey's color films, the shorts were always red. When Mickey is not wearing his red shorts, he is often still wearing red clothing such as a red bandmaster coat (The Band Concert, The Mickey Mouse Club), red overalls (Clock Cleaners, Boat Builders), a red cloak (Fantasia, Fun and Fancy Free), a red coat (Squatter's Rights, Mickey's Christmas Carol), or a red shirt (Mickey Down Under, The Simple Things).

Animation history

Debut (1928)

Steamboat-willie
Mickey's first appearance in Steamboat Willie (1928).

Disney had Ub Iwerks secretly begin animating a new cartoon while still under contract with Universal. The cartoon was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Iwerks was the main animator for the short and reportedly spent six weeks working on it. In fact, Iwerks was the main animator for every Disney short released in 1928 and 1929. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising also assisted Disney during those years. They had already signed their contracts with Charles Mintz, but he was still in the process of forming his new studio and so for the time being they were still employed by Disney. This short would be the last they animated under this somewhat awkward situation.[1]

Mickey was first seen in a test screening of the cartoon short Plane Crazy, on May 15, 1928, but it failed to impress the audience and, to add insult to injury, Walt could not find a distributor. Though understandably disappointed, Walt went on to produce a second Mickey short, The Gallopin' Gaucho, which was also not released for lack of a distributor.[1]

Steamboat Willie was first released on November 18, 1928, in New York. It was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Iwerks again served as the head animator, assisted by Johnny Cannon, Les Clark, Wilfred Jackson and Dick Lundy. This short was intended as a parody of Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr., first released on May 12 of the same year. Although it was the third Mickey cartoon produced, it was the first to find a distributor, and thus is considered by The Disney Company as Mickey's debut. Willie featured changes to Mickey's appearance (in particular, simplifying his eyes to large dots) that established his look for later cartoons and in numerous Walt Disney films.[21][22]

The cartoon was not the first cartoon to feature a soundtrack connected to the action. Fleischer Studios, headed by brothers Dave and Max Fleischer, had already released a number of sound cartoons using the DeForest system in the mid-1920s. However, these cartoons did not keep the sound synchronized throughout the film. For Willie, Disney had the sound recorded with a click track that kept the musicians on the beat. This precise timing is apparent during the "Turkey in the Straw" sequence when Mickey's actions exactly match the accompanying instruments. Animation historians have long debated who had served as the composer for the film's original music. This role has been variously attributed to Wilfred Jackson, Carl Stalling and Bert Lewis, but identification remains uncertain. Walt Disney himself was voice actor for both Mickey and Minnie and would remain the source of Mickey's voice through 1946 for theatrical cartoons. Jimmy MacDonald took over the role in 1946, but Walt provided Mickey's voice again from 1955 to 1959 for The Mickey Mouse Club television series on ABC.

Audiences at the time of Steamboat Willie's release were reportedly impressed by the use of sound for comedic purposes. Sound films or "talkies" were still considered innovative. The first feature-length movie with dialogue sequences, The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson, was released on October 6, 1927. Within a year of its success, most United States movie theaters had installed sound film equipment. Walt Disney apparently intended to take advantage of this new trend and, arguably, managed to succeed. Most other cartoon studios were still producing silent products and so were unable to effectively act as competition to Disney. As a result, Mickey would soon become the most prominent animated character of the time. Walt Disney soon worked on adding sound to both Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho (which had originally been silent releases) and their new release added to Mickey's success and popularity. A fourth Mickey short, The Barn Dance, was also put into production; however, Mickey does not actually speak until The Karnival Kid in 1929 when his first spoken words were "Hot dogs, Hot dogs!" After Steamboat Willie was released, Mickey became a close competitor to Felix the Cat, and his popularity would grow as he was continuously featured in sound cartoons. By 1929, Felix would lose popularity among theater audiences, and Pat Sullivan decided to produce all future Felix cartoons in sound as a result.[23] Unfortunately, audiences did not respond well to Felix's transition to sound and by 1930, Felix had faded from the screen.[24]

Black and white films (1929–1935)

Mickey and Minnie - Building a Building
Mickey with Minnie Mouse in Building a Building (1933).

In Mickey's early films he was often characterized not as a hero, but as an ineffective young suitor to Minnie Mouse. The Barn Dance (March 14, 1929) is the first time in which Mickey is turned down by Minnie in favor of Pete.

The Opry House (March 28, 1929) was the first time in which Mickey wore his white gloves. Mickey wears them in almost all of his subsequent appearances and many other characters followed suit. The three lines on the back of Mickey's gloves represent darts in the gloves' fabric extending from between the digits of the hand, typical of glove design of the era.

When the Cat's Away (April 18, 1929), essentially a remake of the Alice Comedy, "Alice Rattled by Rats", was an unusual appearance for Mickey. Although Mickey and Minnie still maintained their anthropomorphic characteristics, they were depicted as the size of regular mice and living with a community many other mice as pests in a home. Mickey and Minnie would later appear the size of regular humans in their own setting. In appearances with real humans, Mickey has been shown to be about two to three feet high.[25] The next Mickey short was also unusual. The Barnyard Battle (April 25, 1929) was the only film to depict Mickey as a soldier and also the first to place him in combat. The Karnival Kid (1929) was the first time Mickey spoke. Before this he had only whistled, laughed, and grunted. His first words were "Hot dogs! Hot dogs!" said while trying to sell hot dogs at a carnival. Mickey's Follies (1929) introduced the song "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo" which would become the theme song for Mickey Mouse films for the next several years. The "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo" song sequence was also later reused with different background animation as its own special short shown only at the commencement of 1930s theater-based Mickey Mouse Clubs.[26][27] Mickey's dog Pluto first appeared as Mickey's pet in The Moose Hunt (1931) after previously appearing as Minnie's dog "Rover" in The Picnic (1930).

The Cactus Kid (April 11, 1930) was the last film to be animated by Ub Iwerks at Disney. Shortly before the release of the film, Iwerks left to start his own studio, bankrolled by Disney's then-distributor Pat Powers. Powers and Disney had a falling out over money due Disney from the distribution deal. It was in response to losing the right to distribute Disney's cartoons that Powers made the deal with Iwerks, who had long harbored a desire to head his own studio. The departure is considered a turning point in Mickey's career, as well as that of Walt Disney. Walt lost the man who served as his closest colleague and confidant since 1919. Mickey lost the man responsible for his original design and for the direction or animation of several of the shorts released till this point. Advertising for the early Mickey Mouse cartoons credited them as "A Walt Disney Comic, drawn by Ub Iwerks". Later Disney Company reissues of the early cartoons tend to credit Walt Disney alone.

Disney and his remaining staff continued the production of the Mickey series, and he was able to eventually find a number of animators to replace Iwerks. As the Great Depression progressed and Felix the Cat faded from the movie screen, Mickey's popularity would rise, and by 1932 The Mickey Mouse Club would have one million members.[28] At the 5th Academy Awards in 1932, Mickey received his first Academy Award nomination, received for Mickey's Orphans (1931). Walt Disney also received an honorary Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Despite being eclipsed by the Silly Symphonies short the Three Little Pigs in 1933, Mickey still maintained great popularity among theater audiences too, until 1935, when polls showed that Popeye was more popular than Mickey.[29][30][31] By 1934, Mickey merchandise had earned $600,000.00 a year.[32] In 1935, Disney began to phase out the Mickey Mouse Clubs, due to administration problems.[33]

About this time, story artists at Disney were finding it increasingly difficult to write material for Mickey. As he had developed into a role model for children, they were limited in the types of gags they could make. This led to Mickey taking more of a secondary role in some of his next films allowing for more emphasis on other characters. In Orphan's Benefit (August 11, 1934) Mickey first appeared with Donald Duck who had been introduced earlier that year in the Silly Symphonies series. The tempestuous duck would provide Disney with seemingly endless story ideas and would remain a recurring character in Mickey's cartoons.

