The Unclear Origins of a Phenomenon…

Whilst the actual origins of the Mickey Mouse character aren’t very clear first because all the people involved in the direct creation of the character have passed away, and a lot of stories about who really came up with the idea of a mouse with large and round black ears have been circulating.

One fact remains undisputable though, Walt Disney himself along with his friend Ub Iwerks were key in the creation of the Mickey mouse character- formerly known as Mortimer Mouse – and re-named Mickey Mouse by Disney’s wife who thought that the name Mortimer wasn’t catchy enough, and sounded snobbish.

Ub Iwerks appears to have been instrumental in coming up with the Mickey Mouse character since he was the father of a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit- and the shape and look of the rabbit spun off a new character – Mickey Mouse.

It has also been alleged that not just Ub Iwerks but two of his secretaries helped plan the new character, hence shrouding the Mickey Mouse origins into further mystery. Again, some claim that Disney’s wife, Liliane, was the one who came up with the idea of the name, and insisted that his husband left the company that was earning him no money despite having come up with the Mickey Mouse character.

On the other side, Disney himself has always claimed to have drawn the very first pictures of a mouse that would become the well-known Mickey Mouse that features our screens and comics.

Also the voice and personality of the character has always been attributed to Walt Disney himself, who once again always insisted on the fact that he was the father of the character. Despite all of these contradictory versions, it remains clear that Mickey Mouse was most certainly the creation of both Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks.

Mickey Mouse first appeared in 1928 in a short called “Plane Crazy” but the film never found a distributor. The second short entitled The “Gallopin Gaucho” also failed to secure financing.

The “Gallopin Gaucho” featured an already existing character named Pegleg Pete. The third short featuring Mickey Mouse- “Steamboat Willie” – eventually managed to secure a distributor and was officially released to the public at the end of 1928.

This was Mickey Mouse’s very first hit and its popularity soon grew especially thanks to the new techniques Disney used- such as background music as well as sound effect. The Mickey Mouse shorts certainly revolutionized the cartoon industry and from then on, its success never decreased. The Mickey Mouse brand was born.