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Following the Mouse

Written by Tassanaburrfoot

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"I only hope we never lose sight of one thing- that it was all started by a mouse." ~ Walt Disney, 1901-1966

Mickey Mouse was born on a train going from Manhattan to Hollywood. The year was 1928 and Walt Disney had just lost Oswald the Rabbit through a glitch in the copyright policies. Walt Disney named the little mouse Mortimer. Lillian, Walts wife, chose the name, Mickey Mouse.

Mickey made his debut on November 18, 1928 in a cartoon titled "Steamboat Willie." Also cast in the cartoon was Pete and Minnie Mouse. He has since made appearances in over 120 different cartoons.

In the 1930s, Mickeys fame took on its height. People everywhere loved Mickey. Because of this, other characters were born, including, but not limited to, Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, and the list goes on.

In 1932, Walt Disney was given an Oscar for the creation of Mickey. But, that was only the beginning. Mickey has become one of the greatest cartoon characters of all time.

In 1929, the Mickey Mouse Club debuted. They met every Saturday to spend the afternoon watching cartoons and playing games at local theatres. They had a secret handshake, a special member greeting, a code of behaviour, and even a special club song called "Minnies Yoo Hoo."

At the peak of Mickeys first decade, Disney produced Fantasia, and exciting animated movie that involved music, shapes, and forms. Mickey starred in The Sorcerors Apprentice, a piece in Fantasia about a young and curious apprentice. This movie was years ahead of its time and had never been matched. Another great quality of this film was the stereophonic sound in the theatre that other production companies did not have until a decade later.

And then there was World War II. While the war devastated millions, the mouse and his gang continued to keep the American Hope alive. Allied Forces on D-Day used the password, Mickey Mouse. Mickey appeared on insignia and posters asking people for national security and the purchase of war bonds.

After the war, Mickey rejoined his friends for a delightful movie titled Fun and Fancy Free. This movie including the infamous "Mickey and the Beanstalk."

Controversy caused the little mouse to step aside during the late forties and early fifties. While this made room for more flexible characters, such as Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, it became more difficult to have films with Mickey. If Mickey got angry or did something bad, fans would write in protest.

With the success of the Disneyland show, Disney decided to create an afternoon program for ABC. The New Mickey Mouse Club debuted in 1977 with a whole new cast of characters. The Disney Channel aired the series.

When Disneyland opened in 1955, Mickey Mouse became the chief host. He greeted millions of Disney fans, handing out handshakes and autographs along the way. In 1971, Mickey opened the Walt Disney World and in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland. Recently, Mickey has appeared in the newest Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris.

It is no small wonder how such a small mouse became such a huge celebrity. Mickey was born in a time of depression. A time when mankind needed someone to remind them that even the smallest of people can make the biggest of dreams happen. People from all across the world have come to realize that Mickey has done just that.

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