Color films (1935–1953)

Mickey - The Band Concert
Mickey in The Band Concert (1935).
Mickey - Fantasia
Mickey in Fantasia (1940).

Mickey first appeared animated in color in Parade of the Award Nominees in 1932, however, the film strip was created for the 5th Academy Awards ceremony and was not released to the public. Mickey's official first color film came in 1935 with The Band Concert. The Technicolor film process was used in the film production. Here Mickey conducted the William Tell Overture, but the band is swept up by a tornado. It is said that conductor Arturo Toscanini so loved this short that, upon first seeing it, he asked the projectionist to run it again. In 1994, The Band Concert was voted the third-greatest cartoon of all time in a poll of animation professionals. By colorizing and partially redesigning Mickey, Walt would put Mickey back on top once again, and Mickey would reach popularity he never reached before as audiences now gave him more appeal.[34] Also in 1935, Walt would receive a special award from the League of Nations for creating Mickey.

However, by 1938, the more manic Donald Duck would surpass the passive Mickey, resulting in a redesign of the mouse between 1938 and 1940 that put Mickey at the peak of his popularity.[34] The second half of the 1930s saw the character Goofy reintroduced as a series regular. Together, Mickey, Donald Duck, and Goofy would go on several adventures together. Several of the films by the comic trio are some of Mickey's most critically acclaimed films, including Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935), Moose Hunters (1937), Clock Cleaners (1937), Lonesome Ghosts (1937), Boat Builders (1938), and Mickey's Trailer (1938). Also during this era, Mickey would star in Brave Little Tailor (1938), an adaptation of The Valiant Little Tailor, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Mickey was redesigned by animator Fred Moore which was first seen in The Pointer (1939). Instead of having solid black eyes, Mickey was given white eyes with pupils, a Caucasian skin colored face, and a pear-shaped body. In the 40's, he changed once more in The Little Whirlwind, where he used his trademark pants for the last time in decades, lost his tail, got more realistic ears that changed with perspective and a different body anatomy. But this change would only last for a short period of time before returning to the one in "The Pointer", with the exception of his pants. In his final theatrical cartoons in the 1950s, he was given eyebrows, which were removed in the more recent cartoons.

In 1940, Mickey appeared in his first feature-length film, Fantasia. His screen role as The Sorcerer's Apprentice, set to the symphonic poem of the same name by Paul Dukas, is perhaps the most famous segment of the film and one of Mickey's most iconic roles. The segment features no dialogue at all, only the music. The apprentice (Mickey), not willing to do his chores, puts on the sorcerer's magic hat after the sorcerer goes to bed and casts a spell on a broom, which causes the broom to come to life and perform the most tiring chore—filling up a deep well using two buckets of water. When the well eventually overflows, Mickey finds himself unable to control the broom, leading to a near-flood. After the segment ends, Mickey is seen in silhouette shaking hands with Leopold Stokowski, who conducts all the music heard in Fantasia. Mickey has often been pictured in the red robe and blue sorcerer's hat in merchandising. It was also featured into the climax of Fantasmic!, an attraction at the Disney theme parks.

After 1940, Mickey's popularity would decline until his 1955 re-emergence as a daily children's television personality.[35] Despite this, the character continued to appear regularly in animated shorts until 1943 (winning his only competitive Academy Award—with canine companion Pluto—for a short subject, Lend a Paw) and again from 1946 to 1952.

The last regular installment of the Mickey Mouse film series came in 1953 with The Simple Things in which Mickey and Pluto go fishing and are pestered by a flock of seagulls.

Television and later films

Mickey - House of Mouse
Mickey in Disney's House of Mouse (2001–2003).

In the 1950s, Mickey became more known for his appearances on television, particularly with The Mickey Mouse Club. Many of his theatrical cartoon shorts were rereleased on television series such as Ink & Paint Club, various forms of the Walt Disney anthology television series, and on home video. Mickey returned to theatrical animation in 1983 with Mickey's Christmas Carol, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in which Mickey played Bob Cratchit. This was followed up in 1990 with The Prince and the Pauper.

Throughout the decades, Mickey Mouse competed with Warner Bros.' Bugs Bunny for animated popularity. But in 1988, the two rivals finally shared screen time in the Robert Zemeckis Disney/Amblin film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Disney and Warner signed an agreement stating that each character had the same amount of screen time in the scene.

Similar to his animated inclusion into a live-action film on Roger Rabbit, Mickey made a featured cameo appearance in the 1990 television special The Muppets at Walt Disney World where he met Kermit the Frog. The two are established in the story as having been old friends. The Muppets have otherwise spoofed and referenced Mickey over a dozen times since the 1970s. Eventually, The Muppets were purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 2004.

His most recent theatrical cartoon short was 2013's Get a Horse! which was preceded by 1995's Runaway Brain, while from 1999 to 2004, he appeared in direct-to-video features like Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers and the computer-animated Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas.

Many television series have centered on Mickey, such as the ABC shows Mickey Mouse Works (1999–2000), Disney's House of Mouse (2001–2003), Disney Channel's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2016), and Mickey and the Roadster Racers (2017–). Prior to all these, Mickey was also featured as an unseen character in the Bonkers episode "You Oughta Be In Toons".

Mickey has recently been announced to star in two films. One is being based on the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort, while the other is a film idea pitched by Walt Disney Animation Studios veteran Burny Mattinson centering on Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.[36]

Since June 28, 2013, Disney Channel has been airing new 3-minute Mickey Mouse shorts, with animator Paul Rudish at the helm, incorporating elements of Mickey's late twenties-early thirties look with a contemporary twist.[37] The creative team behind the 2017 DuckTales reboot had hoped to have Mickey Mouse in the series, but this idea was rejected by Disney executives.[38]

In August 2018, ABC television announced a two-hour prime time special, Mickey's 90th Spectacular, in honor of Mickey's 90th birthday. The program featured never-before-seen short videos and several other celebrities who wanted to share their memories about Mickey Mouse and performed some of the Disney songs to impress Mickey. The show took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and was produced and directed by Don Mischer on November 4, 2018.[39][40] On November 18, 2018, a 90th anniversary event for the character was celebrated around the world.[41]

Voice actors

Walt disney portrait
Walt Disney (1901–1966), the co-creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of The Walt Disney Company, was the original voice of Mickey.

