The History of Mickey Mouse

He was co-created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks in 1928, debuting in the cartoon classic “Steamboat Willie.” The first animation to feature comedic uses of sound, it quickly overtook the competition. Ever since then, the anthropomorphic mouse has grown from being a mere character in animated cartoons, comic strips and musical performances to a full-length film and video game star. Not just an icon and mascot of The Walt Disney Company, he is one of the most famous animated characters in the world, and continues to be re-invented for new generations to discover and enjoy. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look at the history of Mickey Mouse.
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The History of Mickey Mouse

He’s the cheerful rodent with white gloves, circular ears and bright red shorts. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the history of Mickey Mouse.

Mickey Mouse was co-created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. He was originally conceived of as a replacement for their earlier, and strikingly similar character Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Created out of necessity, Mickey Mouse was brought to life due to his predecessor becoming the property of Universal Studios, which was produced on their company’s payroll.

This key event not only spurred the creation of the iconic Mouse, but also ensured that Disney would only work on characters that he owned the rights to.

As a result, the character first appeared on May 15th, 1928 in the unfinished short “Plane Crazy”, before being officially unveiled six months later in “Steamboat Willie,” co-starring Minnie Mouse.

A parody of that year’s Buster Keaton blockbuster “Steamboat Bill Jr.”, it was the first Mickey cartoon to feature sound for comedic purposes, and to star the voice of Walt Disney. Disney would himself voice the character for several decades, with his first lines debuting in 1929’s “The Karnival Kid."

This revolutionary use of sound was so important to the success of Mickey, that its use quickly allowed him to overtake his main competitor, the silent animation “Felix The Cat.”

Shortly afterward, Mickey’s cartoons received other iconic changes. These included the inclusion of his nemesis Pete, use of white gloves to distinguish his hands from his body, pupils, his trademark pants and the elimination of his tail in the early 1940s.

Since his original appearance, the anthropomorphic mouse has grown from being a mere character in animated cartoons, comic strips and musical performances to a full-length film star. In fact, he has even become the host of his own show, “Mickey’s Clubhouse”, and has starred in several video games.

Within these many projects, he often appears opposite his many friends, such as Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.

Not just an icon and mascot of The Walt Disney Company, Mickey Mouse is one of the most famous animated characters in the world, and continues to be re-invented for new generations. Most recently, he has appeared as a mischievous and adventurous mouse in his video game “Epic Mickey”. It has also been that he will star in his own upcoming theatrical film, which will similarly modernize the character.
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