History Of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse

Walt Disney had a long career in animation, but one of his characters, as small as he is, stands head and shoulders above the rest. Find out the history of Mickey Mouse.

Walter Elias Disney was born in the year of 1901. When he was just a boy, his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where he attended classes at Benton Grammar School. Disney later enrolled at McKinley High School in Chicago, Illinois. He also went on to take night classes at the Chicago Institute of Art.

When his education was complete, Walt Disney moved back to Kansas City to work as a commercial artist. Disney found himself creating animated shorts at many different studios.

Finally, in 1923, The Walt Disney Company was formed in Los Angeles, California. Within the same year, Walt joined forces with his brother Roy, and Disney Brothers Studio came to be. The Disney Studio created many memorable characters, but probably the most popular, would be a lovable black and white mouse.

Disney's first creation was a cartoon character that he named Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This rabbit realized some popularity, but Walt Disney still kept up his search for the right character he wanted. And, it was in 1928, when Walt Disney took a five-day train trip with his wife Lillian, that he came up with the idea of a cartoon mouse named Mortimer. It is said that Disney actually fashioned the mouse after Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Whatever the case, his wife rejected the name of the mouse, and Disney ended up changing it from Mortimer to Mickey. When they arrived in California, Disney worked friend Ub Iwerks on creating Mickey Mouse. He made his debut on November 18, 1928, in a black and white cartoon called "Steamboat Willie." It was a talking picture, and Mickey Mouse said his first words, "Hot dog!"

It is interesting to note that Mickey Mouse started out as an impish, mischievous character that played a cow's teeth like a xylophone in his first movie. He also performed other nasty little tasks as well. This image was soon changed, though, in order that he would appeal to a much wider audience.

One of the most noticeable physical differences between the first Mickey Mouse and his modern day appearance include the addition of white gloves on his hands. There were many other changes as he evolved over the years, though.



Today, Mickey Mouse is normally dressed in red shorts with two buttons on the front, large yellow shoes, and his trademark white gloves. He sports a bulbous black nose, and he has large eyes. The only similiarities he has to a real mouse are his large mouse ears, and his long, skinny tail. Other than those features, Mickey Mouse has his own distinctive look.

Mickey's character has changed too, as today, he represents a childlike goodness, and he is well known for his innocent charm. Mickey would never be caught doing anything that was nasty or mischievous now, as he did in his earlier days.

Mickey Mouse rose up in stardom quickly, and he soon became a comic book character in 1930 when he starred in his first adventure that was called, "Lost on a Desert Island." Walt Disney wrote the comic strip while Ub Iwerks did the drawings. A man by the name of Floyd Gottfredson eventually took Iwerks' job iver, and he continued to draw Mickey Mouse and his friends for years to come.

Mickey soon acquired a girlfriend, a mouse named Minnie, and two nephews named Morty and Ferdie, and a dog named Pluto was also added to the family.

Over twenty years after his "birth", the first official Mickey Mouse Club, which starred the Mouseketeers, made its television debut on July 17, 1955. The original Mouseketeers were Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Lonnie Burr, Tommy Cole, Annette Funicello, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O'Brien, Karen Pendleton, and Doreen Tracey. Even if you are not old enough to remember the show, you probably have heard the club's theme song. Part of it goes, "Come along and sing a song, and join the jamboree, M-I-C-K-E-Y

M-O-U-S-E!"

The small mouse that Walt Disney brought to life went on to star in over one hundred movies. He is also the star in Disney's many theme parks, and his image is recognized around the world. Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London, England even has a wax figure of Mickey Mouse playing the piano.

In December of 1966, after a lifetime of animation work, Walt Disney lost his battle with lung cancer. He was just sixty-five years old. He was buried in Glendale, California, with a private ceremony. During his long career, Walt Disney had managed to win an astounding number of awards and honors for his work.

As for Mickey Mouse, he still magically lives on with his friends---Minnie Mouse, Morty, Ferdie, Pluto, Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Maxie, and the many, many others that were created by Disney and his company. Mickey Mouse's likeness or image is often seen on tee shirts, ball caps, slacks, signs, toys, decorative plates, and more.

Now, when you see the famous Mickey Mouse, you can remember the man behind his success.

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