There’s a stack of cool things that you might not know about Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We’ll answer questions like, how old is Mickey Mouse? What is Mickey and Minnie’s relationship? What made this dynamic duo so famous? Alongside some other fun facts that you may not have heard before…
We also have a trendy range of collectables and gifts at Short Story that capture Mickey and Minnie’s excitement and style. We’ll show you some throughout the article, including our stunning Fantasia collectables and nostalgic ‘Steamboat Willy’ memorabilia!
Let’s dive into the archives as we celebrate the iconic duo who changed the past, present, and future of animation as we know it!
How Old is Mickey Mouse?
Mickey Mouse is over 90 years old! He’s looking pretty good, all things considered. Mickey hasn’t had an easy life you know! He’s crashed cars, joined the army, saved his friends from life and death situations. He was even the first cartoon to speak on television, although his first words were… “hot dog” - a phrase with little substance (minus the tomato sauce and mustard) but still, impressive all the same. In all seriousness though, the creation of Mickey was nothing short of genius.
It all started with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney created Oswald when he was working for Universal Studios under the sub-company Disney Brothers Studio. The little floppy-eared critter saw huge success, leaving Walt Disney in a position of power within the company. Scared that Walt would use this power against them, Universal Studios hired all his staff, taking the ownership of Oswald along with its co-creators, and leaving Walt with nothing but one loyal employee: Ub Iwerks.
Together Ub and Walt reshaped Oswald’s design, taking inspiration from Walt’s childhood pet mouse. Mortimer Mouse was rebirthed… wait, Mortimer Mouse? Yeah! Mickey Mouse’s original name was Mortimer until Walt was introduced to legendary actor Mickey Rooney. Walt asked, “How would you feel if I called this mouse Mickey?” to which Rooney replied, “Well, I’d like it, but right now I have to go get a cheese sandwich”.
In 2009, Disney reclaimed the rights to Oswald and wrote him in as Mickey’s long lost brother that he had replaced, scorning a vengeful vendetta against Mickey. They reconnected and have been in contact ever since.
Two short films were created after the birth of this energetic mouse but without much success. Then, along came ‘Steamboat Willie’. It was an instant hit, gaining mass traction due to the clever animation and innovative use of sound effects and synchronised music. After nearly ten years of Mickey Mouse adventures, Walt decided to branch off and create his first feature film, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’. The rest is history.
Mickey and Minnie’s Relationship
Avoiding the common misconception that these two are twins, most likely deriving from sheepish parents reluctant to explain to their children the concept of an intimate relationship, these two star-crossed lovers have an excellent dynamic.
Mickey and Minnie first met in ‘Steamboat Willie’, wherein Minnie was a struggling musician trying to hitch a ride on the steamboat that Mickey was working on. They instantly hit it off when Mickey attempted to cheer Minnie up after a goat ate her music, followed by her guitar. Though they were never technically married, in 1933, Walt Disney released the statement that “In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie”. Considering that in real life Wayne Allwine, the voice actor for Mickey Mouse, was married to Minnie’s voice actor Russi Taylor, this statement became largely recognised as a fact.
In Minnie’s early career, she often played the damsel in distress to which Mickey would, in his own way, come running to the rescue. She did face early retirement in the 50s through to the 80s though, as Mickey’s friends grew in popularity and suppressed Minnie’s ratings.
It wasn’t until the 88’ TV special ‘Totally Minnie’ that she was exposed in a new light and identified with a new-age audience. No longer just the damsel in distress, Minnie showed wit and character in a duet with Sir Elton John, which also assisted her in gaining relevance. Minnie continued to flood our homes with regular TV and movie appearances, and in 2018 she was finally given the credit she deserved with her very own Hollywood Star on the Walk of Fame, alongside other fellow Disney creations Mickey, Donald Duck, Snow White, and Winnie the Pooh.
Things you didn’t know about Mickey and Minnie Mouse
Here are a few fun facts that you can whip out at your next Disney movie marathon!
The Voice Behind the Name
Fourteen different actors have voiced Mickey Mouse, while Minnie has been voiced by seven. Both of them were initially voiced by Walt Disney himself.
Why the Gloves?
Creators Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks decided that gloves would help with the physical communication of the character because his black hands kept getting lost on the black background of his body.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that Mickey only has four fingers on each hand. Walt decided that five fingers looked too much like a bunch of bananas and later also claimed that, considering the number of times Mickey has been drawn, one less finger on each hand has probably saved the studio millions of dollars.
More Popular Than Santa?!
Mickey and Minnie Mouse have a 98% awareness rate with children ages 3-11, which is a higher awareness rate than even Santa Claus! The three circles that outline the basic shape of the duo have become the trademark emblem of Walt Disney’s empire, which makes you wonder...in a post-apocalyptic event, future societies may puzzle over this mouse deity that we built castles and theme parks for!
In fact, Mickey Mouse is so famous that he is the most falsely voted-for candidate for America’s presidency!
Mickey won an Oscar for his supporting role in ‘Lend a Paw’, a beautiful movie based on the relationship between Mickey and his pet dog Pluto. This wasn’t the only time though - he's actually been nominated for an Oscar 10 times!
Other accolades include Mickey’s 1978 disco album that went double-platinum - pretty good for a four-fingered mouse!
Quick facts About Minnie
Minnie’s full name is Minerva Mouse. The original inspiration for her animation design was taken from a flapper, hence the short dress with her knickers showing. While Minnie is now famous for her polka-dotted bow, before she was redesigned in the 40s she actually wore a hat that often had a flower sticking out of the top.