Nov 18, 2010

Mickey Mouse Day

We celebrate Mickey Mouse Day every year on November 18th.

Mickey Mouse made his big screen debut on November 18, 1928 in "Steamboat Willie", the first animation ever to use synchronized music and sound, and thus our love for Mickey Mouse began.

The creation of Mickey Mouse came about after his "big brother", "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit", was snatched out of Walt Disney's hands.

Disney Brothers Studios was contracted to produce cartoon shorts for Universal Studios, and in 1927 Walt Disney created the character "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" who became an instant hit with audiences. In early 1928, after producing several successful Oswald cartoons, Walt Disney approached Universal Studios about a contract renegotiation, he was told that his employees had all been hired away and that they (Universal) would retain the rights to Oswald, offering to keep Disney if he would take a salary cut. He declined and left the studio wondering what he would do next.

The story is told that on the four day train ride home to Los Angeles, 26 year old Walt Disney, accompanied by his wife Lillian, started sketching a cheerful little mouse composed mostly of circles, as a replacement for Oswald Rabbit. Disney named the little guy Mortimer Mouse but quickly changed the name to Mickey Mouse at the urging of his wife, Lillian, who suggested that Mortimer was too stuffy and aristocratic for such a sweet little mouse. Soon after arriving home, Walt Disney and his head animator, Ub Iwerks, went to work producing Mickey Mouse cartoons and thanks to Walt Disney's marketing genius, Mickey Mouse soon became an American icon.

Mickey Mouse was actually featured in two cartoon shorts prior to "Steamboat Willie", they were "Plane Crazy" and "Gallopin' Gaucho" but those two films (which had no sound) were turned down by distributors and did not (originally) make it into theaters. After the immediate success of "Steamboat Willie", Walt Disney set the two previous films to music and sound and distributed the three together as a package.

It is interesting to note that after Universal Studios let Walt Disney go they hired Walter Lantz (who later created Woody Woodpecker) to oversee production of "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoons. Lantz went to Walt Disney to ask for tips in producing Oswald, Disney liked Walter Lantz and they became good friends. Also interesting to note is that in 2006, Disney traded sportscaster Al Michaels, who wanted to leave ABC (owned by Disney) and work with John Madden for NBC for the copyrights back to "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit". Disney reportedly has plans to put Oswald back into action.

For the kiddies - Go to coloring-book.info to find tons of fun Mickey Mouse coloring pages.

Sources: Wikipedia.org 1
               Wikipedia.org 2
               Vex.net

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