And Then Came The Color…

1932 was a big milestone for Mickey as it was its first appearance in a colour film. The animated colour cartoon film had been commissioned for the 5th Oscars ceremony but was sadly never released to the public. “The Band Concert”, which followed is therefore Mickey’s first colour film. It was released in 1935 and the Disney studios used the newly developed Technicolor Film Process to produce the film.

The film shows Mickey Mouse as a Maestro conducting a symphonic orchestra. A tornado then sweeps the whole orchestra away. “The Band Concert” animated cartoon has always had the reputation of being one of the best produced colour cartoon, and the official accolade came in 1994 when it was eventually voted as the third greatest cartoon in history.

Despite losing his friend and creative ally, Walt Disney’s genius carried on and by choosing to colour his films as well as redesign Mickey, the famous character’s notoriety soared and became the worldwide household it is today.

Other changes were made to the character of Mickey Mouse in 1938 when Walt Disney realised that his other famous character, Donald Duck was soon taking over the original creation that made Walt Disney’s fame.

The new modern design of the talking mouse which took about 2 years to finalize succeeded and Mickey’s notoriety reached new levels and surpassed that of the other Disney characters.

Whilst second role characters such as Daisy Duck and Goofy made occasional appearances, their presence on screen were very scarce until the mid 30′s and the introduction of the colour.

For instance, as of 1935, Goofy became a regular fixture on the film series. Disney started to mix all of the characters together and so, Mickey, Donald Duck, Daisy, Pluto and Goofy were often seen together on the screen in different adventures.

Needless to say that this further contributed to Disney’s popularity as a brand. Amongst the most famous films featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy are “Mickey’s Fire Brigade” (1935), “Moose Hunters” (1937), “Clock Cleaners” (1937), “Lonesome Ghosts” (1937), “Boat Builders” (1938), and “Mickey’s Trailer” (1938).

In 1939, Walt Disney once again decided to give Mickey Mouse a new more modern look and animator Fred Moore was entrusted with the task. The brand new Mickey Mouse appeared in the film called “The Pointer”.

The changes were in fact quite drastic. Gone were the hard black eyes. They were replaced by big white eyes and pupils to make him look more real and animated. Mickey was also given a much more light-coloured skin and the shape of his body was slightly rounder.

Mickey Mouse’s “face-lift” wasn’t over and in 1940; Disney once again sought out to change his look by changing the look of his pants and getting rid of his tail. His ears were also altered to make them more real and some perspective was added to his body.

However, the changes did not work as planned. Disney chose to keep the look Mickey Mouse had in “The Pointer” but kept the pants. Finally, by the time Mickey Mouse had reached the 1950′s and with the end of the theatrical cartoons approaching, eyebrows were added but have since been removed.

Mickey first feature length film came in 1940 with “Fantasia”. This is probably the most famous of all Mickey Mouse colour feature length film and received many accolades over the years.