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Mickey Mouse Day: All you need to know

By Pallavi Kanungo,

On 18th November 1928, Mickey Mouse debuted on big screen in the film “Steamboat Willy.”

Mickey Mouse was given a coloured persona in 1935 in the film “The Bad Concert.”

Mickey Mouse is a character that kids of all ages associate with. Every year on 18th November, the world celebrates Mickey Mouse Day. In the year 1928, on this day, Mickey Mouse had first appeared on big screen in the short film “Steamboat Willy.” Since then, the admirers of this Disney hero have commemorated 18th November as Mickey Mouse’s birthday.  

How did Mickey Mouse come into being? 
The origin of Mickey Mouse is quite a story. We all know that Mickey Mouse isn’t just a squeaky voiced animated character in the shape of rodent. It’s much more than that. Mickey Mouse is an iconic figure that for so long has represented the Disney brand in all its glory. However, its birth was accidental. 

In fact, Mickey Mouse was created as a substitute for Walt Disney’s original successful franchise Oswald the Rabbit. When Disney’s producer friend Charles Mintz of the Universal Studios betrayed him and tried to steal his brand identity as well as the entire team, Walt had to start from scratch.  

With only two loyal animators by his side, Disney restarted his journey and was one day inspired by a pet mouse at his desk in his Missouri office. This is when the idea of Mickey Mouse struck him. However, initially, he named the character Mortimer Mouse, but when his wife disliked the name and suggested Mickey Mouse instead, he kept it, and the rest is history.  

In 1927, Walt Disney had sketched a floppy-earned bunny just for fun that later inspired the first ever design of Mickey Mouse. Later, on 14th May 1928, Mickey Mouse debuted in the test screening of a short cartoon series called “Plane Crazy” followed by another short comic film “The Gallopin’ Gaucho.” However, both these ventures failed to impress the audience and attract distributors. However, few months later, on 18th November 1928, Disney succeeded in its third attempt when “Steamboat Willy” released in New York. Within a few screenings, this parody of Buster Keaton’s “Steamboat Will, jr” started attracting more and more audience and soon by the end of the year had become one of the biggest animation hits ever.  

Journey of Mickey Mouse at a glance 

1928: Animator Ub Iwerks, a close associate of Walt Disney modified Oswalt the Rabbit into Mickey the Mouse. 

1935: Mickey Mouse first appeared in technicolour in the film “The Bad Concert.” This is when animator Fred Moore added notable features like big eyes, white gloves and cheeky little nose. 

1987: The first ever Mickey Mouse hot air balloon called “Ear Force One” took its flight. 

1993: Mickey Mouse’s Toontown was established in Disneyland across several US cities. Its main attractions were Mickey’s house exploration and Meet Mickey.  

2004: Mickey went CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), that is, graphic designers gave him a digital persona for the first time in the film “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas.”