A large part of Mickey's screen persona is his famously shy, falsetto voice. From 1928 onward, Mickey was voiced by Walt Disney himself, a task in which Disney took great personal pride. However, by 1946, Disney was becoming too busy with running the studio to do regular voice work which meant he could not do Mickey's voice on a regular basis anymore. It is also speculated that his cigarette habit had damaged his voice over the years. After recording the Mickey and the Beanstalk section of Fun and Fancy Free, Mickey's voice was handed over to veteran Disney musician and actor Jimmy MacDonald. MacDonald voiced Mickey in the remainder of the theatrical shorts and for various television and publicity projects up until his retirement in 1977, although Walt would reprise Mickey's voice occasionally until his passing in 1966, such as in the introductions to the original 1955–1959 run of The Mickey Mouse Club TV series, the "Fourth Anniversary Show" episode of the Walt Disney's Disneyland TV series that aired on September 11, 1957 and the Disneyland USA at Radio City Music Hall show from 1962.[42]

Composer Carl W. Stalling was the very first person to provide lines for Mickey in the 1929 short The Karnival Kid. Clarence Nash voiced Mickey in the 1934 short The Dognapper since Walt was traveling in Europe at the time and was unavailable to record his lines for Mickey for that short. Along with Disney, J. Donald Wilson and Joe Twerp provided the voice in 1938 broadcasts of The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air.[43] Stan Freberg voiced Mickey in the Freberg-produced record Mickey Mouse's Birthday Party. Alan Young voiced Mickey in the Disneyland record album An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players in 1974, which would be the first and only time that Alan Young voiced him.[44][45]

The 1983 short film Mickey's Christmas Carol marked the theatrical debut of Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse, who was the official voice of Mickey from 1977 until his death in 2009.[46] Allwine once recounted something MacDonald had told him about voicing Mickey: "The main piece of advice that Jim gave me about Mickey helped me keep things in perspective. He said, 'Just remember kid, you're only filling in for the boss.' And that's the way he treated doing Mickey for years and years. From Walt, and now from Jimmy."[47] In 1991, Allwine married Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986.

Les Perkins did the voice of Mickey in two TV specials, "Down and Out with Donald Duck" and "DTV Valentine", in the mid-1980s. Peter Renaday voiced Mickey in the 1980s Disney albums Yankee Doodle Mickey and Mickey Mouse Splashdance.[48][49] He also provided his voice for The Talking Mickey Mouse toy in 1986.[50][51] Quinton Flynn briefly filled in for Allwine as the voice of Mickey in a few episodes of the first season of Mickey Mouse Works whenever Allwine was unavailable to record.[52]

Bret Iwan, a former Hallmark greeting card artist, is the current voice of Mickey. Iwan was originally cast as an understudy for Allwine due to the latter’s declining health; however, Allwine died before Iwan could meet him and Iwan became the new official voice of the character. Iwan’s early recordings in 2009 included work for the Disney Cruise Line, Mickey toys, the Disney theme parks and the Disney on Ice: Celebrations! ice show.[53] He directly replaced Allwine as Mickey for the Kingdom Hearts video game series and the TV series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. His first video game voice-over of Mickey Mouse can be heard in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Iwan also became the first voice actor to portray Mickey during Disney’s rebranding of the character, providing the vocal effects of Mickey in Epic Mickey as well as his voice in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and the remake of Castle of Illusion.

Despite Iwan being Mickey's primary voice actor, the character's voice is provided by Chris Diamantopoulos in the 2013 animated series,[54] as the producers were looking for a voice closer to Walt Disney’s portrayal of the character in order to match the vintage look of that series.[55]

Mickey in comics

Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse - Blaggard Castle
Mickey and Horace Horsecollar from the Mickey Mouse daily strip; created by Floyd Gottfredson and published December 1932.
Author(s)
Illustrator(s)
Websitemickey.disney.com/mickey
Current status/scheduleConcluded daily & Sunday; in reruns
Launch dateJanuary 13, 1930
End datec. 1994
Syndicate(s)King Features Syndicate (1930 – c. 1994)
Creators Syndicate (reruns)
Genre(s)humor, animals

Mickey first appeared in comics after he had appeared in 15 commercially successful animated shorts and was easily recognized by the public. Walt Disney was approached by King Features Syndicate with the offer to license Mickey and his supporting characters for use in a comic strip. Disney accepted and Mickey made his first comic strip appearance on January 13, 1930. The comical plot was credited to Disney himself, art to Ub Iwerks and inking to Win Smith. The first week or so of the strip featured a loose adaptation of "Plane Crazy". Minnie soon became the first addition to the cast. The strips first released between January 13, 1930, and March 31, 1930, has been occasionally reprinted in comic book form under the collective title "Lost on a Desert Island". Animation historian Jim Korkis notes "After the eighteenth strip, Iwerks left and his inker, Win Smith, continued drawing the gag-a-day format..."[64]

In early 1930, after Iwerks' departure, Disney was at first content to continue scripting the Mickey Mouse comic strip, assigning the art to Win Smith. However, Disney's focus had always been in animation and Smith was soon assigned with the scripting as well. Smith was apparently discontent at the prospect of having to script, draw, and ink a series by himself as evidenced by his sudden resignation.

Disney then searched for a replacement among the remaining staff of the Studio. He selected Floyd Gottfredson, a recently hired employee. At the time Gottfredson was reportedly eager to work in animation and somewhat reluctant to accept his new assignment. Disney had to assure him the assignment was only temporary and that he would eventually return to animation. Gottfredson accepted and ended up holding this "temporary" assignment from May 5, 1930, to November 15, 1975.

Walt Disney's last script for the strip appeared May 17, 1930.[64] Gottfredson's first task was to finish the storyline Disney had started on April 1, 1930. The storyline was completed on September 20, 1930, and later reprinted in comic book form as Mickey Mouse in Death Valley. This early adventure expanded the cast of the strip which to this point only included Mickey and Minnie. Among the characters who had their first comic strip appearances in this story were Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, and Black Pete as well as the debuts of corrupted lawyer Sylvester Shyster and Minnie's uncle Mortimer Mouse. The Death Valley narrative was followed by Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, first printed between September 22 and December 26, 1930, which introduced Marcus Mouse and his wife as Minnie's parents.

Starting with these two early comic strip stories, Mickey's versions in animation and comics are considered to have diverged from each other. While Disney and his cartoon shorts would continue to focus on comedy, the comic strip effectively combined comedy and adventure. This adventurous version of Mickey would continue to appear in comic strips and later comic books throughout the 20th and into the 21st century.

Floyd Gottfredson left his mark with stories such as Mickey Mouse Joins the Foreign Legion (1936) and The Gleam (1942). He also created the Phantom Blot, Eega Beeva, Morty and Ferdie, Captain Churchmouse, and Butch. Besides Gottfredson artists for the strip over the years included Roman Arambula, Rick Hoover, Manuel Gonzales, Carson Van Osten, Jim Engel, Bill Wright, Ted Thwailes and Daan Jippes; writers included Ted Osborne, Merrill De Maris, Bill Walsh, Dick Shaw, Roy Williams, Del Connell, and Floyd Norman.

The next artist to leave his mark on the character was Paul Murry in Dell Comics. His first Mickey tale appeared in 1950 but Mickey did not become a specialty until Murry's first serial for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories in 1953 ("The Last Resort"). In the same period, Romano Scarpa in Italy for the magazine Topolino began to revitalize Mickey in stories that brought back the Phantom Blot and Eega Beeva along with new creations such as the Atomo Bleep-Bleep. While the stories at Western Publishing during the Silver Age emphasized Mickey as a detective in the style of Sherlock Holmes, in the modern era several editors and creators have consciously undertaken to depict a more vigorous Mickey in the mold of the classic Gottfredson adventures. This renaissance has been spearheaded by Byron Erickson, David Gerstein, Noel Van Horn, Michael T. Gilbert and César Ferioli.

In Europe, Mickey Mouse became the main attraction of a number of comics magazines, the most famous being Topolino in Italy from 1932 on, Le Journal de Mickey in France from 1934 on, Don Miki in Spain and the Greek Miky Maous.

Mickey was the main character for the series MM Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine, published in Italy from 1999 to 2001.

