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Mickey Mouse is a funny animal cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studios. Mickey is an anthropomorphic mouse who typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves. As the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company, Mickey is one of the most recognizable cartoon characters in the world.
Mickey first was seen in a single test screening (Plane Crazy). Mickey officially debuted in the short film Steamboat Willie (1928), one of the first sound cartoons. He went on to appear in over 130 films including The Band Concert (1935), Brave Little Tailor (1938), and Fantasia (1940). Mickey appeared primarily in short films, but also occasionally in feature-length films. Nine of Mickey's cartoons were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, one of which, Lend a Paw, won the award in 1942. In 1978, Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Beginning in 1930, Mickey has also been featured extensively as a comic strip character. His self-titled newspaper strip, drawn primarily by Floyd Gottfredson, ran for 45 years. Mickey has also appeared in comic books and in television series such as The Mickey Mouse Club (1955–1996) and others. He also appears in other media such as video games as well as merchandising, and is a meetable character at the Disney parks.
Mickey generally appears alongside his girlfriend Minnie Mouse, his pet dog Pluto, his friends Horace Horsecollar, Donald Duck, and Goofy, and his nemesis Pete, among others (see Mickey Mouse universe). Originally characterized as a mischievous antihero, Mickey's increasing popularity led to his being rebranded as an everyman, usually seen as an ever cheerful, yet shy role model. In 2009, Disney began to rebrand the character again by putting less emphasis on his pleasant, cheerful side and reintroducing the more mischievous and adventurous sides of his personality, beginning with the video game Epic Mickey.
Mickey Mouse was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an earlier cartoon character created by the Disney studio for Charles Mintz of Universal Studios. In the spring of 1928, with the series going strong, Disney asked Mintz for an increase in the budget. But Mintz instead demanded that Walt take a 20 percent budget cut, and as leverage, he reminded Disney that Universal owned the character, and revealed that he had already signed most of Disney's current employees to his new contract. Mintz owned Oswald and thought he had Disney over a barrel. Angrily, Disney refused the deal and returned to produce the final Oswald cartoons he contractually owed Mintz. Disney was dismayed at the betrayal by his staff, but determined to restart from scratch. The new Disney Studio initially consisted of animator Ub Iwerks and a loyal apprentice artist, Les Clark, who together with Wilfred Jackson were among the few who remained loyal to Walt. One lesson Disney learned from the experience was to thereafter always make sure that he owned all rights to the characters produced by his company.
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