Mickey Mouse is a comic animal cartoon character who has become an icon for The Walt Disney Company. Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and voiced by Walt Disney. The Walt Disney Company celebrates his birth as November 18, 1928 upon the release of Steamboat Willie. The anthropomorphic mouse has evolved from being simply a character in animated cartoons and comic strips to become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world.
Creation and debut
Mickey was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
, an earlier cartoon character created by the Disney studio for Charles Mintz
of Universal Studios
When Disney asked for a larger budget for his popular Oswald series, Mintz announced he had hired the bulk of Disney's staff, but that Disney could keep doing the Oswald series, as long as he agreed to a budget cut and went on the payroll. Mintz owned Oswald and thought he had Disney over a barrel. Angrily, Disney refused the deal and returned to produce the final Oswald cartoons he contractually owed Mintz. Disney was dismayed at the betrayal by his staff, but determined to restart from scratch. The new Disney Studio initially consisted of animator Ub Iwerks and a loyal apprentice artist, Les Clark. One lesson Disney learned from the experience was to thereafter always make sure that he owned all rights to the characters produced by his company.
In the spring of 1928, Disney asked Ub Iwerks to start drawing up new character ideas. Iwerks tried sketches of frogs, dogs and cats, but none of these appealed to Disney. A female cow and male horse were also rejected. They would later turn up as Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. Walt Disney got the inspiration for Mickey Mouse from his old pet mouse he used to have on his farm. In 1925, Hugh Harman drew some sketches of mice around a photograph of Walt Disney. These inspired Ub Iwerks to create a new mouse character for Disney called Mickey Mouse.
"We felt that the public, and especially the children, like animals that are cute and little. I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea. We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin — a little fellow trying to do the best he could."
"When people laugh at Mickey Mouse, it's because he's so human; and that is the secret of his popularity."
"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse." — Walt Disney
Mr. Disney originally named the character Mortimer Mouse, but his wife insisted that this was a poor name choice. Actor Mickey Rooney has claimed that, during his Mickey McGuire days, he met cartoonist Walt Disney at the Warner Brothers studio, and that Disney was inspired to name Mickey Mouse after him.
Mickey and Minnie
debuted in the cartoon short Plane Crazy
, first released on May 15
. The cartoon was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Iwerks was also the main animator
for this short, and reportedly spent six weeks working on it. In fact, Iwerks was the main animator for every Disney short released in 1928 and 1929. Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising
also assisted Disney during those years. They had already signed their contracts with Charles Mintz, but he was still in the process of forming his new studio and so for the time being they were still employed by Disney. This short would be the last they animated under this somewhat awkward situation.
The plot of Plane Crazy was fairly simple. Mickey is apparently trying to become an aviator in emulation of Charles Lindbergh. After building his own aircraft, he proceeds to ask Minnie to join him for its first flight, during which he repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempts to kiss her, eventually resorting to force. Minnie then parachutes out of the plane. While distracted by her, Mickey loses control of the plane. This becomes the beginning of an out-of-control flight that results in a series of humorous situations and eventually in the crash-landing of the aircraft.
Mickey as portrayed in Plane Crazy was mischievous, amorous, and has often been described as a rogue. At the time of its first release, however, Plane Crazy apparently failed to impress audiences, and to add insult to injury, Walt could not find a distributor. Though understandably disappointed, Walt went on to produce a second Mickey short: The Gallopin' Gaucho.
First encounter with Black / Peg Leg Pete
The Gallopin' Gaucho
was again co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, with the latter serving as the sole animator in this case. The short was intended as a parody
of Douglas Fairbanks
's The Gaucho
, a film first released on November 21
. Following the original film, the events of the short take place in the Pampas
. The gaucho
of the title was Mickey himself. He is first seen riding on a rhea
, instead of a horse
as would be expected (or an ostrich
as is often reported). He soon encounters "Cantina Argentina", apparently serving as the local bar
. Mickey proceeds to enter the establishment and take a seat. He apparently just wants to relax with some drinking
and tobacco smoking
. Also present at the establishment are Pegleg Pete
(later renamed Black Pete, or just Pete), a wanted outlaw
and fellow customer for the time being, and Minnie Mouse, the barmaid and dancer
of the establishment, at the time performing a tango
. Both customers soon begin to flirt
with Minnie and to rival one another. At some point Pete proceeds in kidnapping
Minnie and attempts to escape on his horse. Mickey gives chase on his rhea. He soon catches up to his rival and they proceed to fight with swords
. Mickey emerges the victor of this joust. The finale of the short has Mickey and Minnie riding the rhea into the distance.
In later interviews, Iwerks would comment that Mickey as featured in The Gallopin' Gaucho was intended to be a swashbuckler, an adventurer modeled after Fairbanks himself. This short marks the first encounter between Mickey and Black Pete, a character already established as an antagonist in both the Alice Comedies and the Oswald series. Based on Mickey and Minnie acting as strangers to each other before the finale, it was presumably intended to feature their original acquaintance to each other as well. Modern audiences have commented that all three characters seem to be coming out of rough, lower class backgrounds that little resemble their later versions. Consequently the short is arguably of some historical significance.
