When it comes to iconic fictional characters, few are as widely recognized as Mickey Mouse. The anthropomorphic mouse has become the face of the Walt Disney Company since his 1928 debut in Steamboat Willie, appearing primarily in short films and occasionally in feature-length movies. Despite his frequent appearances, many people don’t know much about the character beyond his trademark red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves.
Originally created as a replacement for the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit character, co-creator Walt Disney hatched the idea for the mouse on a train ride while brainstorming with Ub Iwerks and other animators. The Disney studio’s conflict with Charles Mintz, who held the rights to Oswald and his cartoons, ultimately led to the creation of the new character.
In addition to the design, Disney took on the role of scripting and directing most of the first cartoons that featured the mouse, though some credits for early Mickey shorts include “A Walt Disney Comic, drawn by Ub Iwerks.” Disney would continue to direct and script Mickey shorts after his departure from the studio in 1930. The earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons notably featured him as an ineffective young suitor to Minnie Mouse.
In addition to his theatrical shorts, Mickey has been the star of several television shows including the ABC shows Mickey Mouse Works (1999-2000), The House of Mouse (2001-2003), and the Disney Channel series Mickey’s Mix-Up Adventures (2006-2021). He has also appeared in direct-to-video features and numerous TV anthology series such as Ink & Paint Club, Mickey Mouse Works, and the rereleased Disney anthology TV series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He has even been featured on postage stamps and currency!