Mickey Mouse is over 80 years old now, and there is not a grey hair! Sure, he is a bit rounder, a tiny squatter, and he is wearing the very same clothing for a long time, but all in all, he seems pretty great. Sure, Mickey has not had a picture in just two decades (his last one went direct-to-video), but his happy face is still one of the most recognizable images from the world, even beating out Santa Claus.
Disney threw a massive party for the mouse 75th birthday.
Oswald the bunny
Mickey’s narrative actually starts with a bunny. With his round, white face, large button and floppy black ears, the grinning Oswald was an immediate hit, and Universal arranged a collection of shorts.
When Disney executives negotiated a contract in 1928, the bunny was riding high, and the animator believed he had the upper hand.
The studio kept the rights to Oswald.
They changed the ears, inserted some additional padding around the center and flipped the bunny into a mouse called Mortimer. But the moniker did not continue; there is a range of stories trying to spell out why and how Disney’s most famous character became Mickey.
The first two Mickey shorts became Steamboat Willie, the very first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and music effects, hit on the display.
A string of Mickey Mouse shorts emerged inside a matter of weeks — such as Plane Crazy, a brief that predated Steamboat Willie where Mickey plays with a rodent.
The mouse was a national icon due to the genius of Walt Disney’s marketing. Disney immediately started up a lineup of Mickey product and over two decades the Mickey Mouse Club, a fan club for kids has been a hit.
Mickey Mouse’s First Makeover
In 1935, a young animator called Fred Moore gave Mickey his very first makeover.
Earlier animators had developed the mouse via a collection of circles which restricted his movement.
Moore — who afterward animated Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice section — gave him a pear-shaped body, white gloves and a shortened nose to make him cuter.
Mickey also appeared in color that year and the usage of technicolor was so revolutionary that critics still believe it to be the turning point.
From 1937, Disney Studios was generating approximately 12 Mickey shorts per year, together with Disney himself supplying the mouse voice.
Mickey Mouse the hero
Mickey turned into a soccer hero, a priest, a tailor, and a symphony conductor. He inadvertently sprayed himself with insecticide, rescued Pluto, crashed a vehicle into a barn, enlisted in the military, had his home repossessed, and dropped Minnie into alots of hot water.
The animations’ vaudevillian overtones made liberal use of slapstick and puns, and Mickey’s close affiliation with children required he continuously stay upstanding and ethical (leaving the cantankerous Donald Duck to get in trouble).
Then, later, Disney feature films such as Bambi and Sleeping Beauty started to rake in the accolades — and box office receipts — the mouse disappeared to the background.
However, Mickey Mouse remains an icon. He’s posed for photos with each U.S. President since Harry Truman, rescue one (Lyndon Johnson).
Disney asserts that Mickey had a 98% consciousness rate among kids between ages 3-11 global. Mouse-related product sales have declined but they still constitute a large part of the organization’s consumer products earnings.
So, take a trip to Disney World and let Mickey shake his oversize glove at you.