At the time of its original production though, Walt again failed to find a distributor. It would be first released on December 30, 1928, following the release of another Mickey short. Reportedly Mickey was at first thought to be much too similar to Oswald and this resulted in the apparent lack of interest in him. Walt would soon start to contemplate ways to distinguish the Mickey Mouse series from his previous work and that of his rivals. The result of his contemplations would be the third Mickey short to be produced, the second to be released and the first to really draw the attention of the audiences: Steamboat Willie.
Addition of sound to the series
was first released on November 18
. It was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Iwerks again served as the head animator, assisted by Johnny Cannon, Les Clark
, Wilfred Jackson and Dick Lundy
. This short was intended as a parody of Buster Keaton
's Steamboat Bill Jr.
, first released on May 12
of the same year. Although it was the third Mickey cartoon produced, it was the first to find a distributor, and thus has been cited as Mickey's debut. Willie
featured changes to Mickey's appearance (in particular, simplifying his eyes to large dots) that established his look for later cartoons.
The cartoon was not the first cartoon to feature a soundtrack connected to the action. Fleischer Studios, headed by brothers Dave and Max Fleischer, had already released a number of sound cartoons using the DeForest system in the mid-1920s. However, these cartoons did not keep the sound synchronized throughout the film. For Willie, Disney had the sound recorded with a click track that kept the musicians on the beat. This precise timing is apparent during the "Turkey in the Straw" sequence, when Mickey's actions exactly match the accompanying instruments. Animation historians have long debated who had served as the composer for the film's original music. This role has been variously attributed to Wilfred Jackson, Carl Stalling and Bert Lewis, but identification remains uncertain. Walt Disney himself was voice actor for both Mickey and Minnie.
The script had Mickey serving aboard Steamboat Willie under Captain Pete. At first he is seen piloting the steamboat while whistling. Then Pete arrives to take over piloting and angrily throws him out of the boat's bridge. They soon have to stop for cargo to be transferred on board. Almost as soon as they leave, Minnie arrives. She was apparently supposed to be their only passenger but was late to board. Mickey manages to pick her up from the river shore. Minnie accidentally drops her sheet music for the popular folk song "Turkey in the Straw". A goat which was among the animals transported on the steamboat proceeds to eat the sheet music. Consequently Mickey and Minnie use its tail to turn it into a phonograph which is playing the tune. Through the rest of the short, Mickey uses various other animals as musical instruments. Captain Pete is eventually disturbed by all this noise and places Mickey back to work. Mickey is reduced to peeling potatoes for the rest of the trip. A parrot attempts to make fun of him but is then thrown to the river by Mickey. This served as the final scene of this short.
Audiences at the time of Steamboat Willie's release were reportedly impressed by the use of sound for comedic purposes. Sound films were still considered innovative. The first feature-length movie with dialogue sequences, The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson, was released on October 6, 1927. Within a year of its success, most United States movie theaters had installed sound film equipment. Walt Disney apparently intended to take advantage of this new trend and, arguably, managed to succeed. Most other cartoon studios were still producing silent products and so were unable to effectively act as competition to Disney. As a result Mickey would soon become the most prominent animated character of the time. Walt Disney soon worked on adding sound to both Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho (which had originally been silent releases) and their new release added to Mickey's success and popularity. A fourth Mickey short was also put into production. It was The Barn Dance. However, Mickey doesn't actually speak until "The Karnival Kid" in 1929 when his first spoken words were "Hot dogs, Hot dogs!" After Steamboat Willie was released, Mickey became a close competitor to Felix the Cat, and his popularity would grow as he was continuously featured in sound cartoons. By 1929, Felix would lose popularity among theater audiences, and Pat Sullivan decided to produce all future Felix cartoons in sound as a result Unfortunately, audiences did not respond well to Felix's transition to sound and by 1930, Felix had faded from the screen
Roles and design
Mickey as a suitor
The Barn Dance
, first released on March 14
, was the first of twelve Mickey shorts released during that year. It was directed by Walt Disney with Ub Iwerks as the head animator. This short is notable for featuring Mickey turned down by Minnie in favor of Pete. It is also an unusual appearance of the Pete character; previously depicted as a menacing villain
, he is portrayed here as a well-mannered gentleman. In addition, Mickey was not depicted as a hero
but as a rather ineffective young suitor. In his sadness and crying over his failure, Mickey appears unusually emotional and vulnerable. It has been commented, however, that this only serves to add to the audience's empathy for the character.
First gloved appearance
"Ever wonder why we always wear these white gloves?"