In 2006, he appeared in the Italian fantasy comic saga Wizards of Mickey.

In 1958, Mickey Mouse was introduced to the Arab world through another comic book called “Sameer”. He became very popular in Egypt and got a comic book with his name. Mickey’s comics in Egypt are licensed by Disney and were published since 1959 by “Dar Al-Hilal” and they were success, however Dar Al-Hilal stopped the publication in 2003 because of problems with Disney. The comics were re-released by "Nahdat Masr" in 2004 and the first issues were sold out in less than 8 hours.[65]

Merchandising

Mickey Mouse Ingersoll watch 1933
A 1933 Ingersoll Mickey Mouse wrist watch.

Since his early years, Mickey Mouse has been licensed by Disney to appear on many different kinds of merchandise. Mickey was produced as plush toys and figurines, and Mickey's image has graced almost everything from T-shirts to lunchboxes. Largely responsible for Disney merchandising in the 1930s was Kay Kamen (1892–1949) who was called a "stickler for quality." Kamen was recognized by The Walt Disney Company as having a significant part in Mickey's rise to stardom and was named a Disney Legend in 1998.[66] At the time of his 80th-anniversary celebration in 2008, Time declared Mickey Mouse one of the world's most recognized characters, even when compared against Santa Claus.[67] Disney officials have stated that 98% of children aged 3–11 around the world are at least aware of the character.[67]

Mickey was most famously featured on wrist watches and alarm clocks, typically utilizing his hands as the actual hands on the face of the clock. The first Mickey Mouse watches were manufactured in 1933 by the Ingersoll Watch Company. The seconds were indicated by a turning disk below Mickey. The first Mickey watch was sold at the Century of Progress in Chicago, 1933 for $3.75 (equivalent to $73 in 2018). Mickey Mouse watches have been sold by other companies and designers throughout the years, including Timex, Elgin, Helbros, Bradley, Lorus, and Gérald Genta[68] The fictional character Robert Langdon from Dan Brown's novels was said to wear a Mickey Mouse watch as a reminder "to stay young at heart."[69]

In 1989, Milton Bradley released the electronic talking game titled Mickey Says, with three modes featuring Mickey Mouse as its host. Mickey also appeared in other toys and games, including the Worlds of Wonder released The Talking Mickey Mouse.

Fisher-Price has recently produced a line of talking animatronic Mickey dolls including "Dance Star Mickey" (2010)[70] and "Rock Star Mickey" (2011).[71]

In total, approximately 40% of Disney's revenues for consumer products are derived from Mickey Mouse merchandise, with revenues peaking in 1997.[67]

Mickey at the Disney parks

HKMickeyMinnieMainStreetSummer07
Minnie and Mickey at Hong Kong Disneyland (left) and Mickey's house at Mickey's Toontown (right)

As the official Walt Disney mascot, Mickey has played a central role in the Disney parks since the opening of Disneyland in 1955. As with other characters, Mickey is often portrayed by a non-speaking costumed actor. In this form, he has participated in ceremonies and countless parades. A popular activity with guests is getting to meet and pose for photographs with the mouse. As of the presidency of Barack Obama (who jokingly referred to him as "a world leader who has bigger ears than me")[72] Mickey has met every U.S. President since Harry Truman, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson.[14]

Mickey also features in several specific attractions at the Disney parks. Mickey's Toontown (Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland) is a themed land which is a recreation of Mickey's neighborhood. Buildings are built in a cartoon style and guests can visit Mickey or Minnie's houses, Donald Duck's boat, or Goofy's garage. This is a common place to meet the characters.[73]

Mickey's PhilharMagic (Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland) is a 4D film which features Mickey in the familiar role of symphony conductor. At Main Street Cinema several of Mickey's short films are shown on a rotating basis; the sixth film is always Steamboat Willie. Mickey plays a central role in Fantasmic! (Disneyland Resort, Disney's Hollywood Studios) a live nighttime show which famously features Mickey in his role as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Mickey was also a central character in the now-defunct Mickey Mouse Revue (Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland) which was an indoor show featuring animatronic characters. Mickey's face currently graces the Mickey's Fun Wheel at Disney California Adventure Park, where a figure of him also stands on top of Silly Symphony Swings.

In addition to Mickey's overt presence in the parks, numerous images of him are also subtly included in sometimes unexpected places. This phenomenon is known as "Hidden Mickey", involving hidden images in Disney films, theme parks, and merchandise.

Mickey in video games

Like many popular characters, Mickey has starred in many video games, including Mickey Mousecapade on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse, Mickey's Ultimate Challenge, and Disney's Magical Quest on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse on the Mega Drive/Genesis, Mickey Mouse: Magic Wands! on the Game Boy, and many others. In the 2000s, the Disney's Magical Quest series were ported to the Game Boy Advance, while Mickey made his sixth generation era debut in Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse, a Nintendo GameCube title aimed at younger audiences. Mickey plays a major role in the Kingdom Hearts series, as the king of Disney Castle and aide to the protagonist, Sora. King Mickey wields the Keyblade, a weapon in the form of a key that has the power to open any lock and combat darkness. Epic Mickey, featuring a darker version of the Disney universe, was released in 2010 for the Wii. The game is part of an effort by The Walt Disney Company to re-brand the Mickey Mouse character by moving away from his current squeaky clean image and reintroducing the mischievous side of his personality.[3]

Awards and honors

Mickey Mouse star in Walk of Fame
Mickey's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Mickey Mouse has received ten nominations for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. These are Mickey's Orphans (1931), Building a Building (1933), Brave Little Tailor (1938), The Pointer (1939), Lend a Paw (1941), Squatter's Rights (1946), Mickey and the Seal (1948), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), Runaway Brain (1995), and Get a Horse! (2013). Among these, Lend a Paw was the only film to actually win the award. Additionally, in 1932 Walt Disney received an honorary Academy Award in recognition of Mickey's creation and popularity.

In 1994, four of Mickey's cartoons were included in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons which listed the greatest cartoons of all time as voted by members of the animation field. The films were The Band Concert (#3), Steamboat Willie (#13), Brave Little Tailor (#26), and Clock Cleaners (#27).

On November 18, 1978, in honor of his 50th anniversary, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star is located on 6925 Hollywood Blvd.

Melbourne (Australia) runs the annual Moomba festival street procession and appointed Mickey Mouse as their King of Moomba (1977).[74]:17–22 Although immensely popular with children, there was controversy with the appointment: some Melburnians wanted a 'home-grown' choice, e.g. Blinky Bill; when it was revealed that Patricia O'Carroll (from Disneyland's Disney on Parade show) was performing the mouse, Australian newspapers reported "Mickey Mouse is really a girl!"[74]:19–20

Mickey was the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day 2005. He was the first cartoon character to receive the honor and only the second fictional character after Kermit the Frog in 1996.

