11 surprising things about Mickey Mouse on his birthday
Oh Mickey, you’re so fine — even if you are in your 80s.
The beloved animated character and official mascot of Disney World turned 87 on Wednesday.
Mickey Mouse was born from Walt Disney’s imagination on Nov. 18, 1928, when he appeared in his first cartoon.
Since then, the friendly mouse has racked up goals even celebrities can’t compete with.
Disney’s big cheese has appeared in over 130 films and even scored an Academy award.
Here are 11 surprising things to know about Mickey Mouse’s rise to fame, in celebration of his birthday:
11. Mickey’s story started with another big-ear creature, a rabbit.
Mickey’s predecessor: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Walt Disney created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927 and it was a hit with Universal Studios, which ordered a series of shorts based on the character.
Yet, the success didn’t secure Disney’s future.
When the young visionary asked for more money, Universal stole his employees, retained the rights to Oswald and offered to keep its creator at a low salary, according to Time magazine.
10. Disney created Mickey after a spat with Universal Studios
An even more determined Disney worked long hours, brainstorming a replacement for Oswald.
With shorter ears, and a fatter belly, Mickey Mouse was born.
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9. Meet Mortimer Mouse
The Oswald substitute was first named Mortimer Mouse.
Disney’s wife’s suggested Disney nix the moniker, calling it pompous, according to a Disney biography called “Walt Disney: Conversations.”
An early drawing of Mickey Mouse, which was used for Mickey’s film debut.
Walt Disney quickly expanded Mickey’s fame with merchandise.
8. Mickey was not an instant hit
Unlike Oswald the rabbit’s intant fame, Mickey’s success took longer.
He first appeared in a test screening for cartoon short, “Plane Crazy” in May 1928.
It was a dud. Another flop, which also wasn’t released, followed, called “The Gallopin’ Gaucho.”
7. Mickey finally makes his debut
Mickey’s official debut was in “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, which Disney credits as Mickey’s birthday.
Mickey is one of only three Disney characters (Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse) with recognized birthdays.
6. The innovation behind Mickey
Disney incorporated new technology into his Mickey creation, setting him apart from other cartoonists.
“Steamboat Willie” featured synchronized music and sound effects — still a breakthrough of the time.
5. A pricey creation
It cost $ 2,500 to make Mickey’s films in 1928. That’s roughly $ 35,000 today.
Only a few years later, in 1935, Mickey was appearing in color, creating an almost impossible competition for other studios, who couldn’t financially keep up.
Today, Mickey Mouse has appeared in less films and can be seen in three-minute shorts on the Disney Channel.
4. Mickey’s take-off
By the end of 1928, Mickey was arguably the cartoon of the year.
Within two years, Disney began his genius merchandise marketing and created the “Mickey Mouse Club.”
His competition, Felix the Cat, would also fade out by 1930.
3. Mickey’s Oscar
At the age of 15, the mouse had garnered an Academy Award for his work in the short “Lend a Paw.”
The 1942 film starred Mickey and his canine companion, Pluto.
2. Mickey’s star
And, by 1978, Mickey was a household name, and a name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He’s the first cartoon character to receive such an honor.
1. Mickey’s semi-retirement
As the Disney empire grew with more characters, Mickey faded from the spotlight.
He stopped appearing in films for a whopping 30 years, returning briefly in 1983’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
Instead, he was downgraded to the small screen in 1955, where his fame was revitalized.
He has since found a home there, starring in various Mickey-centric shows.