Mickey Mouse turns 90: here are 9 things you didn't know about him

16 November 2018 - 00:00 By Aneesa Adams
Mickey Mouse was given white gloves to contrast against his black body in 1929 and he's been wearing them ever since.
Mickey Mouse was given white gloves to contrast against his black body in 1929 and he's been wearing them ever since.
Image: 123RF/Panyahi

1. MICKEY MOUSE EVOLVED FROM A RABBIT NAMED OSWALD

In 1927, Disney created a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He lost the rights to the bunny after a dispute with his business partner at Universal Studios, and so needed to dream up a new animated star. 

According to CNN Entertainment, it was the loss of Oswald that inspired the birth of Mickey Mouse. Looking at the two characters, you'll see they bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.

Mickey made his debut in the animated film, Steamboat Willie, on November 18 1928.

WATCH | Oswald the Lucky Rabbit vs. Mickey Mouse

2. THERE'S A GOOD REASON HE ONLY HAS FOUR FINGERS

Mickey has four fingers on each hand, a choice that was first and foremost aesthetic. "Artistically, five digits are too many for a mouse. His hand would look like a bunch of bananas,” Disney is quoted as saying in Hello Magazine.

As an added bonus, this missing digit also saved on animation costs. “Financially, not having an extra finger in each of 45,000 drawings that make up a six and one-half minute short has saved the studio millions."

3. HE WAS GOING TO BE NAMED MORTIMER

Walt Disney originally wanted to name the cartoon mouse Mortimer, but his wife Lillian thought that sounded "too pompous". At her suggestion, he went with Mickey.

However, a mouse named Mortimer did eventually appear in Disney cartoons as one of Mickey’s archenemies and as Minnie’s ex-boyfriend.

4. MICKEY HAS A SECOND NAME

According to the book 1,000 Facts about Animated Shows Vol. 3 by James Egan, Mickey's full name is Michael Theodore Mouse.

5. HE'S MARRIED

In an interview in Film Pictorial magazine 1933, Disney confirmed that Mickey and Minnie Mouse were indeed married in private life.

Contemporary artist Damien Hirst's interpretation of Mickey Mouse.
Contemporary artist Damien Hirst's interpretation of Mickey Mouse.
Image: John Stillwell/PA Images via Getty Images

6. HE'S BEEN A MUSE FOR SOME SERIOUSLY FAMOUS ARTISTS

Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Damien Hirst are some of the celebrated contemporary artists who've created works inspired by Mickey. 

7. HE'S ALSO INSPIRED SOME HIGH-END DESIGNERS

Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and Chopard are some of the A-list fashion brands who've collaborated with Disney on Mickey-inspired clothing and accessories.

8. HE'S GOT A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

In 1978, Mickey was the very first cartoon character to be given the honour of having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

His wife Minnie (see point 5) only got given her own star 40 years later on January 22 2018.

9. HIS FIRST WORDS WERE 'HOT DOGS'

Mickey, introduced in the silent movie era, was the first cartoon character to speak. In the 1929 animated film The Karnival Kid, Mickey blurts out, “Hot dogs!”

WATCH | A clip from the 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Karnival Kid

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