Happy Birthday, Mickey! That’s right, the little mouse recognized all over the world is 87 years old.
Artists who have drawn Mickey through the years have referred to him as Walt Disney’s “alter ego” and have said he “represents the world of animation.” Here are 11 facts about the famous mouse we all know and love:
— Mickey Mouse made his debut, Nov. 18, 1928 in the animated short Steamboat Willie at the Colony Theater in New York City.
— Steamboat Willie was the world’s first cartoon with synchronized sound and featured Walt Disney’s own voice for Mickey’s squeaks.
— A Mickey Mouse cartoon could include more than 10,000 drawings for a seven and half minute film and could take anywhere from six months to two years to complete.
— More than 100 Mickey Mouse cartoons were produced during the 1930s and were shown at theaters with feature film, newsreels and serial dramas and comedies. Disney’s shorts were so popular that moviegoers would often ask if a Mickey cartoon would be part of the show before purchasing a ticket, according to Robert Tieman, author of “The Mickey Mouse Treasures.”
— Mickey Mouse made his first live, in-person appearance on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles in a live stage show called the “Mickey Mouse Idea.”
— Arguably the most successful piece of Mickey merchandise was the iconic Mickey Mouse watch. Debuting in June 1933, more than 2.5 million watches were sold in the first two years of production and a Mickey Watch was even included in the time capsule at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
— Mickey made his first color film appearance in The Band Concert in 1935.
— Mickey’s white gloves made their first appearance in 1929’s When the Cat’s Away.
— While you may be familiar with Mickey’s friends like Donald and Goofy, he also has quite a large family! His nephews Morty and Ferdie may be the most recognizable, but Mickey also has more than a dozen cousins, uncles and grandparents, including Uncle Maxwell, a college professor, Cousin Digger, an Australian rancher, and Uncle Louie, a French chef.
— In honor of his 60th birthday, Mickey Mouse was given a place in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1988, Walt Disney Studios donated six original animation drawings from Steamboat Willie to the National Museum of American History.
— Walt Disney has said that silent film star Charlie Chaplin was one of the inspirations for the character of Mickey Mouse. “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,” Disney said, according to Tieman in The Mickey Mouse Treasures. Ub Iwerks, the artist who helped Disney first design Mickey, said of the character, “People accepted him as a symbolic character, and though he looked like a mouse, he was accepted as dashing and heroic.”