“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”
First introduced in the black and white cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” which debuted on November 18, 1928, at the Colony Theater in New York, Mickey Mouse changed film and television forever.
Walt Disney designed the character while riding on a train back to Los Angeles with his wife, Lillian. After completing his sketch, Walt showed it to Lillian and said his name was Mortimer Mouse. Lillian did not like the name and suggested Mickey Mouse. Mickey appeared in more than 130 films, primarily short ones, but also in a few feature-length ones.
Minnie Mouse also appeared in “Steamboat Willie.” Over time, her look and personality changed to reflect the changes in current culture. After her beginnings in the flapper era, she became more conservative during the Great Depression and World War II. She has appeared in approximately 73 cartoons with Mickey Mouse and Pluto since 1928.
In the 1936 cartoon, “Micky’s Rival,” Micky competed with a new character, Mortimer Mouse, for Minnie’s affections. Of course, no matter how many times he was challenged, Micky always won Minnie’s heart by the end of the film.
Although Micky and Minnie never actually got hitched on screen, Walt Disney always said that Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse were married in “private life.”
Find our exhibit on this iconic couple near the first floor staircase.