Believe it or not, 2020 marks Mickey Mouse’s 92nd birthday. Though he’s hardly aged a day since his 1928 debut, Mickey has had a career for the ages spanning television and film, video games and theme park attractions, plus merchandise galore.
As a performer, Mickey has made numerous cameos throughout his career, including in many Pluto cartoons, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Oliver and Company,” “The Little Mermaid,” “A Goofy Movie,” “Toy Story,” “Aladdin and the King of Thieves,” “Toy Story 2,” “The Lion King 1½” and “Chicken Little.”
But he is more than able to carry an animated film short with ease. Here are just a few of his many starring appearances.
It wouldn’t be a list of Mickey Mouse films if it didn’t include “Steamboat Willie.” The 1928 film marked Mickey’s theatrical debut, though “Steamboat Willie” was actually the third Mickey film made, after “Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin’ Gaucho.” “Steamboat Willie” also is noted as being the first cartoon with synchronized sound.
1929’s “The Karnival Kid” is celebrated for being the first film to feature Mickey speaking. While he had laughed, cried and whistled in previous films, he had never uttered a word. The mouse’s first words? “Hot dogs! Hot dogs!” He played a salesman at a carnival, during which his love interest, Minnie Mouse, was billed as a “Shimmy Dancer.”
Though Mickey was animated in color in 1932’s “Parade of the Award Nominees,” that short, which was made for the banquet for the 5th Academy Awards, wasn’t considered an official Mickey cartoon. 1935’s “The Band Concert,” however, is an official cartoon and is seen as the first time Mickey was animated in color. The red, gold and green of his conducting robe must have really popped onscreen after years of black and white.
Just under two months after “The Band Concert,” in April 1935, Disney released the last black-and-white Mickey cartoon, “Mickey’s Kangaroo.” Mickey has been rocking those red shorts and yellow shoes ever since.
1940’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” a segment from “Fantasia,” which celebrated its 80th anniversary last week, is considered one of Mickey’s most iconic appearances ever. In the segment, Mickey is the apprentice of sorcerer Yen Sid (Disney spelled backward). He attempts a few tricks of his own to varying degrees of success. The segment also appears in “Fantasia 2000.”
1953’s “The Simple Things” marked the last regular entry into the Mickey Mouse theatrical cartoon series, but it wasn’t the last time we’d see Mickey by a longshot. In this short, Mickey and Pluto try to have a relaxing day at the beach, but a mussel and pesky seagulls have other ideas.
As the title suggests, Mickey made appearances in “The Mickey Mouse Club,” in both vintage shorts and new cartoons created for the show, which ran from 1955-1959. The mouse also was seen in the show’s revivals, “The New Mickey Mouse Club,” “The All-New Mickey Mouse Club” and “Club Mickey Mouse.”
Put a Disney spin on a holiday classic, and you get 1983’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Mickey play Bob Cratchit while Scrooge McDuck, of course, plays Ebenezer Scrooge. The film also features a number of Disney characters, including Minnie Mouse, Jiminy Cricket, Chip and Dale, Huey, Dewey and Louie, the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf and Donald and Daisy Duck. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated short film in 1984.
For another Disney twist on a classic tale, there’s 1990’s “The Prince and the Pauper.” Mickey plays both prince and pauper, and, as could be expected, hijinks ensue as the pair swap lives. “The Prince and the Pauper” was the first Disney-produced animated short to play before the release of a Disney animated film, “The Rescuers Down Under,” in this case.
OK, one more remake for the list. In 2004, Disney gathered Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy for a retelling of “The Three Musketeers.” The trio must help Princess Minnie and her lady-in-waiting, Daisy Duck, save her kingdom from Peg-Leg Pete, who is trying to rule the kingdom himself.
Mickey has always been a hit with younger audiences, which makes it no surprise the mouse has had great success with children’s TV shows. Since “The Mickey Mouse Club” and its revivals, Mickey has appeared in “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” which ran from 2006-2016, “Mickey Mouse,” which ran from 2013-2019, and “Mickey Mouse: Mixed-Up Adventures,” which ran from 2017 to October and was called “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” during its first two seasons. On Wednesday, a new Mickey show, “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse,” premieres on Disney+ to coincide with Mickey’s 92nd birthday.
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