Mickey Mouse is one of the most famous and beloved characters in the history of animation. His image is the symbol of the Disney company and he has starred in hundreds of movies, series, comics and video games. Although, officially, Mickey Mouse was unveiled for the first time to the public on May 15, 1928, his official birthday is celebrated on November 18. You know why?
The origin of Mickey Mouse
In 1928, Walt Disney lost the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, his first popular creation. This forced him to think of a new character with which to conquer the public. The idea of an adventurous mouse and with a lot of personality, arose during a train trip. Originally, his name was going to be Mortimer, but Walt’s wife, Lilian, thought it was too rude a name and she suggested the alternative “Mickey” which, to her ears, had a kinder ring to it.
On May 15, 1928, Walt Disney introduced his new character, Mickey Mouse, with an animated short film entitled “Plane Crazy.” In this short, Mickey embarked on a plane trip that was a parody of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight. The screening of the short was private, with a view to finding distributors who would bet on the short. However, it does not happened. This first short film failed to impress to its public and failed to have commercial distribution.
The same thing happened with the second short in which Mickey Mouse appeared: Gallopin’ Gaucho. Set in Argentina, this brief adventure failed to arouse the interest of distributors either.
Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse’s first hit
Despite everything, Walt Disney did not lose faith in the potential of his adventurous mouse and created a third short that he titled Steamboat Willie. This play, in which Mickey played the role of a sailor who fell madly in love with Minnie, a passenger on the steamboat in which they both travel, did manage to captivate distributors and on November 18, 1928 it premiered in New York with the honor of being the first cartoon that had sound synchronization.
This is the reason that the official mickey mouse birthday is celebrated every November 18thalthough his first appearance was six months earlier.
Since then, Mickey has evolved in his design and personality, going from being a mischievous rebel to a kind and brave hero. He has played all kinds of roles, from the sorcerer’s apprentice (Fantasy. 1940) to space explorer, and his group of friends and co-stars have joined such iconic characters as Pluto, Goofy or Donald Duck.
As if his appearance in hundreds of shorts, movies, animated series, and video games weren’t enough, Mickey Mouse also has awards and recognitions of all kinds. In 1978 he had the honor of being the first animated character with a star on the walk of fame from Hollywood, was UNESCO’s honorary ambassador in 2002 and received an honorary Oscar in 1932.
In 2018, for its 90th birthday, Disney celebrated one of the biggest parties in its history, with “The Happiest Show on Earth” at Disneyland California. However, the 95-year celebration could be clouded by a legal issue: Disney could lose exclusive intellectual property rights (although not those of brand exploitation) in 2024, according to American law.
Mickey Mouse is more than a character, he is a cultural icon which represents the values of imagination, creativity and fun. His legacy spans the globe through his licensed products, his theme parks, and his media. to their 95 yearscontinues to be a source of inspiration and joy for millions of people.