“Third time’s a charm,” as the saying goes. For a struggling cartoonist, it was exactly that when he went for a third try with his new mouse character in an 8-minute cartoon at the Colony Theater in New York on November 18, 1928. The cartoonist was, as we all know now, Walt Disney. And as for that mouse character? Well, it is hard to find a household in almost the entire world who doesn’t know Mickey Mouse’s name.
Although the animated short, “Steamboat Willie,” skyrocketed Disney to fame, it was not the debut for Mickey Mouse. Disney had penned and released 2 other shorts called “Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin’ Gaucho” both starring Mickey that did not do well with audiences or critics. But that all changed when he released “Steamboat Willie” with animation and synchronized sound. Now Disney has thousands of cartoons, movies, and shows all under their umbrella and has seen changes from hand-drawn animation to digital. Even how we watch has changed, and fans now have the opportunity to watch “Steamboat Willie” at home on the new streaming service Disney+.
Today is recognized as Minnie Mouse’s birthday as well, since she rushed along the riverbanks in “Steamboat Willie” to get on Pegleg Pete’s steamboat. And we all couldn’t be more grateful for Mickey’s tenacity to help her aboard, because the two needed each other, and the world didn’t know it yet, but we all needed them, too.
Over the years in the parks, they have undone some costume changes (and a few actual birth date changes), but one thing remains the same, the fans love for the iconic animated couple. Today, the parks are celebrating by handing out commemorative buttons! Also check out the adorable “Steamboat Willie” Mickey plush from Build-A-Bear!
“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” -Walt Disney
Happy Birthday Mickey and Minnie Mouse!!! Comment below and come join the party with Just Disney over on social media!