MICKEY MOUSE (b. 1928)

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MICKEY MOUSE (b. 1928)

Mickey, Minnie and Donald Duck are the only Disney characters with official birthdays. Mickey and Minnie are said to have been born on 18 November 1928, which was the release date of the cartoon Steamboat Willie, the first Disney cartoon with sound. That was in fact Mickey's third appearance. He had previously been in two silent cartoons called Plane Crazy and Gallopin' Gaucho.

Walt Disney originally called him Mortimer Mouse, but his wife Lillian thought Mortimer sounded pompous and suggested Mickey instead. The actor Mickey Rooney, however, always maintained that the character was named after him, following a visit he made as a five-year-old child star to Walt Disney.

In France, Mickey Mouse is known as Michal Souris. He is Topolino in Italy, Mikki Ma-u-su in Japan, Raton Mickey in Mexico, Mikki Hirri in Finland and Miguel Rantoncito in Spain.

His ears are always perfect circles whatever angle they are viewed from.

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was a great Mickey Mouse fan. He met Disney in Rome in 1935.

According to Swiss law professor Karl-Ludwig Kunz, Mickey Mouse committed seven criminal acts in his comics in 1952. His conduct since then does not appear to have been monitored so rigorously but Mickey did go on strike at EuroDisney in 1998.

The first recorded use of the words 'Mickey Mouse' to mean worthless or ineffectual was in 1931. The verb 'to mickey mouse', meaning to fool around, first appeared in an Aviator's Guide in 1963.

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