When most people hear the word Disney, Mickey Mouse is what comes to mind first. While his iconic design has evolved over the years, he’s always retained the same charm, warmth, and appeal to people of all ages. In honor of his birthday today, we’ve compiled a fun list of facts that fans might not have known about the character that started it all. Enjoy!
1. Mickey was almost named Mortimer.
When Walt Disney was developing Mickey Mouse, his original idea was to name him Mortimer. When he told his wife Lillian Disney the name he had in mind, she told him she didn’t think it worked for the character. After going back to the drawing board, he offered Mickey Mouse as a possibility and got a positive response. That’s how the iconic character got his name. Mortimer was later used as the name of Mickey’s rival.
2. There’s actually a reason why he only has four fingers.
According to a remark Disney made to Bob Thomas, “five fingers seemed like too much on such a little figure.”
3. He was the first cartoon character to get a star on the Walk of Fame.
His star was added on November 18, 1978. It was dedicated in celebration of his 50th anniversary.
4. He didn’t speak until The Karnival Kid released in 1929.
His first phrase was: “Hot dog! Hot dog!” The film is about Mickey selling hot dogs at a carnival where Minnie is a dancer. The film also marks the first appearance of pie-eyed Mickey.
5. Mickey was completely redesigned for Fantasia.
Animator Fred Moore—who is considered one of the many Mickey experts at Walt Disney Animation Studios —completely redesigned Mickey for the feature. He gave Mickey Mouse a larger head and was also responsible for changing his body into a pear shape. To this day, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence is still one of Mickey’s most famous appearances.
6. The release of Steamboat Willie is recognized as Mickey’s official anniversary.
The film, which was the first synchronized sound cartoon of its kind, released on November 18, 1928—which makes today his birthday!
What was your favorite Mickey Mouse fact? Let us know in the comments!