Today in History (1928): Mickey Mouse Makes His First Appearance on ‘Steamboat Willie’

The world’s most iconic and well-loved animated mouse celebrates his 85th birthday today!

Mickey Mouse on “Steamboat Willie.” Photo via Blogspot

Mickey Mouse, which was said to have been created to replace the Disney Studio-created, Universal Studios-owned cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit following a dispute between the two entities, was the product of a collaborative work between legendary animator Walt Disney and his head animator Ub Iwerks. The character was fashioned after a tamed mouse that Walt would find at his desk in the Laugh-O-Gram Studio. The then-newly revamped Disney Studio included Walt, Iwerks, apprentice artist Les Clark, and Wilfred Jackson.

Animals such as a female cow, a male horse, and a male frog were first pitched by Iwerks before Walt finally gave his approval on Mickey Mouse. Mortimer was supposedly the original name for the mouse and was only changed after Walt’s wife Lillian persuaded him to do so.

“Steamboat Willie” video via Disney Animation on YouTube

Mickey Mouse made his debut on “Steamboat Willie” on this day in 1928. It’s a black-and-white short which was among the first to feature sound. However, just months earlier, Mickey actually made his first appearance on the test screening of the cartoon short “Plane Crazy”, which initially turned out to be a flop. Fortunately, following the success of “Steamboat Willie,” the cartoon eventually saw the light of day and became the fourth Mickey short to be released on March 17, 1929.

“Steamboat Willie” was directed by Walt and Iwerks, who also served as its head animator. It was said to be parody of Buster Keaton and Charles Reisner’s silent comedy feature, “Steamboat Bill Jr.”.

“The Karnival Kid” video via YouTube

However, it should be noted that Mickey did not talk until his ninth film, “The Karnival Kid,” having only expressed himself through laughing, whistling, and making other sounds. “The Karnival Kid” was released on May 23, 1929.

Two of the most-associated characters to Mickey are his perennial love interest Minerva “Minnie” Mouse and his pet dog Pluto. Minnie made her debut at the same time as Mickey, while Pluto made its first appearance on “The Moose Hunt” in 1931.

Mickey’s popularity continued to surge upwards and by 1932, he received his first Academy Award nomination for “Mickey’s Orphans” which was released the year before. Meanwhile, “The Band Concert” (1935) marks Mickey’s first official appearance in color.

✘ Youtube:<figcaption>"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from "Fantasia." Video via "YouTube":</figcaption>

The year 1940 saw Mickey appearing in his first feature-length film, “Fantasia”. In 1943, Mickey won his first and so far only Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film via “Lend a Paw” (1931). All in all, he has received nine nominations from this prestigious award-giving body under the same category.

“The Simple Things”, released in 1953, was the last regular installment of the Mickey Mouse film series. The following decades would see Mickey appearing more often on television and direct-to-video features. In these years, some of Mickey’s most notable appearances in theatrical animation were “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) alongside rival Bugs Bunny and “Runaway Brain” (1995). However, fans would be happy to know that their favorite mouse is set to star in two films in the future!

Other voice actors who have lend their voices to Mickey were Jimmy MacDonald (1947-1977) and Wayne Allwine (1977-2009). Since 2009, Bret Iwan has been voicing Mickey.

Photo via Wikipedia

Aside from film and television, Mickey has also been appearing on comic strips, video games, other merchandise, and of course, in the Disneyland theme parks. On his 50th anniversary, Mickey received the distinction of becoming the first cartoon character to have received a star on the world-renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame.

By 1994, four of Mickey Mouse’s films have been included in the book, “The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals”. These were the “Clock Cleaners” (1937, #27), “Brave Little Tailor” (1938, #26), “Steamboat Willie” (#13), and “The Band Concert” (#3).

Mickey Mouse through the years. Photo via Flickr

Mickey Mouse’s physical appearance may have changed a lot since his creation, but he remains a beloved cartoon character for generations now. His influence has been so great that his name had actually become part of pop culture as a slang expression (good or bad, depending on which part of the globe you’re in), and has become a symbol not only of the company he represents but also its originating country.

All information in this article were sourced from Wikipedia.

Further reading: The Mickey Mouse and List of Mickey Mouse films and appearances pages on Wikipedia.

Like this article? Check out more stories from our Today in History series in the Lomography magazine!

You might also like these articles:

*American Masters: Walt Disney*

*Today in History: Walt Disney is Born (1901)*

written by chooolss on 2013-11-18 in #lifestyle #disney #walt-disney #today-in-history #mickey-mouse #steamboat-willie #ub-iwerks

More Interesting Articles

  • To Russia with Love (Part 3)

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-03 in #world #lifestyle #locations
    To Russia with Love (Part 3)

    In the third and final installment of his Russian love story, Herr Willie recalls some of the most memorable experiences from his trips to post-Soviet Russia, including traveling aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway and shooting with the La Sardina for Lomography on assignment, and waxes nostalgic about all the amazing people he had met.

