Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse turns 90

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ANAHEIM, CA – OCTOBER 05: Mickey Mouse poses at Miley Cyrus’ “Sweet 16” birthday celebration benefiting Youth Service America at Disneyland on October 5, 2008 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This weekend marks 90 years of the world’s most beloved mouse.

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse made his debut on Nov. 18, 1928 when “Steamboat Willie” premiered at New York’s Colony Theatre.

According to the Walt Disney Family Museum, the success of “Steamboat Willie” came on the heels of two Mickey Mouse failures. The first Mickey cartoon that Walt Disney actually competed was called “Plane Crazy.” The second was “The Gallopin’ Gaucho.” Both premiered as screen testings in early 1928 but were never distributed.

Mickey’s “official” birthday was determined in 1978 by Dave Smith, the founder of the Disney Archives. Before that, Walt Disney had previously stated his creation’s birthday was Oct. 1, 1928.

Twenty years after Mickey made his debut, Walt Disney wrote in an essay that the character “popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad…on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb.”


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