- Various characters (with minor variations)
The Opry House, first released on March 28, 1929, was the second short released during the year. This short introduced Mickey's gloves. Mickey can be seen wearing them in most of his subsequent appearances. Supposedly one reason for adding the white gloves was to allow audiences to distinguish the characters' hands when they appeared against their bodies, as both were black (Mickey did not appear in color until The Band Concert in 1935). The three black lines on the backs of the gloves represent darts in the gloves' fabric extending from between the digits of the hand, typical of kid glove design of the era.
Depiction as a regular mouse
When the Cat's Away
, first released on April 18
, was the third Mickey short to be released that year. It was essentially a remake of one of the Alice Comedies, Alice Rattled by Rats
, which had been first released on January 15
. Kat Nipp
makes his second appearance, though his name is given as "Tom Cat" (this describes his being a tom cat
, and the character should not be confused with the co-star of the Tom and Jerry
series). He is seen getting drunk on alcoholic beverages
. Then he leaves his house to go hunting
. In his absence an army of mice invade his house in search of food. Among them are Mickey and Minnie, who proceed to turn this gathering into a party
. This short is unusual in depicting Mickey and Minnie as having the size and partly the behavior of regular mice. The set standard both before and after this short was to depict them as having the size of rather short human beings. On another note, it has been commented that since this short was released during the Prohibition
era, the alcoholic beverages would probably have been products of bootlegging
Also in the live action segments of The Hot Choc-late Soldiers from 1934, an animated Mickey Mouse not much bigger than a normal mouse interacts with Jimmy Durante.
Mickey as a soldier
The next Mickey short to be released is also considered unusual. It was The Barnyard Battle
, first released on April 25
. This short is notable as the first to depict Mickey as a soldier and the first to place him in combat.
The character has gone through some major changes through his existence. The first one happened with The Pointer in 1939, where he got more realistic eyes, skin colored face and pear-shaped body. In the 40's, he changed once more in The Little Whirlwind
, where he used his trademark pants for the last time in decades, lost his tail, got more realistic ears that changed with perspective and a different body anatomy. But this change would only last for a short period of time before returning to the one in The Pointer, with the exception of his pants. In his final cartoons in the 50's, he also got eyebrows, which were removed in the more recent cartoons.
Mouse in transition
Mickey entering the Depression Era
The twelfth and last Mickey short released during the year was Jungle Rhythm
, first released on November 15
. Mickey is seen in a safari
somewhere in Africa
. He rides on an elephant
and is armed with a shotgun
. But the latter proves to be problematic soon after Mickey finds himself standing in between a lion
and a bear
. Mickey proceeds to play music to calm them down. During the rest of the short, various jungle
animals dance to Mickey's tunes. The tunes vary from the previously mentioned "Yankee Doodle
" and "Turkey in the Straw
" to "Auld Lang Syne
", "The Blue Danube
", and "Aloha `Oe
". In 1929, Walt would also give Mickey another big boost and began the first of what would later be many Mickey Mouse Clubs, which were located in hundreds of movie theaters across the United States.
First comic strip appearance
By this point Mickey had appeared in fifteen commercially successful animated shorts and was easily recognized by the public. So Walt Disney was approached by King Features Syndicate
with the offer to license Mickey and his supporting characters
for use in a comic strip. Walt accepted and Mickey made his first comic strip appearance on January 13
. The comical plot was credited to Walt Disney himself, art to Ub Iwerks and inking to Win Smith
. The first week or so of the strip featured a loose adaptation of Plane Crazy
. Minnie soon became the first addition to the cast. The strips first released between January 13 1930
and March 31 1930
have been occasionally reprinted in comic book
form under the collective title "Lost on a Desert Island
". Animation historian Jim Korkis notes "After the eighteenth strip[s], Iwerks left and his inker, Win Smith, continued drawing the gag-a-day format...
Classical music performances
Meanwhile in animation, two more Mickey shorts had been released. The first of them was The Barnyard Concert
, first released on March 3
. It featured Mickey conducting
. The only recurring characters among its members were Clarabelle as a flutist
and Horace as a drummer
. Their rendition of the Poet and Peasant
(from Franz von Suppé
) is humorous enough; but it has been noted that several of the gags featured were repeated from previous shorts. The second was originally released on March 14
under the title Fiddlin' Around
but has since been renamed to Just Mickey
. Both titles give an accurate enough description of the short which has Mickey performing a violin
solo. It is only notable for Mickey's emotional renditions of the finale to the William Tell Overture
, Robert Schumann
), and Franz Liszt
's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Departure of a co-creator and consequences
They were followed by Cactus Kid, first released on April 11, 1930. As the title implies the short was intended as a Western movie parody. But it is considered to be more or less a remake of The Gallopin' Gaucho set in Mexico instead of Argentina. Mickey was again cast as a lonely traveler who walks into the local tavern and starts flirting with its dancer. The latter is again Minnie. The rival suitor to Mickey is again Pete though using the alias Peg-Leg Pedro. For the first time in a Mickey short, Pete was depicted as having a peg-leg. This would become a recurring feature of the character. The rhea of the original short was replaced by Horace Horsecollar. This is considered to be his last non-anthropomorphic appearance. The short is considered significant for being the last Mickey short to be animated by Ub Iwerks.
