How was Mickey born?
In 1928, Walt Disney designed the first features of what would become the icon of the Walt Disney empire, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year
Once upon a time there was a mouse
It all started in 1928 when Walt Disney created a new character for an animated short titled Plane Crazy. A few years earlier, Walt had already drawn a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but he had lost the rights to that character, so he wanted to create something new. Eventually he drew a smiling little character that looked like a mouse and named it “Mickey Mouse”. This sketch would have been made during a train ride with his wife giving him Mickey’s name to Mortimer’s which Walt originally thought.
Mickey Mouse’s first short film, Plane Crazy, didn’t do well when it was first shown in New York. Disney therefore decided to give it a second try and make another short film, The Gallopin’ Gaucho, which features Mickey with relief. However, once again the short film did not have the hoped-for success, but Walt Disney persevered and created a 3rd short film entitled “Steamboat Willie”. This time, Disney added a dubbed soundtrack, which was a real innovation at the time. “Steamboat Willie” was therefore premiered on November 18, 1928 at the Colony Theater in New York and was a huge success. Viewers were thrilled to see and hear Mickey Mouse on the big screen.
The popularity of this friendly mouse has steadily grown ever since. Especially when merchandise started to sell by the thousands, many more short films starring Mickey Mouse were created. The character has also been used to advertise various products, from watches to pencils to lunch boxes. Over the years, Mickey Mouse has become a global cultural icon, appearing on television shows, films and amusement parks around the world. The character has become a symbol of the Walt Disney business, even appearing on the company’s logo in the 1980s.
A modern and universal icon
Finally, the figurine of Mickey is a product that has adapted very well to the technical evolutions of society. Disney’s innovation in soundtrack dubbing made Mickey Mouse immensely successful. It was talking animation and the appearance of color that increased the character’s fame tenfold. In addition to the optimistic, determined and adventurous character, it is his adventures in modern America that make Mickey an extremely modern and attractive character. His recognizable appearance makes him a character that is easy to remember and easy to emulate. In other words, Mickey speaks to people, we can very easily assimilate him and see something familiar in him, despite the universal character he embodies.