Social impact

Use in politics

In the United States, protest votes are often made in order to indicate dissatisfaction with the slate of candidates presented on a particular ballot or to highlight the inadequacies of a particular voting procedure. Since most states' electoral systems do not provide for blank balloting or a choice of "None of the Above", most protest votes take the form of a clearly non-serious candidate's name entered as a write-in vote. Mickey Mouse is often selected for this purpose.[75][76] As an election supervisor in Georgia observed, "If [Mickey Mouse] doesn’t get votes in our election, it’s a bad election."[77] The earliest known mention of Mickey Mouse as a write-in candidate dates back to the 1932 New York City mayoral elections.[78]

Mickey Mouse's name has also been known to appear fraudulently on voter registration lists, such as in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.[79][80]

Pejorative use of Mickey's name

"Mickey Mouse" is a slang expression meaning small-time, amateurish or trivial. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it also means poor quality or counterfeit. However, in parts of Australia it can mean excellent or very good (rhyming slang for "grouse").[81] Examples of the former two of the three usages include the following:

  • In The Godfather Part II, Fredo's justification of betraying Michael is that his orders in the family usually were "Send Fredo off to do this, send Fredo off to do that! Let Fredo take care of some Mickey Mouse nightclub somewhere!" as opposed to more meaningful tasks.
  • In an early episode of the 1978–82 sitcom Mork & Mindy, Mork stated that Pluto was "a Mickey Mouse planet", referring to the future dwarf planet having the same name as Mickey's pet dog Pluto. Actually, the planet was named about 20 years before the dog was.
  • In 1984, just after an ice hockey game in which Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers beat the New Jersey Devils 13–4, Gretzky was quoted as saying to a reporter, "Well, it's time they got their act together, they're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on the ice". Reacting to Gretzky's comment, Devils fans wore Mickey Mouse apparel when the Oilers returned to New Jersey.[82]
  • In the 1993 Warner Bros. film Demolition Man, as Sylvester Stallone's character is fighting the malfunctioning AI of his out-of-control police car, he shouts for the system to "Brake! Brake! Brake now, you Mickey Mouse piece of shit!"[83]
  • In the 1996 Warner Bros. film Space Jam, Bugs Bunny derogatorily comments on Daffy Duck's idea for the name of their basketball team, asking: "What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would name a team 'The Ducks?'" (This also referenced the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, an NHL team that was then owned by Disney, as well as the Disney-made The Mighty Ducks movie franchise. This was referencing the Disney/Warner Brothers rivalry.)
  • In the United States armed forces, actions that look good but have little or no practical use (such as the specific manner of making beds in basic training or the polishing of brass fittings on board ship) are commonly referred to as "Mickey Mouse work."
  • In schools a "Mickey Mouse course", "Mickey Mouse major", or "Mickey Mouse degree" is a class, college major, or degree where very little effort is necessary in order to attain a good grade (especially an A) or one where the subject matter of such a class is not of any importance in the labor market.[84]
  • Musicians often refer to a film score that directly follows each action on screen as Mickey Mousing (also mickey-mousing and mickeymousing).[85]
  • Software company Microsoft has been derogatorily called "Mickeysoft".[86]
  • In the beginning of the 1980s, then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once called the European Parliament a "Mickey Mouse parliament", meaning a discussion club without influence.[87]
  • In the British sitcom Red Dwarf, in the episode "Quarantine", after the team's substandard equipment nearly cost them their lives, Lister pointed out, "We're a real Mickey Mouse operation, aren't we?" The Cat replied, "Mickey Mouse? We ain't even Betty Boop!"
  • The combined road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway used for the F1 U.S. Grand Prix has been described by Jacques Villeneuve and other competitors as "Mickey Mouse"[88] due to its slow uninteresting corners, and lack of challenging corners.

Parodies and criticism

Mickey Mouse's global fame has made him both a symbol of The Walt Disney Company and of the United States itself. For this reason, Mickey has been used frequently in anti-American satire, such as the infamous underground cartoon "Mickey Mouse in Vietnam" (1969). There have been numerous parodies of Mickey Mouse, such as the 2-page parody "Mickey Rodent" by Will Elder (published in Mad #19, 1955) in which the mouse walks around unshaven and jails Donald Duck out of jealousy over the duck's larger popularity.[89] The grotesque Rat Fink character was created by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth over his hatred of Mickey Mouse. In The Simpsons Movie, Bart Simpson puts a black bra on his head to mimic Mickey Mouse and says: "I'm the mascot of an evil corporation!"[90] On the Comedy Central series South Park, Mickey is depicted as the sadistic, greedy, foul-mouthed boss of The Walt Disney Company, only interested in money. He also appears briefly with Donald Duck in the comic Squeak the Mouse by the Italian cartoonist Massimo Mattioli.

In the 1969 parody novel Bored of the Rings, Mickey Mouse is satirized as Dickey Dragon.

In the fifth episode of the Japanese anime, Pop Team Epic, Popuko, one of the main characters, attempts an impression of Mickey, but does so poorly.

Legal issues

Like all major Disney characters, Mickey Mouse is not only copyrighted but also trademarked, which lasts in perpetuity as long as it continues to be used commercially by its owner. So, whether or not a particular Disney cartoon goes into the public domain, the characters themselves may not be used as trademarks without authorization.

Because of the Copyright Term Extension Act of the United States (sometimes called the 'Mickey Mouse Protection Act' because of extensive lobbying by the Disney corporation) and similar legislation within the European Union and other jurisdictions where copyright terms have been extended, works such as the early Mickey Mouse cartoons will remain under copyright until at least 2023. However, some copyright scholars argue that Disney's copyright on the earliest version of the character may be invalid due to ambiguity in the copyright notice for Steamboat Willie.[91]

The Walt Disney Company has become well known for protecting its trademark on the Mickey Mouse character—whose likeness is closely associated with the company—with particular zeal. In 1989, Disney threatened legal action against three daycare centers in the Orlando, Florida region (where Walt Disney World is a dominant employer) for having Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters painted on their walls. The characters were removed, and the newly-opened rival Universal Studios Florida allowed the centers to use their own cartoon characters with their blessing, to build community goodwill.[92]

Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates

In 1971, a group of underground cartoonists calling themselves the Air Pirates, after a group of villains from early Mickey Mouse films, produced a comic called Air Pirates Funnies. In the first issue, cartoonist Dan O'Neill depicted Mickey and Minnie Mouse engaging in explicit sexual behavior and consuming drugs. As O'Neill explained, "The air pirates were…some sort of bizarre concept to steal the air, pirate the air, steal the media….Since we were cartoonists, the logical thing was Disney."[93] Rather than change the appearance or name of the character, which O'Neill felt would dilute the parody, the mouse depicted in Air Pirates Funnies looks like and is named "Mickey Mouse". Disney sued for copyright infringement, and after a series of appeals, O'Neill eventually lost and was ordered to pay Disney $1.9 million. The outcome of the case remains controversial among free-speech advocates. New York Law School professor Edward Samuels said, "[The Air Pirates] set parody back twenty years."[94]

Copyright status

There have been multiple attempts to argue that certain versions of Mickey Mouse are in fact in the public domain. In the 1980s, archivist George S. Brown attempted to recreate and sell cels from the 1933 short "The Mad Doctor", on the theory that they were in the public domain because Disney had failed to renew the copyright as required by current law.[95] However, Disney successfully sued Brown to prevent such sale, arguing that the lapse in copyright for "The Mad Doctor" did not put Mickey Mouse in the public domain because of the copyright in the earlier films.[95] Brown attempted to appeal, noting imperfections in the earlier copyright claims, but the court dismissed his argument as untimely.[95]

In 1999, Lauren Vanpelt, a law student at Arizona State University, wrote a paper making a similar argument.[95][96] Vanpelt points out that copyright law at the time required a copyright notice specify the year of the copyright and the copyright owners name. The title cards to early Mickey Mouse films "Steamboat Willie", "Plane Crazy", and "Gallopin' Gaucho" do not clearly identify the copyright owner, and also misidentify the copyright year.[96] However, Vanpelt notes that copyright cards in other early films may have been done correctly, which could make Mickey Mouse "protected as a component part of the larger copyrighted films".[96]

A 2003 article by Douglas A. Hedenkamp in the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal analysed Vanpelt's arguments, and concludes that she is likely correct.[95][97] Hedenkamp provides additional arguments, and identifies some errors in Vanpelt's paper, but still finds that due to imperfections in the copyright notice on the title cards, Walt Disney forfeited his copyright in Mickey Mouse. He concludes that, "The forfeiture occurred at the moment of publication, and the law of that time was clear: publication without proper notice irrevocably forfeited copyright protection.[97]

Disney threatened to sue Hedenkamp for slander of title, but did not follow through.[95] The claims in Vanpelt and Hedenkamp's articles have not been tested in court.