Shortly before its release, Iwerks had left the Studio in an attempt to create his own. The result of his early efforts was the Flip the Frog series. His departure is considered to mark a turning point to the careers of both Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. The former lost the man who served as his closest colleague and confidant since 1919. The latter lost the man responsible for his original design and for the direction and/or animation of several of the shorts released till this point, and some would argue Mickey's creator. Walt Disney has been credited for the inspiration to create Mickey, but Iwerks was the one to design the character and the first few Mickey Mouse cartoons were mostly or entirely drawn by Iwerks. Consequently some animation historians have suggested that Iwerks should be considered the actual creator of Mickey Mouse. It has been pointed that advertising for the early Mickey Mouse cartoons credit them as "A Walt Disney Comic, drawn by Ub Iwerks". Later Disney Company reissues of the early cartoons tend to credit Walt Disney alone.
Disney and his remaining staff continued the production of the Mickey series, and he was able to eventually find a number of animators to replace Iwerks. As the Great Depression progressed and Felix the Cat faded from the movie screen, Mickey's popularity would rise, and by 1932, the Mickey Mouse Club would have one million members and Walt would receive a special Oscar for creating Mickey Mouse as well; in 1935, Disney would also begin to phase out the Mickey Mouse Clubs, due to administration problems. Despite being eclipsed by the Silly Symphonies short The Three Little Pigs in 1933, Mickey still maintained great popularity among theater audiences too, until 1935, when polls showed that Popeye the Sailor was more popular than Mickey . By 1934, Mickey merchandise had also earned $600,000.00 a year . In 1935, the first full-Technicolor Mickey Mouse cartoon appeared, The Band Concert, distributed by United Artists. In 1994, it was voted the third-greatest cartoon of all time in a poll of animation professionals. By colorizing and partially redesigning Mickey, Walt would put Mickey back on top once again, and Mickey would also reach popularity he never reached before as audiences now gave him more appeal; in 1935, Walt would also receive a special award from the League of Nations for creating Mickey as well. However, by 1938, Donald Duck would surpass Mickey, and Mickey was redesigned entirely as a result; the redesign between 1938 and 1940 also put Mickey at the peak of his popularity too. However, after 1940, Mickey's popularity would decline Despite this, the character continued to appear regularly in animated shorts until 1943 [winning his only competitive Academy Award--with Pluto--for a short subject for Lend a Paw(1941)] and again from 1946 to 1952.
Appearances in comics
In early 1930, after Iwerks' departure, Disney was at first content to continue scripting the Mickey Mouse comic strip, assigning the art to Win Smith
. However, Walt's focus had always been in animation and Smith was soon assigned with the scripting as well. Smith was apparently discontent at the prospect of having to script, draw, and ink a series by himself as evidenced by his sudden resignation.
Walt proceeded to search for a replacement among the remaining staff of the Studio. For unknown reasons he selected Floyd Gottfredson, a recently hired employee. At the time Floyd was reportedly eager to work in animation and somewhat reluctant to accept his new assignment. Walt had to assure Floyd that the assignment was only temporary and that he would eventually return to animation. Floyd accepted and ended up holding this "temporary" assignment from May 5, 1930, to November 15, 1975.
Walt Disney's last script for the strip appeared May 17, 1930. Gottfredson's first task was finish the storyline Disney had started on April 1, 1930. The storyline was completed on September 20, 1930 and later reprinted in comic book form as Mickey Mouse in Death Valley. This early adventure expanded the cast of the strip which to this point only included Mickey and Minnie. Among the characters who had their first comic strip appearances in this story were Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar and Black Pete as well as the debuts of corrupted lawyer Sylvester Shyster and Minnie's uncle Mortimer Mouse. The Death Valley narrative was followed by Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, first printed between September 22 and December 26, 1930, which introduced Marcus Mouse and his wife as Minnie's parents.
Starting with these two early comic strip stories, Mickey's versions in animation and comics are considered to have diverged from each other. While Disney and his cartoon shorts would continue to focus on comedy, the comic strip effectively combined comedy and adventure. This adventurous version of Mickey would continue to appear in comic strips and later comic books throughout the 20th and into the 21st century.
Mickey was the main character for the series MM Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine, published in Italy from 1999 to 2001.
Later Mickey history
On November 18
, in honor of his 50th anniversary, he became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
. The star is located on 6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Melbourne (Australia) runs the annual Moomba festival involving a street procession and appointed Mickey Mouse as their King of Moomba (1977). Although immensely popular with children, there was controversy with the appointment: some Melburnians wanted a 'home-grown' choice, e.g. Blinky Bill; when it was revealed that Patricia O'Carroll (from Disneyland's Disney on Parade show) was performing the mouse, Australian newspapers reported "Mickey Mouse is really a girl!
