Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic and beloved characters in the world of entertainment, but there are still many little-known facts about him that even the biggest Disney fans might not be aware of.
From his original name to all the way he’s made history, here are some fascinating insights into everyone’s favorite mouse.
Academy Award Winner Mickey Mouse
In 1932, Mickey Mouse won an honorary Oscar for bringing unique and artistic innovation to the film industry. As the first animated character to receive the highest honor, Mickey Mouse inspired an entire generation of animators, filmmakers, and storytellers.
Technically, Walt Disney accepted the Oscar for the creation of Mickey, but it was the mouse who made history!
Mickey’s Off The Market
Despite appearances, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are actually already married! In some cartoons, they appear to just be dating, but Walt Disney himself set the record straight in 1933.
“In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie. A lot of people have written to him asking this question, because sometimes he appears to be married to her in his films and other times still courting her.”
Mickey’s Missus (Sometimes)
“What it really amounts to is that Minnie is, for screen purposes, his leading lady. If the story calls for a romantic courtship, then Minnie is the girl; but when the story requires a married couple, then they appear as man and wife.”
“In the studio, we have decided that they are married already.”
Mickey And Minnie Share The Same Birthday
Mickey and Minnie Mouse have the same birthday! It’s so special how two characters who have been together since they were created, share the same date of birth — November 18th, 1928.
Both Mickey and Minnie made their first appearances on that date in Steamboat Willie in New York City.
Mickey And Minnie Share More Than Just A Birthday
The happy couple are more than just birthday twins! Mickey and Minnie also shared the same original voice actor — Walt Disney himself!
Walt was the one who gave Mickey and Minnie the iconic voices we associate with them today. What an incredible legacy! Russi Taylor and Kaitlyn Robrock are the voices of Minnie we recognize today, and Mickey’s had a few over the years, including Chris Diamantopoulous, and Bret Iwan!
Real Life Romance
The love story between Minnie and Mickey actually goes even deeper, into real life.
Wayne Allwine, the man who voiced Mikey from 1977-2009, was married to Russi Taylor, who voiced Minnie from 1986 to 2019. Their legacies will live on forever with the married mouse duo they brought to life!
Mickey’s Delicious First Words
While Steamboat Willie was the first animated feature to have a fully synced soundtrack, and Mickey made a few sounds in his early cartoons like laughing or squealing, he didn’t speak his first words until the 1929 short The Karnival Kid!
In the short, Mickey says his first words: “Hot dog! Hot dog!”
Mickey Making “Hot Dogs!” History
Not only was Mickey’s “Hot dog!” the first time that Mickey had ever spoken, it was the first time that any cartoon character had ever spoken in film!
Not bad for a little mouse! “Hot dog” would go on to become one of Mickey’s signature phrases, along with “Oh boy!”
Mickey’s Claim To Fame
Mickey’s made history a few times, not least of which involves a very permanent mark left on the rest of the world alongside some big household names!
Mickey was the first cartoon to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Walt Disney, Disneyland, Minnie, Kermit The Frog, Winnie The Pooh, and other Disney characters have since joined him.
Mickey’s Middle Name
Minnie Mouse’s full name is Minerva, so you might think that Mickey could be short for Michael, but that’s not the case! Mickey isn’t short for anything, as he’s introduced himself by full name before.
Mickey’s full name is Mickey Theodore Mouse. A very cute name that’s befitting of a very cute mouse!
Mickey’s Fashion Secret
When we think about Mickey Mouse, we think about his colors: he’s a black mouse with red shorts, yellow shoes, and big white gloves. It turns out that those white gloves were given to him for a reason!
Animators decided to give him white gloves so that you could see his hands when they were resting against his body!
A Mouse By Any Other Name
It’s hard to imagine Mickey Mouse being anything other than Mickey Mouse, but when he was first created, Walt gave him a different name!
He was originally called Mortimer Mouse, but Walt’s wife suggested that he change it, and it’s a good thing that she did! Mortimer became the name of one of Mickey’s rivals.
A Mouse By Many Other Names
He’s not Mickey everywhere! In other languages, he’s known as Miki Maus, Mi Lao Shu, Mikki Hiir, Mikkjal Mus, Topolino, Mikkimausu, Myska Mikey, and even Musse Pigg!
Some countries keep his name as Mickey Mouse even when not speaking English, but it’s fascinating to see what his name is in the places that do change it!
Mickey is a pretty iconic figure, and some people have some pretty big ideas about where he belongs! “Mickey Mouse” is the most common write-in candidate during elections in the United States, but unfortunately, votes for him don’t count.
Of course, the biggest question is who exactly would be his Vice President!
