Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse in April 1928, on a train ride from New York to California. He originally named the character Mortimer Mouse, but his wife suggested he use the name Mickey instead. Mickey's first public appearance was in the cartoon Steamboat Willie, in November 1928.
Disney created Mickey after he lost his character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and most of his staff to his distributor, Charles Mintz. He created two animations before Steamboat Willie: Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho, but could not find a distributor. Steamboat Willie became the first cartoon to feature sound and was extremely popular upon its release.