Censorship

In 1930, the German Board of Film Censors prohibited any presentations of the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Barnyard Battle (1929). The animated short, which features the mouse as a kepi-wearing soldier fighting cat enemies in German-style helmets, was viewed by censors as a negative portrayal of Germany.[98] It was claimed by the board that the film would "reawaken the latest anti-German feeling existing abroad since the War".[99] The Barnyard Battle incident did not incite wider anti-Mickey sentiment in Germany in 1930; however, after Adolf Hitler came to power several years later, the Nazi regime unambiguously propagandized against Disney. A mid-1930s German newspaper article read:

Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed...Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal...Away with Jewish brutalization of the people! Down with Mickey Mouse! Wear the Swastika Cross![100][101][102]

American cartoonist and writer Art Spiegelman would later use this quote on the opening page of the second volume of his graphic novel Maus.

In 1935 Romanian authorities also banned Mickey Mouse films from cinemas, purportedly fearing that children would be "scared to see a ten-foot mouse in the movie theatre".[103] In 1938, based on the Ministry of Popular Culture's recommendation that a reform was necessary "to raise children in the firm and imperialist spirit of the Fascist revolution", the Italian Government banned foreign children's literature[104] except Mickey; Disney characters were exempted from the decree for the "acknowledged artistic merit" of Disney's work.[105] Actually, Mussolini's children were fond of Mickey Mouse, so they managed to delay his ban as long as possible.[106] In 1942, after Italy declared war on the United States, fascism immediately forced Italian publishers to stop printing any Disney stories. Mickey's stories were replaced by the adventures of Tuffolino, a new human character created by Federico Pedrocchi (script) and Pier Lorenzo De Vita (art). After the downfall of Italy's fascist government in 1945, the ban was removed.

Filmography

Mickey has been announced to star in two films. One is a live-action/CGI hybrid film based on the Magic Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort,[107] while the other is a film idea pitched by Walt Disney Animation Studios veteran Burny Mattinson centering on Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.[36]

Selected short films

Full-length films

DTV=Direct-to-Video

Television series

See also

References

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Bibliography

External links

Copyright Term Extension Act

The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. It is one of several acts extending the terms of copyrights.Following the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The 1976 Act also increased the extension term for works copyrighted before 1978 that had not already entered the public domain from 28 years to 47 years, giving a total term of 75 years.The 1998 Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever end is earlier. Copyright protection for works published before January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or (derisively) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively "froze" the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under this Act, works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 would not enter the public domain until January 1, 2019 or later. Mickey Mouse specifically, having first appeared in 1928, will be in a public domain work in 2024 or afterward (depending on the date of the product) unless the owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain before then. Unlike copyright extension legislation in the European Union, the Sonny Bono Act did not revive copyrights that had already expired. The Act did extend the terms of protection set for works that were already copyrighted, and is retroactive in that sense. However, works created before January 1, 1978, but not published or registered for copyright until recently, are addressed in a special section (17 U.S.C. § 303) and may remain protected until the end of 2047. The Act became Pub.L. 105–298 on October 27, 1998.

Crazy Castle (series)

The Crazy Castle series is an action-puzzle game series created by Kemco and released on the Famicom Disk System, NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. It stars different popular cartoon characters, most notably the Warner Bros. cartoon character Bugs Bunny and the Walt Disney cartoon character Mickey Mouse.

Disney's House of Mouse

Disney's House of Mouse is an American animated television series, produced by Walt Disney Television Animation (now Disney Television Animation), that originally aired for three seasons from 13 January 2001, to its finale on 24 October 2003. The show focuses on Mickey Mouse and his friends running a cartoon theater dinner club in the fictional Toontown, catering to many characters from Disney cartoons and animated movies while showcasing a variety of their cartoon shorts. The animated series is a spin off of the popular short-lived Disney series Mickey Mouse Works, and featured many Mouse Works shorts as well as selection of brand new shorts.

During its time, the animated series held two nominations for awards, while select cast members won two awards for their performances as characters in House of Mouse. The series featured two special films - Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, and Mickey's House of Villains - along with an all night marathon of the House of Mouse, aired on Toon Disney in September 2002 under the title "Night of 1000 Toons".

Donald Duck

Donald Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor shirt and cap with a bow tie. Donald is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and temperamental personality. Along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters and was included in TV Guide's list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time in 2002. He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character, and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre.Donald Duck rose to fame with his comedic roles in animated cartoons. Donald's first appearance was in 1934 in The Wise Little Hen, but it was his second appearance in Orphan's Benefit which introduced him as a temperamental comic foil to Mickey Mouse. Throughout the next two decades, Donald appeared in over 150 theatrical films, several of which were recognized at the Academy Awards. In the 1930s, he typically appeared as part of a comic trio with Mickey and Goofy and was given his own film series in 1937 starting with Don Donald. These films introduced Donald's love interest Daisy Duck and often included his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. After the 1956 film Chips Ahoy, Donald appeared primarily in educational films before eventually returning to theatrical animation in Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983). His most recent appearance in a theatrical film was 1999's Fantasia 2000. Donald has also appeared in direct-to-video features such as Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), television series such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2016), and video games such as QuackShot (1991).Beyond animation, Donald is primarily known for his appearances in comics. Donald was most famously drawn by Al Taliaferro, Carl Barks, and Don Rosa. Barks, in particular, is credited for greatly expanding the "Donald Duck universe", the world in which Donald lives, and creating many additional characters such as Donald's rich uncle Scrooge McDuck. Donald has been a very popular character in Europe, particularly in Nordic countries where his weekly magazine Donald Duck & Co was the most popular comics publication from the 1950s to 2009. Donald is also very popular in Italy, where he is major character in many comics in which his juvenile version Paperino Paperotto and his superhero alter-ego Paperinik (Duck Avenger in the US and Superduck in the UK) were created.

Get a Horse!

Get a Horse! is a 2013 American 3D animated slapstick comedy short film, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Combining black-and-white hand-drawn animation and color CGI animation, the short features the characters of the late 1920s Mickey Mouse cartoons, and features archival recordings of Walt Disney in his posthumous role as Mickey Mouse. It is the first original Mickey Mouse theatrical animated short since Runaway Brain (1995), and the first appearance of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in a Disney animated production in 85 years.

Japanese government-issued Philippine peso

During World War II in the Philippines, the occupying Japanese government-issued fiat currency in several denominations; this is known as the Japanese government-issued Philippine fiat peso (see also Japanese invasion money). The Second Philippine Republic under President José P. Laurel outlawed possession of guerrilla currency, and declared a monopoly on the issuance of money, so that anyone found to possess guerrilla notes could be arrested or even executed.

