Mickey Mouse’s long history

Mickey Mouse has existed for 95 years as of 2023-almost 100!



Mickey Mouse’s first film appearance, Steamboat Willie.

“M-I-C-K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E, that’s me!”

You may have heard that phrase on your TV before, coming from the iconic Disney character Mickey Mouse. Mickey is an animated mouse who’s essentially become the mascot for Disney’s company. Mickey Mouse has shown up in countless movies, shows, video games, and in various amusement parks.  Let’s go a bit deeper into his almost 100-year-old history!

Mickey Mouse wasn’t exactly intended to be made. Walt Disney is highly praised and famous for being one of the two founders of the company Disney, and one of the first characters he started off with was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. According to SciHi Blog, “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit used to be the star of Disney’s and he was one of the first cartoon characters that had personality. However, Disney lost the rights to the character and Mickey Mouse was intended to become the new star.” Disney realized that he would have to make his own character, so he altered some of Oswald’s features, making his ears shorter and obviously making him into a mouse. It was time to see how his new character would do in films.

Mickey’s first appearance occurred in a short film called “Plane Crazy.”  The basis of the film was Mickey building a plane to take Minnie Mouse, his girlfriend, on a trip. However, the film wasn’t liked in its test screening and was not released to the public until later on. “Steamboat Willie,” another film produced with Mickey appearing, had an opposite effect. As Time states, “…but then came Steamboat Willie, the first animation to feature synchronized music and sound effects, hit the screen. The film premiered in New York on Nov. 18, 1928 and was an instant hit.” Its popularity was partly due to it being the first animation with full synchronized sound and music and the plot and characters, but this was agreeably the film that attracted people to Mickey and started his rise to fame.

Changes in Mickey’s character design over the years (imgur.com)

Mickey would get his character redesigned many times, but one of the more significant ones came in 1935. This year, he, along with his band of friends, was first shown in full color in the film “The Band Concert.”

Walt Disney wanted to come up with some way to make a profit with Mickey, and he did. According to Medium, “By the 1950s, Mickey had a theme park, a newspaper comic strip, and, therefore, the Mickey Mouse Club, the hit television variety that has launched the careers of teenage stars from Annette Funicello to Justin Timberlake.” However, soon other Disney movie creations such as Bambi and Sleeping Beauty overshadowed other Mickey creations, putting Mickey in the background.

Today, Mickey Mouse is still a media icon, with his ears being so recognizable. Mickey has a show (the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), you can see and meet him at so many Disney owned amusement parks, he has shirts and merchandise, and so much more. Mickey Mouse has become a character many can always easily recognize.