  • Then and Now: Peter Essick and His Fascinating Tribute to Ansel Adams

    written by cheeo on 2014-06-26 in #lifestyle
    Then and Now: Peter Essick and His Fascinating Tribute to Ansel Adams

    Legendary photographer Ansel Adams created some of the most iconic wilderness photographs in history and it’s no surprise that his work has inspired many photographers to follow suit.

  • The First Five Animated Disney Pictures

    written by chooolss on 2014-10-16 in #lifestyle
    The First Five Animated Disney Pictures

    In this Today in History-slash-Top Five installment we've listed down the very first five films, all beloved influential in their own right, produced by The Walt Disney Company, which celebrates its 91st founding anniversary today!

  • Shop News

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Feed your LC-A 120 the finest emulsions and save!

    Shoot more with LC-A 120 without breaking your budget! The Phoblographer Editor’s Choice Award Winner now comes in a Bundle with 120 format film at 15% off!

  • Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-15 in #reviews
    Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    Exactly seven years ago, I bought this camera from Indonesia's local Lomography community. I remember having some savings in my bank account and just spending it all on this camera. At that time, I browsed the microsite for the Lomography Fisheye No.2 and immediately fell in love with it! Coincidentally, my friend who introduced me to Lomography just bought this same camera for his birthday. My life has changed ever since I had the Fisheye, my first lomographic camera.

  • In Retrospect: Oscar de la Renta's Timeless Designs

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-10-22 in #people #lifestyle
    In Retrospect: Oscar de la Renta's Timeless Designs

    The fashion industry mourns the loss of iconic designer Oscar de la Renta, who died on October 20 at 82 years old from complications due to cancer. From being an art student in Madrid, an apprentice for renowned Spanish couturier Cristobal Balenciaga to designing for Lanvin and Balmain, eventually launching his own fashion label and dressing up some of the world's most famous and beautiful women, de la Renta's legacy echoes through his timeless, feminine, and elegant designs.

  • Today in History (1956): Elvis Presley Makes His First Appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

    written by chooolss on 2014-09-09 in #lifestyle
    Today in History (1956): Elvis Presley Makes His First Appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

    It most certainly wasn't the King of Rock and Roll's national TV debut, yet it's arguably one of his most remembered performances. Fifty-eight years ago, Elvis Presley made his first of three historic appearances on the famous "The Ed Sullivan Show."

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Meet the UK Team: Adam Powell

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-11-26 in #lifestyle
    Meet the UK Team: Adam Powell

    In this series we meet all the staff that make up Lomography UK. That's everyone from the Soho shop staff to the guys that hide away in the office! Today we talk to Shop Supervisor Adam Powell about his love for film photography and his journeys to some seriously strange locations.

  • Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in Publicity Stills for 'The Seven Year Itch'

    written by chooolss on 2014-09-27 in #lifestyle
    Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in Publicity Stills for 'The Seven Year Itch'

    When it comes to Marilyn Monroe and "The Seven Year Itch," the first image that comes to mind is the actress' famous skirt scene. Well, here's another way to look at the iconic actress in this classic comedy film!

  • Colorful Transformations: Part One

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-10-17 in #news
    Colorful Transformations: Part One

    Don’t you love it when the whole world shifts into new perspectives? Perhaps it’s the moment you realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, or that secondly when it’s like someone has flicked a switch and life suddenly appears completely fresh again. Well ladies and gentlemen, we are nearly ready to unveil a new Lomographic surprise which will have this magical impact on your photographic life!

  • Shop News

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    Fuji Instax Wide 300 & 10x Fuji Instax Wide Film

    With this bundle you are ready to shoot with the Fuji Instax Wide 300 and dig in to the instax world – on top you save 20% on Fuji Wide film!

  • Stacy_mcpommes and her Weapon of Choice: Lubitel 166B

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-10-09 in #lifestyle
    Stacy_mcpommes and her Weapon of Choice: Lubitel 166B

    Not knowing exactly how to do deal with its odd appearance, Nadica first regarded the Lubitel 166B as a complete monstrosity. She left it untouched on her shelf for months after receiving it as a gift. After using other Lomo cameras and getting familiar with the rules on exposure, she finally had the courage to test it. Find out what made stacy_mcpommes fall in love with the Lubitel 166B in this installment of Weapon of Choice!

  • Newcomer of the Week: haydenwilliams

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-05-24 in #world #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: haydenwilliams

    Originally from USA, biochemistry student Hayden Williams traveled halfway across the world to continue his studies in Hong Kong. Going to the Far East opened an opportunity for him to explore what he truly love the most: photography. His adventures in his current home, no matter how spontaneous, are captured in well-executed double exposure photographs. Meet our newcomer of the week, haydenwilliams.

  • The Very First Nat Geo Wildlife Photos by George Shiras, III

    written by chooolss on 2014-09-10 in #lifestyle
    The Very First Nat Geo Wildlife Photos by George Shiras, III

    July 1906 saw a landmark event in the history of the National Geographic Society when its magazine published a special issue containing just one article with over 70 wildlife photographs - the first of its kind to appear on the magazine - taken by politician and wildlife photographer George Shiras, III.