Some Filipinos called the fiat peso "Mickey Mouse money". Many survivors of the war tell stories of going to the market laden with suitcases or "bayóng" (native bags made of woven coconut or buri leaf strips) overflowing with the Japanese-issued bills. According to one witness, 75 "Mickey Mouse" pesos, or about 35 U.S. dollars at that time, could buy one duck egg. In 1944, a box of matches cost more than 100 Mickey Mouse pesos.These bills were often used by American psychological warfare personnel as propaganda leaflets. Japanese occupation banknotes were overprinted with the words "The Co-prosperity Sphere: What is it worth?", in an attempt to discredit the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and dropped from Allied aircraft over the occupied territories.

List of Disney animated shorts

This is a list of animated short films produced by Walt Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios from 1921 to the present. This includes films produced at the Laugh-O-Gram Studio which Disney founded in 1921 as well as the animation studio now owned by The Walt Disney Company, previously called the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (1923), The Walt Disney Studio (1926), Walt Disney Productions (1929), and Walt Disney Feature Animation (1986).

This list does not include:

Segments of feature-length package films later released individually (see List of Disney theatrical animated features)

Animated cartoon segments originally made for television (e.g. Disney's House of Mouse or the Mickey Mouse TV series)

Short films which contain animation but are primarily live-action (see List of Disney live-action shorts)

Short films which contain no new animation (i.e., films re-edited from other films)

Pixar short filmsA gold star () indicates an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, while a silver star () indicates a nomination.

List of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes

This is a full list of episodes from the Disney TV series, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Season 1 has the Mousekedoer song's original lyrics. Season 2 and 3 have the new Mouskedoer lyrics heard in Disney-MGM Studios before it became Disney's Hollywood Studios and the one in Playhouse Disney Live on Tour. In the beginning of season three Disney announced that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was renewed for a fourth season, set to air on Disney Junior in the summer of 2012. Season 4 contains 26 episodes. According to Bill Farmer, the voice actor for Goofy and Pluto, the recording of dialog for new episodes has ceased.

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a 1983 American animated featurette produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution. It was directed and produced by Burny Mattinson. The cartoon is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, starring Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge. Many other Disney characters, primarily from the Mickey Mouse universe, Robin Hood, and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, were cast throughout the film.

Mickey's Christmas Carol was largely an animated adaptation of a Disneyland Records 1974 audio musical entitled An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol. The musical featured similar dialogue and cast of characters with the exception of the first and last Christmas ghosts. Further, the songs from the record album version were not used in the animated film, although an opening chorus of a new song was heard of the credits.

This was the first original Mickey Mouse theatrical cartoon produced in over 30 years. With the exception of re-releases, Mickey had not appeared in movie theaters since the short film The Simple Things (1953). Many additional characters seen in the film had also not appeared in a theatrical cartoon for several decades. The film was also the last time in which Clarence Nash voiced Donald Duck. Nash was the only original voice actor in the film as Walt Disney (Mickey Mouse) and Pinto Colvig (Goofy) had died in the 1960s, Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket) and Billy Gilbert (Willie the Giant) in 1971, and Billy Bletcher (Pete and the Big Bad Wolf) in 1979. It was also the first time in animation that Scrooge McDuck (as Ebenezer Scrooge) was voiced by actor Alan Young (who had first voiced the character on the musical album); Young would continue to be the primary voice actor for McDuck until the actor's death in 2016.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1984, but lost to Jimmy Picker's Sundae in New York.

It was the first nomination for a Mickey Mouse short since Mickey and the Seal (1948). It was also the only Mickey Mouse short on which John Lasseter was involved as an animator (he later went on to work for Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios).

Mickey Mouse (TV series)

Mickey Mouse is an American animated television series produced by Disney Television Animation. Featuring classic Disney cartoon characters Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto in contemporary settings such as Paris, Venice, Tokyo and New York, the series has the slapstick feel of the earliest Mickey Mouse shorts while providing a modern update with the extensive use of Toon Boom and Flash animation, and "presents Mickey in a broad range of humorous situations that showcase his pluck and rascality, along with his long-beloved charm and good heartedness". The animation is provided by Mercury Filmworks.It is developed and executive produced by Emmy Award-winning artist Paul Rudish, who was the co-creator of the Cartoon Network television series Sym-Bionic Titan and is also the series' supervising director, while Joseph Holt is the series' art director. On September 15, 2013, Paul Rudish, Jenny Gase-Baker and Joseph Holt won three Emmy Awards for their work on the series.

The first episode, "Croissant de Triomphe", was first released as a special preview on March 12, 2013 on Disney.com. The series officially premiered on June 28, 2013 on Disney Channel, followed by the releases on Disney.com and Watch Disney Channel. A total of 18 episodes aired in the first season while the second season, premiering on April 11, 2014, consisting of 19 episodes. The third season premiered on July 17, 2015 with 20 episodes aired. The fourth season premiered on June 9, 2017 with 19 episodes aired. The fifth season premiered on October 6, 2018.

Mickey Mouse (comic book)

Mickey Mouse (titled Mickey Mouse and Friends from issues #257–303) is a comic book series that has a long-running history, first appearing in 1941 as part of the Four Color one-shot series. It received its own numbering system with issue #28 (1953), and is currently published by IDW Publishing.

The book emphasizes stories with Mickey and his supporting cast: Goofy, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse. Mickey's perpetual rival is the criminal Peg-Leg Pete (sometimes "Black Pete", "Sneaky Pete" or "Big Bad Pete"). Other adversaries have included Emil Eagle, Eli Squinch, Sylvester Shyster, the team of Dangerous Dan McBoo and Idjit the Midget, and the Phantom Blot. Two major artistic influences on the appearance of Mickey in comics are Floyd Gottfredson, who drew the Mickey Mouse daily newspaper strip from 1930 to 1975, and comic book artist Paul Murry, who drew Mickey stories from 1950 to 1984.

Mickey Mouse (film series)

Mickey Mouse (originally Mickey Mouse Sound Cartoons) is a character-based series of 130 animated short films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The films, which introduced Disney's most famous cartoon character, were released on a regular basis from 1928 ("Plane Crazy") to 1953 with four additional shorts released between 1983 and 2013. The series is notable for its innovation with sound synchronization and character animation, and also introduced well-known characters such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy.

The name "Mickey Mouse" was first used in the films' title sequences to refer specifically to the character, but was used from 1935 to 1953 to refer to the series itself as in "Walt Disney presents a Mickey Mouse." In this sense "a Mickey Mouse" was a shortened form of "a Mickey Mouse sound cartoon" which was used in the earliest films. Films from 1929 to 1935 which were re-released during this time also used this naming convention, but it was not used for the three shorts released between 1983 and 1995 (Mickey's Christmas Carol, The Prince and the Pauper, and Runaway Brain). Mickey's name was also used occasionally to market other films which were formally part of other series. Examples of this include several Silly Symphonies, Don Donald (1937), and Goofy and Wilbur (1939).

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is an American interactive computer-animated children's television series which aired from May 5, 2006 to November 6, 2016. The series, Disney Television Animation's first computer-animated series, is aimed at preschoolers. Bobs Gannaway, the Disney veteran who created it, is also responsible for other preschool shows, such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and for Disneytoon Studios films including Secret of the Wings, The Pirate Fairy and Planes: Fire & Rescue. The final episode aired on November 6, 2016.

