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7 fascinating facts about Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Did you know Mickey and Minnie Mouse share the same 'official' birthday? Nov. 18, 1928 is the day, as it is the day the cartoon short "Steamboat Willie" debuted. Learn more fun facts about the famous pair.

The cartoon below, debuting 89 years ago this week (Nov. 18 to be exact), began a love affair for the ages, between Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the viewing public.

In celebration of the ‘birth’ of Mickey and Minnie Mouse all those many years ago, let’s take a look at some of the many, many interesting facts about two of Mr. Walt Disney’s timeless creations.

Perfect Timing

However, before I share some of those facts, let's look at a quote from Mr. Disney appearing in the essay “What Mickey Means to Me” written by Disney in 1948. I think it says a lot about the state of his life when he came up with Mickey Mouse.

“He popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb, and disaster seemed right around the corner.”

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Find Cinematic Success

Mickey and Minnie Mouse soft dolls

These Mickey and Minnie mouse soft dolls date to the 1930s, measure 9 inches tall, and bear the official Steiff buttons and tags. The dolls will be offered separately, and each carry an estimate of $4,000 to $5,000, into Milestone Auctions' Nov. 18 sale. (Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Milestone Auctions)

1 According to an article on The Walt Disney Family Museum site, Mr. Disney came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse, and (his long-time friend and animator, cartoonist and special effects technician) Ub Iwerks further developed and refined the character, while Disney's wife (Lillian) came up with the name.

2 Although “Steamboat Willie” is seen as Mickey Mouses’ big-screen debut, he appeared in two cartoons ahead of finding success with Steamboat. The first cartoon, “Plane Crazy” features Mickey and his pals coming together to try and build their own airplane. The cartoon’s inspiration came from Charles Lindbergh and his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. The second time Mickey appears on screen is in “The Gallopin’ Gaucho” a short silent cartoon released just a couple months ahead of “Steamboat Willie” in 1928. In the flick, Mickey portrays a bandit of sorts, hangs out at the Catina Argentina, dances the tango with Minnie, and faces off against one of Minnie’s other admirers. Furthermore, this short film is the first sound cartoon featuring a soundtrack of music, dialogue and sound effects. 

3 There are 207 opportunities to possibly acquire collectible Mickey Mouse toys, dolls, and memorabilia on Nov 18. Milestone Auctions’ Hectic Eclectic Comic Character With Style Auction features 207 lots of Mickey Mouse objects. That’s 207 of 703 lots featuring the iconic mouse.

Celebrity Status

4 Nov. 18 has been a good day for Mickey Mouse. In addition to formally being recognized as the date of his birth, after some ‘fluidity’ in the early years surrounding the actual date, Mickey Mouse received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Nov. 18, 1978. In fact, Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to receive a star on the Walk. Minnie Mouse will receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018, according to an announcement by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in June of 2017.

5 Celebrated for capturing the essence of celebrities in his artwork, pop art pioneer Andy Warhol, of course, sought out an opportunity to showcase Mickey in his art. LiveAuctioneers reveals two examples of artwork by Warhol featuring Mickey Mouse commanding top dollar at auctions. One is a screenprint from 1981 that fetched $85,000 during a 2010 auction presented by Wittlin & Serfer Auctioneers. The other is a unique screenprint created in cream and diamond dust, also dating to 1981. It sold for £46,000 ($54,155) during a 2014 auction through Bloomsbury Auctions.

Mickey and Minnie Magic

6 Joining Mickey in his adventures and excursions from the beginning is Minnie Mouse (her formal

Tippco Mickey and Minnie motorcycle toy

Litho tin wind up toy motorcycle, manufactured by Tippco of Germany in 1932. Both Mickey and Minnie have large teeth and five fingers on each hand - details only the earliest German toy makers were able to include in Disney characters. The still operational toy measures 9 1/4 inches and sold for $56,000, double its high estimate, during an 2010 auction presented by Bertoia Auctions. (Photo courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Bertoia Auctions)

name is Minerva). She appears for the first time beside Mickey in the 1929 short cartoon “Plane Crazy,” her birthday is also considered to be Nov. 18, 1928. Early on, the voice of both Mickey and Minnie was provided by Walt Disney himself. Throughout the mid-20th century, women from Disney’s Ink and Paint Department at Walt Disney Studios gave voice to Minnie. In 1986, the woman who would hold the role of Minnie’s voice, Russie Taylor, took on the job. In a unique twist, Taylor would end up marrying the man who served as Mickey’s voice for decades, Wayne Allwine. They were married from 1991 to 2009 when Allwine passed away.

7 If you or someone you know is a fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, there are several plans in the works for celebrating their 90th birthday in 2018. The Official Disney Fan Club has the scoop on many of these events. 

Compiled by Antoinette Rahn


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