Throughout the decades, Mickey Mouse competed with Warner Bros.' Bugs Bunny for animated popularity. But in 1988, in a historic moment in motion picture history, the two rivals finally shared screen time in the Robert Zemeckis film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Warner and Disney signed an agreement stating that each character had exactly the same amount of screen time, right down to the micro-second.
Similar to his animated inclusion into a live-action film on Roger Rabbit, Mickey made a featured cameo appearance in the 1990 television special The Muppets at Walt Disney World where he met Kermit the Frog. The two are established in the story as having been old friends. The Muppets have otherwise muppet:Mickey Mouse Mickey over a dozen times since the 1970s.
Mickey appeared on several animated logos for Walt Disney Home Entertainment, starting with the "Neon Mickey" logo and then to the "Sorcerer Mickey" logos used for regular and Classics release titles. He also appeared on the video boxes in the 1980s.
His most recent theatrical cartoon was 1995's short Runaway Brain, while in 1999-2004, he appeared in made-for-video features, like Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, and the computer-animated Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. He has yet to appear in an original Disney film that wasn't based on a classical work.
Many television programs have centered around Mickey, such as the recent shows Mickey Mouse Works (1999—2000), Disney's House of Mouse (2001—2003) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006). Prior to all these, Mickey was also featured as an unseen character in the Bonkers episode "You Oughta Be In Toons".
Mickey was the Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day 2005.
In the Disney on Ice play, Disney Presents Pixar's The Incredibles in a Magic Kingdom/Disneyland Adventure, Mickey and Minnie are kidnapped by an android replica of Syndrome, who seeks to create "his" own theme park in Walt Disney World/Disneyland's place. They are briefly imprisoned in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction's prison cell before an assault on the robot Syndrome by the Incredible Family forces "him" to place them in LASER prisons, but not without using a flamethrower in a botched attempt to incinerate their would-be superhuman saviors. After the robot Syndrome is congealed by Frozone, Mickey and Minnie are finally liberated, the magic and happiness of the Walt Disney World/Disneyland Resort is restored, and the Incredibles become Mickey and Minnie's newest friends.
Like many popular characters, Mickey has starred in many video games, including Mickey Mousecapade on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse, Mickey's Ultimate Challenge, and Disney's Magical Quest on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse on the Sega Genesis, Mickey Mouse: Magic Wands on the Game Boy, and many others. In the 2000s, the Disney's Magical Quest series were ported to the Game Boy Advance, while Mickey made his sixth generation era debut in Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse, a Nintendo GameCube title aimed at younger audiences. Mickey plays a role in the Kingdom Hearts series, as the king of Disney Castle and aide to the protagonist, Sora. Mickey is one of four masters of the Keyblade, a weapon in the form of a key that has the power to open any lock.
Toys and games
In 1989, Milton Bradley
released the electronic-talking game titled Mickey Says
, with three modes featuring Mickey Mouse as its host. Mickey also appeared in other toys and games, including the Worlds of Wonder
-released Talking Mickey Mouse
A large part of Mickey's screen persona is his famously shy, falsetto
voice. From his first speaking role in The Karnival Kid
onward, Mickey was voiced by Walt Disney himself, a task in which Disney took great personal pride. (Carl Stalling and Clarence Nash
allegedly did some uncredited ADR
for Mickey in a few early shorts as well.) However, by 1946, Disney was becoming too busy with running the studio to do regular voice work (and it is speculated his cigarette
habit had damaged his voice over the years), and during the recording of the Mickey and the Beanstalk
section of Fun and Fancy Free
, Mickey's voice was handed over to veteran Disney musician and actor Jim MacDonald
. (Both Disney's and MacDonald's voices can be heard on the final soundtrack.) Macdonald voiced Mickey in the remainder of the theatrical shorts, and for various television and publicity projects up until his retirement in the mid-1970s, although Walt voiced Mickey again for the introductions of the original 1954—1959 "Mickey Mouse Club" TV series and the "Fourth Anniversary Show" episode of the "Disneyland" TV series aired on September 11
. 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol
marked the debut of Wayne Allwine
as Mickey Mouse, who is the current voice actor. Allwine is, incidentally, married to Russi Taylor
, the current voice of Minnie Mouse
. Les Perkins
did the voice of Mickey in the TV special Down and Out with Donald Duck
released in 1987. Other people would often voice Mickey in parodies and cameo appearances, including Dan Castellaneta
In the United States
, protest votes
are often made in order to indicate dissatisfaction with the slate of candidates presented on a particular ballot, or to highlight the inadequacies of a particular voting procedure. Since most states' electoral systems do not provide for blank balloting or a choice of "None of the Above
", most protest votes take the form of a clearly non-serious candidate's name entered as a write-in vote
. Cartoon characters are typically chosen for this purpose; as Mickey Mouse is the best-known and most-recognized character in America, his name is frequently selected for this purpose. (Other popular selections include Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny.) This phenomenon has the humorous effect of causing Mickey Mouse to be a minor but perennial contestant in nearly all U.S. presidential elections
A similar phenomenon occurs in the parliament elections in Finland and Sweden, although Finns and Swedes usually write Donald Duck or Donald Duck Party as a protest vote.