Mickey Mouse Works

Mickey Mouse Works (also known as Disney's Mickey Mouse Works) is an American animated television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends in a series of animated shorts. It is the first Disney television animated series to be broadcast on ABC’s Saturday morning block, Disney’s One Saturday Morning.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Ludwig Von Drake all star in their own segments while Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Chip 'n Dale, Scrooge McDuck, Pete, Humphrey the Bear, J. Audubon Woodlore, Dinah the Dachshund, Butch the Bulldog, Mortimer Mouse and Clara Cluck appear as supporting characters. Musical themes for each character were composed by Stephen James Taylor with a live 12-piece band and extensive use of the fretless guitar to which the music of the series was nominated for an Annie Award in both 1999 and 2000. The shorts from the series were later used in Disney's House of Mouse.

Mickey Mouse universe

The Mickey Mouse universe is a fictional shared universe which is the setting for stories involving Disney cartoon characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck and many other characters. The universe originated from the Mickey Mouse animated short films produced by Disney starting in 1928, but its first consistent version was created by Floyd Gottfredson in the Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip. Real-world versions also exist in Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, called Mickey's Toontown.

Since 1990, the actual city in which Mickey lives is typically called Mouseton, and is often depicted as the city next to Duckburg, the city in which Donald Duck lives (see Donald Duck universe). According to traditional continuity, both cities are located in the fictional U.S. state of Calisota – analogous to Northern California.

The most consistent aspect of the Mickey Mouse universe is the characters. The most well-known include Mickey's girlfriend Minnie, pet dog Pluto, friends Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, and nemesis Pete. Some Disney productions incorporate characters from Disney's animated feature films, such as Bath Day (1946; in which Figaro from Pinocchio appears as Minnie's cat), Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), and – most extensively – Disney's House of Mouse (2001–2003).

The term "Mickey Mouse universe" is not officially used by The Walt Disney Company, but it has been used by Disney comics author and animation historian David Gerstein. The Walt Disney Company typically uses terms such as Mickey & Friends or Mickey & the Gang to refer to the character franchise.

Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse is a funny animal cartoon character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney. She and Mickey Mouse were first drawn by Ub Iwerks in 1928. The comic strip story "The Gleam" (published January 19–May 2, 1942) by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson first gave her full name as Minerva Mouse, although this is seldom used.

The comic strip story "Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers" (published September 22–December 26, 1930) introduced her father Marcus Mouse and her unnamed mother, both farmers. The same story featured photographs of Minnie's uncle Milton Mouse with his family and her grandparents Marshal Mouse and Matilda Mouse. Her best-known relatives, however, remain her uncle Mortimer Mouse and her twin nieces, Millie and Melody Mouse, though most often a single niece, Melody, appears. In many appearances, Minnie is presented as the girlfriend of Mickey Mouse, a close friend of Daisy Duck, and a friend to Clarabelle Cow.

On January 22, 2018, she joined the ranks of other animated celebrities (including Mickey Mouse) by receiving her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Pete (Disney)

Pete (also called Peg-Leg Pete, Pistol Pete and Black Pete, among other names) is an anthropomorphic cartoon character created in 1925 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. He is a character of The Walt Disney Company and often appears as a nemesis and the main antagonist in Mickey Mouse universe stories. He was originally an anthropomorphic bear but with the advent of Mickey Mouse in 1928, he was defined as a cat. Pete is the oldest continuing Disney character, having debuted three years before Mickey Mouse in the cartoon Alice Solves the Puzzle (1925).

Pete appeared in 67 animated short films between 1925 and 1954, having been featured in the Alice Comedies and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons, and later in the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy cartoons. Pete's final appearance during this era was The Lone Chipmunks (1954), which was the final installment of a three-part Chip an' Dale series. He also appeared in the short films Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983), The Prince and the Pauper (1990), Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004), and Get a Horse! (2013).

Pete has also made many appearances in Disney comics, and often appeared as Sylvester Shyster's dimwitted sidekick in the Mickey Mouse comic strip. In the Italian comic production he has come to be the central character in comics from time to time. Pete later made several appearances in television, most extensively in Goof Troop (1992–1993) where he was given more continuity, having a family and a regular job as a used car salesman and is a friend (albeit a poor one) to Goofy. He reprises this incarnation in 1999's Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. Pete also appears in House of Mouse (2001–03) as the greedy property owner who's always trying devious ways and loop holes to get the club shut down.

Although Pete is often typecast as a villain, he has shown great versatility within the role, playing everything from a hardened criminal (The Dognapper, The Lone Chipmunks) to a legitimate authority figure (Moving Day, Donald Gets Drafted, Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip), and from a menacing trouble maker (Building a Building, Trombone Trouble) to a victim of mischief himself (Timber, The Vanishing Private). On some occasions, Pete has even played a sympathetic character, all the while maintaining his underlying menacing nature. (Symphony Hour, How to Be a Detective) He seems to have lost much of his antagonistic demeanor in his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse appearances and is today a largely friendly character, although his antics can occasionally prove an annoyance.

Pluto (Disney)

Pluto, also called Pluto the Pup, is a cartoon dog created in 1930 at Walt Disney Productions. He is a yellow-orange color, medium-sized, short-haired dog with black ears. Unlike most Disney characters, Pluto is not anthropomorphic beyond some characteristics such as facial expression. He is Mickey Mouse's pet. Officially a mixed-breed dog, he made his debut as a bloodhound in the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Chain Gang. Together with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Goofy, Pluto is one of the "Sensational Six"—the biggest stars in the Disney universe. Though all six are non-human animals, Pluto alone is not dressed as a human.Pluto debuted in animated cartoons and appeared in 24 Mickey Mouse films before receiving his own series in 1937. All together Pluto appeared in 89 short films between 1930 and 1953. Several of these were nominated for an Academy Award, including The Pointer (1939), Squatter's Rights (1946), Pluto's Blue Note (1947), and Mickey and the Seal (1948). One of his films, Lend a Paw (1941), won the award in 1942. Because Pluto does not speak, his films generally rely on physical humor. This made Pluto a pioneering figure in character animation, by expressing personality through animation rather than dialogue.Like all of Pluto's co-stars, the dog has appeared extensively in comics over the years, first making an appearance in 1931. He returned to theatrical animation in 1990 with The Prince and the Pauper and has also appeared in several direct-to-video films. Pluto also appears in the television series Mickey Mouse Works (1999–2000), House of Mouse (2001–2003), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2016), and the new Mickey Mouse shorts (2013–present).

In 1998, Disney's copyright on Pluto, set to expire in several years, was extended by the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Disney, along with other studios, lobbied for passage of the act to preserve their copyrights on characters such as Pluto for 20 additional years.

The Mickey Mouse Club

The Mickey Mouse Club is an American variety television show that aired intermittently from 1955 to 1996 and returned in 2017 to social media. Created by Walt Disney and produced by Walt Disney Productions, the program was first televised for four seasons, from 1955 to 1959, by ABC. This original run featured a regular but ever-changing cast of mostly teen performers. ABC broadcast reruns weekday afternoons during the 1958–1959 season, airing right after American Bandstand. The show was revived three times after its initial 1955–1959 run on ABC, first from 1977–1979 for first-run syndication as The New Mickey Mouse Club, then from 1989–1996 as The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (also known to fans as MMC from 1993–1996) airing exclusively on cable television's The Disney Channel, and again in 2017 with the moniker Club Mickey Mouse airing exclusively on internet social media.

Mickey Mouse himself appeared in every show not only in vintage cartoons originally made for theatrical release but in opening, interstitial, and closing segments made especially for the show. In both the vintage cartoons and new animated segments, Mickey was voiced by his creator Walt Disney. (Disney had previously voiced the character theatrically from 1928 to 1947 before being replaced by sound effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.)

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