Sometimes it becomes difficult even for the most creative minds to think, that a rodent can become a universal character. But Walt Disney did it; not only in his dreams, but in reality. Yes! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the universally loved cartoon character Mickey Mouse we are talking about. On 18 November 2011, he will be celebrating his eighty-fourth birthday. Wearing red shorts and long yellow shoes, he will be the youngest eighty four-year-old in the world, without a wrinkle on his face.
The birth and evolution of Mickey Mouse seems to be full of twists and turns. When Walt Disney had to leave his first character, Oswald – the Lucky Rabbit to his producer; Disney with his wife took a train from New York to California. It was during this train ride to California that Mickey Mouse was borne. It is said that it was created after one of the mouse that Disney had as a pet. Before Mickey Mouse was brought to the arc lights, he was named Mortimer. But it was Disney’s wife who rejected the name to be pretentious and asked Disney to name it Mickey Mouse.
On returning to his studio, Walt Disney and his head animator Ub Iwerks worked on the first Mickey Mouse Cartoon, Plane Crazy. But it failed to find any distributor. The second silent Mickey Mouse cartoon, Gallopin Gaucho too met with a similar fate. During those times the history of movies was also changing with Warner Brothers starting to produce talking movies, which ended the era of silent movies. Disney dropped everything and began working on his third Mickey Mouse film: Steamboat Willie in sound. When completed and shown to exhibitors and managers in New York, they decided to take a chance. It was released on 18 November 1928, and the tiny little mouse that is considered to be standing 2 feet 3 inches (69cm) and weighing 23 pounds (10Kgs) caught the fancy of the entire Unites States. Mickey Mouse became so popular that movie goers would first ask if the theater was running Mickey Mouse.
Eighty four years have passed, but this little mouse still remains popular worldwide. When we see this little mouse on our TV screen or on a movie poster, we feel happy. Mickey Mouse denotes the big American Dream to an extent, he was born out of the depression, a very little guy who dreamt, laughed at people and taught them to laugh again. Though this little guy was born in America, yet his dreams were universal, that’s what makes Mickey Mouse immensely popular amongst all the age groups. He is someone we all must have taken a glimpse of, at some point of our lives.
Mickey is often seen with his gang of friends: Minnie Mouse – his girlfriend, Pluto – his dog, Horace Horsecollar , Donald Duck , Goofy and his arch rival Pete . From a mischievous anti-hero in its earlier films to a common man, Mickey Mouse have transformed a lot over the years. He gets into trouble, gets out of it with luck on his side, gets angry at his friends and enemies, and of course gets dewy eyed when he sees Minnie Mouse. He calls her, “my treasure” at times. Minnie on other hand gets irritated with Mickey’s lazy behavior and his addiction to video games, which he sometimes plays for days. But it’s always Mickey who plays the hero, while rescuing her from Pete.
Throughout his career, Mickey Mouse has made his appearance in cartoon series, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse , TV shows, mercantile items and above all as the mascot of Disneyland. He was nominated nine times for Academy Awards, of which he won one for his role in Lend a Paw. Additionally, Walt Disney was honored with an Academy Award in recognition for Mickey’s creation and its immense popularity. On 18 November 1978, in honor of his 50th anniversary, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It’s been eighty four years since this tiny mouse has entertained us. Children still love him the same as ever, and adults experience a rush of nostalgia and a lingering happiness of days that went by. It would a be a very rare sight if Micky Mouse cannot make a person smile with his funny acts. In our imagination, at some point of time, most of us must have wished to stay with Mickey and his gang. Mickey Mouse supposedly a Rodent takes us to a world where happiness and dreams are possible. That’s the power of Mickey Mouse, the power of imagination and the power of dreams that Walt Disney has left behind.
Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse!
Here is the ever loved cartoon Lend a Paw. Have a look.