Pejorative use of Mickey's name
" is a slang expression meaning small-time, amateurish or trivial. In the UK and Ireland, it also means poor quality or counterfeit.
- In The Godfather: Part II, Fredo's justification of betraying Michael is that his orders in the family usually were "Send Fredo off to do this, send Fredo off to do that! Let Fredo to take care of some Mickey Mouse night club somewhere!" as opposed to more meaningful tasks.
- In 1984, just after a game in which Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers beat the New Jersey Devils 13-4, Gretzky is quoted as saying to a reporter, "Well, it's time they got their act together, they're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on the ice. Reacting to Gretzky's comment, Devils fans wore Mickey Mouse apparel when the Oilers returned to New Jersey.
- In the 1993 Warner Bros. film Demolition Man, as Sylvester Stallone's character is fighting the malfunctioning AI of his out-of-control police car, he shouts for the system to "Brake! Brake! Brake, now, you Mickey Mouse piece of shit!"
- In the 1996 Warner Bros. film Space Jam, Bugs Bunny derogatorily referred to Daffy Duck's idea for the name of their basketball team, asking, "What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would call themselves 'The Ducks?'" This refers to the formerly Disney-owned NHL Team, the Anaheim Ducks (formerly The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim), and Wayne Gretzky's aforementioned comment about the New Jersey Devils in 1984.
- In the United States armed forces, actions that produce good looks, but have little practical use, (such as the specific manner of making beds in basic training or the polishing of brass fittings onboard ship) are commonly referred to as "Mickey Mouse work".
- In schools a "Mickey Mouse course" or "Mickey Mouse major" is a class or college major where very little effort is necessary in order to attain a good grade (especially an A) and/or one where the subject matter of such a class is not of any importance in the labour market.
- Musicians often refer to a film score that directly follows each action on screen as Mickey Mousing (also mickey-mousing and mickeymousing).
- "Mickey Mouse money" is a derogatory term for foreign currency, often used by Americans to describe indigenous currency in a foreign country in which they are traveling. The term also refers to fake banknotes, especially in UK. (Disney theme parks and resorts have an actual kind of Mickey Mouse money, Disney Dollars. This money is worthless outside the Disney property and stores).
- The software company Microsoft has been derogatorily called "Mickeysoft".
- In card games, it is common for a "Mickey Mouse hand" to be played for instructional purposes. In such a hand all cards of all players that would normally be concealed are displayed, to demonstrate to new players the rules and procedures of the game.
- In motorsport, short road courses with tight corners, short straightways and no overtaking spots are sometimes called "Mickey Mouse tracks".
- In Cockney rhyming slang, a "Mickey" refers to a Liverpudlian or Liverpool FC supporter (ie. Mickey Mouser = Scouser). It may also refer to someone's home (house = Mickey Mouse).
- The Los Angeles Mafia was known, because of their disorganised behaviour and mess-ups, as the "Mickey Mouse Mafia"
- In the beginning of the 1980s, the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher once called the European Parliament a Mickey Mouse parliament; meaning a discussion club without influence.
- British people call the MLS, or Major League Soccer, the "Mickey Mouse League".
- In the British sitcom Red Dwarf: After the team's substandard equipment nearly cost them their lives, one character pointed out, "We're a real Mickey Mouse operation, aren't we?" Another replied, "Mickey Mouse? We ain't even Betty Boop!"
- In "The Simpsons Movie" (2007), Bart Simpson puts a black bra on his head to mimic Mickey Mouse and says "I'm the mascot of an evil corporation!".
Non-pejorative use of Mickey's name
In Australia, the description "Mickey Mouse" means, excellent , first rate. This is probably rhyming slang "Mickey Mouse" = "grouse"
It is sometimes erroneously stated that the Mickey Mouse character is protected only by copyright. In fact, the character, like all major Disney characters, is protected as a trademark, which lasts in perpetuity as long as it continues to be used commercially by its owner. Whether or not a particular Disney cartoon goes into the public domain, the characters themselves will remain protected as trademarks from unauthorized use. However, within the United States, European Union and some other jurisdictions, the Copyright Term Extension Act (sometimes called the 'Mickey Mouse Protection Act' due to extensive lobbying by the Disney corporation) and similar legislation has ensured that works such as the early Mickey Mouse cartoons will remain copyrighted until at least 2020. However a Los Angeles Times article explains that ambiguity and "imprecision" in early film credits copyright claims could invalidate Disney's copyright on the earliest version of the character. Arizona State University professor Dennis Karjala suggested that one of his law school students look into the claim, as a class project, that the copyright in Mickey Mouse belongs to the public. Lauren Vanpelt took up the challenge and produced a paper agreeing with that claim. She posted her project on the Web in 1999.