Mickey’s Political Opposition
In countries outside of the United States, Mickey still makes the ballot, but he’s not the most popular one everywhere.
In Sweden, Donald Duck is the character who takes the lead, and “The Donald Duck Party” is written in by voters who don’t feel represented by any of the existing candidates.
Mickey’s Music Impact
We know Mickey from his work in television and movies, of course, but he’s a mouse of many talents! It shouldn’t be surprising that Mickey is a double treat.
In 1978, Mickey actually released an album that went platinum! He’s also released a disco album, which I think should definitely make a comeback.
Missed It By A Hare
We came pretty close to our entire pop culture landscape looking pretty different, although we’d still have a pair of iconic ears.
Before Mickey was designed, Walt Disney had created Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, a character who looked pretty similar to Mickey’s original design, but he was a rabbit instead of a mouse.
Oswald was created for Universal, but when Disney and his creative partner Ub Iwerks left Universal, the company took creative control of Oswald the Rabbit’s rights, so Disney and Iwerks had to come up with a new character!
Disney eventually got the rights back to Oswald, but not until 2006!
A Fantasia-tic Debut
Mickey’s movie debut was definitely pretty magical!
Mickey’s first appearance in a movie was Fantasia, which was an anthology animated musical movie. He appeared in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment of the film, where he puts on a wizard’s hat and dreams that he’s a powerful sorcerer, much to the chagrin of the actual wizard!
Mickey’s Academic History
We know that Mickey was the first non-human to win an Oscar, but his history with the Academy Awards doesn’t stop there!
Mickey has actually been onstage twice to help present the Oscar for Best Short Film in 2003, and Best Animated Short in 1988! He cleans up pretty nice in a tux, don’t you think?
A Secret Beginning
While Steamboat Willie is widely considered the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, and even marks Mickey and Minnie’s official birthday, Walt actually made another cartoon with Mickey before then!
The cartoon was called Plane Crazy, and didn’t reach audiences the way Steamboat Willie would. That might’ve been because the cartoon was entirely silent!
Ho Ho Oh Boy!
Mickey Mouse is obviously one of the most recognizable characters in the world, but Time Magazine surveyed children around the globe, and it turns out that Mickey is even more recognizable than Santa Claus!
This is likely in part because Santa is connected to a religious holiday, but it’s still a pretty impressive feat!
Four Finger Discount
Have you ever counted Mickey’s fingers? Even though real mice have four fingers and a thumb much like humans do, Mickey is more traditionally cartoonish and has four fingers. Walt had a pretty unique reason for why they made that choice!
“Using five fingers would have made Mickey’s hands look like a bunch of bananas,” he said.
There was a real pet mouse at the heart of Mickey! Walt would study and sketch a tame mouse, noticing the physical features and humor that would eventually be translated into the beloved cartoon.
We all know our pets are funny enough to be famous if we tried, and Walt was right about his!
In 1935, Mickey underwent his first makeover at the hands of animator Fred Moore. Originally, Mickey was circular in shape, but Moore gave him a pear-shaped body, pupils in his eyes, white gloves, and a shortened nose.
Moore claimed this was to make Mickey look cuter, and I’d definitely have to say it worked.
The Mickey Cinematic Universe
Now that Disney owns Marvel, we shouldn’t be surprised that there have been some crossovers with Mickey and some beloved comic book figures!
Mickey and his friends even got to be on the cover of a few special edition comic books that reimagined the Avengers as the famous cartoon characters!
Mickey’s Meowing Adversary
One of Mickey’s most common adversaries is the big mean Pete, who’s sometimes referred to as Peg-Leg Pete. While many fans are familiar with Pete, many are surprised to learn his species — he’s not a dog, he’s a cat!
It makes sense for a cat to have a troubled relationship with a mouse, I guess!
The Original Mickey Design
Walt Disney actually wasn’t the one who designed the original concept of Mickey! Walt’s longtime creative partner, Ub Iwerks, came up with the original design.
The two had a falling out over Iwerks feeling he didn’t get enough credit for the creation of Mickey, but they would, thankfully, later reconcile.
Not Always A Nice Guy
Mickey has had his share of controversial moments, too! In Steamboat Willie, Mickey actually swings a cat around by its tail and uses a goose as bagpipes — probably not actions he would take today!
In one cartoon from 1933, Mickey’s Mellerdrammer, Mickey even takes part in a minstrel show, adopting common features of blackface.
Mickey has actually been banned from entire countries before! He was notably banned in Germany, in Iran, from the Seoul Olympics, and from Seattle liquor stores.
In 1935, Mickey wasn’t allowed to appear on big movie screens in Romania, because the government decided that children might get scared by seeing such a big mouse.