Some claim that he is more famous than Santa Claus, others that he would be a perfect United States President. Who is he? The one and only legendary Mickey Mouse!
Are you sure you know everything – really everything - about the undisputed sovereign of Disney's kingdom? Make yourself comfortable: on the celebration of his ninetieth birthday, here are ten tidbits unknown to most.
1. He was on the verge of being named Mortimer
It seems that Uncle Walt thought that giving him such a bizarre name would be a good idea.
On the other hand, his wife Lillian was convinced that it sounded too "pompous" and that's why he was renamed "Mickey", much more harmless and friendly. "Mortimer" was recycled for one of nemeses, namely Minnie's ex-boyfriend.
2. First speaking character in an animated cartoon
This is one of Mickey’s many records. Perhaps the key to his success was indeed his ability to speak. Having a voice made him human thus closer to people. You'd never guess his first exact words! "Hot dogs", in The Karnival Kid (1929). A true American.
3. The first Disney hero to be given a star on the Walk of Fame
Another record worth mentioning. The star was a gift for his fiftieth birthday on November 18, 1978.
4. Give me five, Mickey!
Should you greet him at Disneyland, please don't make him feel uncomfortable with such a request, since … ehm, he has only four fingers. As Walt used to say, "Using five fingers for an animated cartoon mouse would have made the hand look like a bunch of bananas!"
5. A famous inspiration
Walt loved to say: "We wanted to create something extraordinary, and we thought of a tiny mouse that would show some of the wistfulness of Charlie Chaplin. A little guy only trying to do the best he could. That's all."
6. The requirements to wear the costume
Not all heroes wear a cape, some just have mouse's ears. The key requirement to be a Mickey costumed character is to be about 4'8" tall, so often the person wearing the most beloved costume is a girl. Another fun fact? There may be multiple versions of the same character showing up at different places in the amusement park - many Disney princes and princesses wearing different costumes - but this is not the case for our favourite one. Walt gave specific instructions for the presence of a single Mickey, to stress his uniqueness.
7. Orbiting Mickey on board of the Apollo 7
In 1960 astronaut Wally Schirra had exceptional company on-board the Apollo 7: as lucky charm, he wore a Mickey Mouse studded watch, one of the first merchandise dedicated to him.
8. Unsuspecting fans
Among Mickey Mouse's fans there are celebrities and high-ranking officials, almost all US presidents posed with him! During a visit to Disneyland in 2012, Obama declared that meeting a world leader with "bigger ears" than his own was fabulous.
And often Mickey's name is associated with write-in protest votes. Today Disneyland, tomorrow, who knows, the Oval Office? It turns out he has a direct competitor in Europe, in Sweden to be precise, where about twenty-five years ago the Donald Duck Party was created as a joke, obviously.
9. Patriotic symbol
Few know that the password used by the Marines during the landing in Normandy was Mickey Mouse.
10. The truth about the love story with Minnie
Some celebrities prefer to keep their private life separate from their public one, so does Mickey.
Many have wondered whether he actually slipped the band on Minnie's finger. Walt himself answered the question in 1933 during an interview: yes, they married in a private ceremony away from the screen. Husband and wife, like their historic voices, Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor, who married in 1991 until Wayne’s death in 2009.
11. Bonustrack: the latest Spiderman, TomHolland, delivered a personal happy birthday to Mickey, delighting every Disney fan!