The Walt Disney Company has become well known for protecting its trademark on the Mickey Mouse character, whose likeness is so closely associated with the company, with particular zeal. In 1989, Disney sued three daycare centers in Florida for having Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters painted on their walls. The characters were removed, and rival Universal Studios replaced them with Universal cartoon characters.
In 1935, Romanian authorities banned Mickey Mouse films from cinemas after they feared that children would be scared to see a ten-foot mouse in the movie theatre.
The J. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in Philadelphia Pennsylvania uses Mickey as their mascot. However, they bought the rights to Mickey from Disney to use as their mascot. It is the first Catholic high school for girls in the country to use Mickey Mouse as their mascot.
In 2007, a Mickey Mouse clone named "Farfour" was used in the Tomorrow's Pioneers
television series, on the official Hamas
TV station, to educate children. Farfour has stated such things as: "You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists" and "We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers." He has also encouraged children to use an AK-47
, and simulated shooting the AK-47 and throwing the grenades. The Palestinian Information Minister asked Hamas representatives to revise the program. The character was later said to have been beaten to death by an Israeli and was replaced two weeks later by Nahoul, his bumblebee
Walt Disney's daughter, Diane Disney Miller called Hamas "pure evil" for using Mickey Mouse to teach radicalism to children.
Mickey Mouse cartoons and appearances
- Steamboat Willie (1928) - First appearance (in order of release).
- Plane Crazy (1928) - First Mickey cartoon produced.
- The Gallopin' Gaucho (1928)
- The Barn Dance (1928)
- The Opry House (1929) - First cartoon where Mickey wears gloves.
- When the Cat's Away (1929)
- The Plow Boy (1929) - First appearance or Horace Horsecollar.
- The Barnyard Battle (1929)
- The Karnival Kid (1929) - First words spoken by Mickey ("Hot dogs!").
- Mickey's Follies (1929)
- Mickey's Choo-Choo (1929)
- The Jazz Fool (1929)
- Jungle Rhythm (1929)
- Haunted House (1929)
- Just Mickey (1930)
- The Barnyard Concert (1930)
- The Cactus Kid (1930)
- Wild Waves (1930)
- The Fire Fighters (1930)
- The Shindig (1930)
- The Chain Gang (1930) - First appearance of Pluto.
- The Gorilla Mystery (1930)
- The Picnic (1930)
- Pioneer Days (1930)
- Minnie's Yoo Hoo (1930)
- The Birthday Party (1931)
- Traffic Troubles (1931)
- The Castaway (1931)
- The Moose Hunt (1931)
- The Delivery Boy (1931)
- Mickey Steps Out (1931)
- Blue Rhythm (1931)
- Fishin' Around (1931)
- The Barnyard Broadcast (1931)
- The Beach Party (1931)
- Mickey Cuts Up (1931)
- Mickey's Orphans (1931)
- The Duck Hunt (1932)
- The Grocery Boy (1932)
- The Mad Dog (1932)
- Barnyard Olympics (1932)
- Mickey's Revue (1932) - First appearance of Goofy.
- Musical Farmer (1932)
- Mickey in Arabia (1932)
- Mickey's Nightmare (1932)
- Trader Mickey (1932)
- The Whoopee Party (1932)
- Touchdown Mickey (1932)
- The Wayward Canary (1932)
- The Klondike Kid (1932)
- Parade of the Award Nominees (1932) - Even though it isn't an official Mickey cartoon, it is Mickey's first color appearance.
- Mickey's Good Deed (1932)
- Building a Building (1933)
- The Mad Doctor (1933)
- Mickey's Pal Pluto (1933)
- Mickey's Mellerdrammer (1933)
- Ye Olden Days (1933)
- The Mail Pilot (1933)
- Mickey's Mechanical Man (1933)
- Mickey's Gala Premiere (1933)
- Puppy Love (1933)
- The Pet Store (1933)
- The Steeple Chase (1933)
- Giantland (1933)
- Shanghaied (1934)
- Camping Out (1934)
- Playful Pluto (1934)
- Gulliver Mickey (1934)
- Mickey's Steamroller (1934)
- Orphan's Benefit (1934) - First time Donald Duck in "The Wise Little Hen" appears in a Mickey cartoon.
- Mickey Plays Papa (1934)
- The Dognapper (1934)
- Two-Gun Mickey (1934)
- Mickey's Man Friday (1935)
- The Band Concert (1935) - First Mickey cartoon in color.
- Mickey's Service Station (1935) - First Mickey/Donald/Goofy trio cartoon.
- Mickey's Kangaroo (1935) - Last Mickey cartoon in black and white.
