Things You Never Knew About Mickey Mouse
Of every character in Disney World – from Cinderella and Snow White to Nemo and Jack, there is no other cartoon more cherished and loved than Mickey Mouse. Even if your children have different favorites based on their mood each day, Mickey is one of those household staples that generation after generation grew up singing along to and falling in love with. Just like his many TV shows and films, Mickey has an interesting backstory that’s tied to his ‘father’ and creator, Walt Disney. It was seemingly a stroke of brilliance that led Walt to pen the very first Mickey Mouse sketch – and one that he probably didn’t realize would become one for the history books.
Before you take off on your Disney adventure, get a little more familiar with the Disney character who started it all:
He’s inspired by a mouse that Walt Disney had as a child.
Don’t let your kids in on the secret, but In November of 2016, Mickey Mouse turned 89 years old. That’s right, Mickey is not too far off from reaching three digits, but his inspiration dates back even further. In an essay that Mickey’s creator, Walt Disney, wrote in 1948, he detailed that the fodder for Mickey came from the pet mouse he had as a child. In a way, Mickey was his creation that helped him manage his stress. ““He popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb, and disaster seemed right around the corner.” What were those pitfalls? At the time, Walt was recovering from the theft of his previous character – Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was taken by Universal distributor Charles Mintz. Luckily, Mickey was a far better idea.
His first ‘performance’ was on a steamboat.
Once Walt got to drawing Mickey, he couldn’t stop. His first iteration depicted a pilot Mickey, inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s first solo flight spanning the Atlantic didn’t receive rave reviews. And his second, showing a galloping mouse was given the same bad-mouthing treatment. ‘Steamboat Willie’ on the other hand, was a success when it premiered on November 18, 1928 at New York’s Colony Theater. At the time, it was so positively received that he was paid $1,000 for a two week run – a record-breaking high at the time.
He’s the first cartoon to ever speak.
Another way that Mickey Mouse (and Walt Disney) made history? He was the very first cartoon to speak! In 1929, not too long after his big debut in New York, Walk created ‘The Karnival Kid’ where Mickey utters his very first words. What were they? None other than the American BBQ staple: ‘Hot dogs!’
He’s written in as a candidate in the pools.
Though no one has ever truly tracked the exact number of times ‘Mickey Mouse’ has been written in as a candidate for the president of the United States, theorists claim he’s the most popular choice scribbled on election day. Though POTUS is a pretty important and responsible gig, we bet Mickey would be up for the challenge if he ever took home the majority.
He’s known around the world, only second to Santa Claus
Just like you can get a Big Mac that’s just like a Big Mac you eat at home nearly everywhere in the world, or how a laugh is a laugh, no matter where you are, Mickey Mouse is a universal character. In fact, it’s predicted that apart from Santa Claus, Mickey is the most recognized image around the globe, bringing people together, one adventure at a time.
His voice was Walt Disney for many years.
The squeaky-sounding – and adorable – voice that you automatically know to be your beloved Mickey? It was Walt Disney himself who gave life to his infamous creation in the early years. Throughout Mickey’s long life though, he’s been played by four other male voice over performers including Catherine Piette, Bret Iwan, Wayne Allwine and Les Perkins.
His original name was Mortimer
What’s in a name? A lot. And imagining singing M-O-R-T-I-M-E-R doesn’t seem quite as catchy as M-I-C-K-E-Y, does it? Thanks to the gentle encouragement of Walt’s wife, Lillian, Mickey got his (much cuter) name.