Mickey Mouse is arguably the most recognized cartoon character anywhere in the world. It’s his birthday today!
Mickey Mouse made his big screen debut in Steamboat Willie, which premiered 93 years ago today. Loved by children and adults in hundreds of countries around the globe, he was created in 1928 by Walt Disney and UB Iwerks. Unca Walt was his first voice actor.
Mickey Mouse has appeared in short cartoons, full-length animated films, comic books, comic strips Little Golden Books, and videogames. In 1978, in celebration of his fiftieth birthday he came the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Over the years, Mickey has held many jobs:
- A band conductor The Band Concert (1935)
- A sorcerer’s apprentice Fantasia (1940)
- A tailor in The Brave Little Tailor (1938)
- A hot dog vendor in The Carnival Kid (1929)
- A Ghostbuster in Lonesome Ghosts, long before the movie Ghostbusters (1937)
- A royal musketeer Mickey, Donald, and Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004)
- He was Bob Crachit in Ebenezer Scrooge’s office for Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
- He cleaned up as a janitor in Clock Cleaners (1937)
- He played the role of a movie star in Hollywood Party (1934)
- He was carpenter in Building a Building (1933)
- He had a lead part as a nightclub owner and host in the House of Mouse television series (2001 – 2003)
The plucky rodent with the winning smile has proved over the years he can play almost any role.
Mickey Mouse has apeared in over a hundred movies during the past ninety-three years, mostly starring in shorts, but occasionally acting in full-length features. He had a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988),
Mickey Mouse and Copyrights
Ironically, Uncle Walt himself and the attorneys working for the company that bears his name have long been aggressively zealous over protecting their copyrights, suing at the drop of a hat. The Walt Disney Company lost control of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in a contractual dispute with Universal Pictures and producer George Mintz in 1928. Once burned, twice shy; after losing Oswald, Disney was a lot more careful with legal matters, sometimes to the point of detriment to its business partners.
You may remember the Pay the Author scandal, where SFWA, HWA, and other writers’groups were petitioning Disney to pay Alan Dean Foster (it happens to be his birthday today, too — happy birthday, Mr. Foster!) and other authors whos contracts had been acquired by Disney.
Disney Studios is also behind significant changes to copyright law, such that copyright laws are now extended dramatically, even well past the lifetime of the original author. These changes in the law were inspired, in part, to prevent Mickey Mouse from falling into public domain, as Sherlock Holmes has already.
Happy 93rd birthday, Mickey Mouse. Thanks for a lifetime of entertainment. Here’s hoping for a hundred more movies.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.