- Mickey's Garden (1935)
- Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935)
- Pluto's Judgement Day (1935)
- On Ice (1935)
- Mickey's Polo Team (1936)
- Orphans' Picnic (1936)
- Mickey's Grand Opera (1936)
- Thru the Mirror (1936)
- Mickey's Rival (1936)
- Moving Day (1936)
- Alpine Climbers (1936)
- Mickey's Circus (1936)
- Mickey's Elephant (1936)
- The Worm Turns (1937)
- Magician Mickey (1937)
- Moose Hunters (1937)
- Mickey's Amateurs (1937)
- Hawaiian Holiday (1937)
- Clock Cleaners (1937)
- Lonesome Ghosts (1937)
- Boat Builders (1938)
- Mickey's Trailer (1938)
- The Whalers (1938)
- Mickey's Parrot (1938)
- Brave Little Tailor (1938)
- The Fox Hunt (1938, cameo)
- Society Dog Show (1939) - Last appearance of Mickey with his black-button eyes.
- The Pointer (1939) - First appearance of Mickey in his current design.
- Mickey's Surprise Party (1939) - A commercial short made for the National Biscuit Company and shown at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
- The Standard Parade (1939) - A commercial short made for the Standard Oil Company.
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1940, segment of Fantasia)
- Tugboat Mickey (1940)
- Pluto's Dream House (1940)
- Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip (1940)
- The Little Whirlwind (1941) Last appearance of Mickey in his traditional red shorts until 1995.
- The Nifty Nineties (1941)
- Orphan's Benefit (1941) - Same as the 1934 version, but with updated character models and in color.
- A Gentleman's Gentleman (1941) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- Canine Caddy (1941)
- Lend a Paw (1941)
- Mickey's Birthday Party (1942)
- Symphony Hour (1942) - Last Mickey cartoon until 1947.
- All Together (1942) - Made for the National Film Board of Canada in an effort to promote the sale of Canadian War Bonds.
- Out of the Frying Pan Into the Firing Line (1942, cameo) A picture of Mickey as a soldier is hung up on a wall in Minnie's house.
- Pluto and the Armadillo (1943) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- First Aiders (1944, not appearing) - Mickey Mouse does not appear in this cartoon.
- The Three Caballeros (1945, cameo) - Mickey went to the beach on the pail at North Pole.
- Squatter's Rights (1946) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947, segment of Fun and Fancy Free)
- Mickey's Delayed Date (1947) - First Mickey cartoon since 1942.
- Mickey Down Under (1948)
- Pluto's Purchase (1948) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- Mickey and the Seal (1948)
- Pueblo Pluto (1949) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- Crazy Over Daisy (1950, cameo)
- Plutopia (1951) - In a Pluto cartoon.
- R'Coon Dawg (1951)
- Pluto's Party (1952) - In a Pluto cartoon; Eyebrows are added on Mickey.
- How to Be a Detective (1952, cameo) - Mickey's face is on the cover of the comic book Goofy is reading.
- Pluto's Christmas Tree (1952)
- The Simple Things (1953) - Last regular Mickey cartoon.
- Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) - First screen appearance of Mickey since 1953; Mickey's eyebrows are removed.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988, cameo)
- Mickey's 60th Birthday (1988)
- The Prince and the Pauper (1990)
- A Goofy Movie (1995, cameo)
- Runaway Brain (1995)
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
- Fantasia 2000 (2000)
- Mickey Mouse Works (1999-2000) - A compilation show with new made-for-TV animated shorts featuring Mickey and friends.
- House of Mouse (2001-2004) A show showing short animated cartoons of Disney's favorite characters
- Mickey's House of Villains (2002) - House of Mouse video release.
- Kingdom Hearts (2002), a video game featuring Squaresoft and Disney characters.
- Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse (2002, video game)
- Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse (2001) - House of Mouse video release.
- Mickey's PhilharMagic (2003) - Walt Disney World attraction.
- The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004, cameo)
- Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004)
- Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (2004) - First Mickey film done in CGI.
- Kingdom Hearts II (2005), video game.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006) - A television series made for preschoolers done in CGI.
- Minnie Mouse, best known as the fellow Disney character, often portrayed as Mickey's significant other in animated shorts and features.
- Pluto, a canine character of the Disney series who is often portrayed as Mickey's dog in the animated shorts and features.
- Mickey Mouse universe, the phenomenon that has spawned from the Mickey Mouse series and other related characters.
- Mouse Museum, a Russian museum featuring artifacts and memorabilia relating to Mickey Mouse.
- Mickey Mouse Adventures A short-lived comic starring Mickey Mouse as the protagonist.
- Hidden Mickey, a phenomenon featuring throughout Disney films, theme parks and merchandise involving hiding images that are similar to a silhouette of Mickey's head and ears, another trademark of the Disney series, in non-related places.
- Celebration Mickey, a two foot tall, ., 24-karat gold authentic Mickey Mouse sculpture, designed by Disney artist Marc Delle and produced in 2001 to commemorate Walt Disney's 100th birthday. Certified an authentic and one-of-a-kind piece by Disneyland Resort, it is the largest gold sculpture ever cast in the history of the Disney Company.