Gold Mouse: Mickey Mouse – 90th Anniversary
In honor of the anniversary of the most famous mouse in the world, we tell how he was born, how he took his first steps and how one of the largest entertainment corporations of our time began.
In 1934, the composer Cole Porter wrote the song “You’re the Top” (now it could be translated as “You Cosmos, Baby”). A man and a woman praise each other, comparing them with the Louvre, Mona Lisa, the Coliseum, the Nile River, Shakespeare’s sonnets, Strauss symphonies and … Mickey Mouse. The Walt Disney mouse was only six years old, but it was already clear that this big-eared fellow would go far.
Mouse was born
Where exactly was Mickey Mouse born? They say in a train somewhere between Chicago and Los Angeles, in which a young artist made sketches. There is another legend: they say Disney saw a leaking mouse sitting on a bench in the park. According to the third legend, Walt heard mice running over him in the Laugh-O-Gram studio, founded to work on cartoons about Alice in Wonderland. In the fourth, he noticed how the mouse scraped through the window, and caught it. Finally, the fifth, most common legend says: Walt caught several mice in a garbage basket, made a house for them and kept them in the studio, feeding them leftovers. Disney’s favorite was called Mortimer, and Mickey almost got that name.
Be that as it may, the first sketch of the mouse, which was destined to become a superstar, appeared under the influence of a rabbit. In the late 1920s, Walt Disney, artist Ab Iverks and a team of animators worked on cartoons about the rabbit Oswald, an anthropomorphic live-bearer, films about which were shot without scripts and storyboards. In the hope of bargaining for a better contract with Universal, Walt went to New York, where he was waiting for an unpleasant surprise: the studio, which owned the rights to Oswald, was not only not going to increase the cost of the cartoons, but also took all the animators from Disney. He was offered a place on Universal where they would pay less, but the producer did not agree.
Returning to Los Angeles by train, Walt reflected on a new hero, drawing Oswald. Gradually the ears of the rabbit were shortened, the belly was enlarged, the nose was extended. Arriving at Iverx, who also refused to leave for Universal, Disney handed him a sketch. He worked on it – and so Mortimer Mouse was born. Lillian Disney, Walt’s wife, rejected the name – too pathetic and formal. The name of the mouse was reduced to a simple Mickey.
Run, Mickey, run
It’s not enough to draw a character – you also need to figure out what he will do and how to move. Fortunately for Disney and Iverks, the birth of Mickey happened a few months after the appearance of the first sound art film “Jazz Singer”, and the mouse was supplied with plastic by Al Jolson, who played the main role. The theme for the first cartoon was taken fashionable – flying on an airplane – fortunately, Charles Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone.
In fact, Mickey Mouse was born on May 15, 1928, when the cartoon Crazy Aircraft was shown at the movie theater on Sunset Boulevard. The mouse leafed through a book entitled “How to Fly,” stopped at the portrait of Lindberg, smiled dazzlingly in all his teeth, and tried to repeat his hairstyle. Mickey’s screen lover, Minnie Mouse, whose full name sounds much more solid – Minerva, debuts there. Mickey forcibly kisses Minnie, gets a shit, after which the insulted mouse leaves the airplane, inflating his trousers like a parachute. Yes, Mickey in his debut was toothy in the literal and figurative sense.
Like the flight of the mouse, the cartoon failed and did not appear at the box office. Disney and Iverks did not give up. They decided to shoot the first sound cartoon, which was the “Steamboat Willie.” While Disney was inspired by the image of Charlie Chaplin, especially his little Tramp, Iverks was fascinated by Douglas Fairbanks, whose heroes gallantly made their way across the screen with a sword and sword. “Mickey did not think of a mattress,” Iverks recalled. – He was supposed to be an adventurer. I wanted him to naturally be given any action by Doug Fairbanks. ”
On the boat, music plays
Ironically, the on-screen career of a silent movie star ended with the arrival of sound in movie theaters, but the mouse, who got a character from him, survived and became a star. Willie’s Steamboat premiered on November 18, 1928 at the Colony Cinema on Broadway, and this date is considered Mickey Mouse’s birthday.
Mickey whistled on the screen, laughed contagiously, played various instruments (or animals), flirted with Minnie. Disney stood in the twilight of the hall, listening to the giggles of the hall, and letting out a tear. That evening, the audience who came to the film “The War on the Gangsters” witnessed the birth of a future world phenomenon. The Willie Steamboat was applauded, and the next day the New York Times wrote: “They showed the sound cartoon of producer Walt Disney, the creator of Rabbit Oswald, with a new character named Mickey Mouse.