Walt Disney - the genius creator of Mickey Mouse

Walt Disney in the 1960's.
Walt Disney in the 1960's. | Source
Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland in California.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland in California. | Source

Walter Elias "Walt" Disney 1901-1966

I am giving away my age and generation when I write about Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.One of the most loveable cartoon characters ever invented by man, Mickey Mouse has been a part of everyone's life since 1928. Toddlers and children today love Mickey as much as I have over my lifetime. Mickey Mouse has become the ultimate icon in our entertainment culture today and we can interact with Mickey at Disney's theme parks here in the U.S. and internationally.

And, the genius behind this icon is none other than Walt Disney, an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, and philanthropist. Together with his brother, Roy, he co-founded Walt Disney Productions today known as the Walt Disney Company. He was an innovator in animation and theme park design.

Walt Disney was nominated 59 times for an Academy Award and has won the Academy Award 22 times, which is a record. No one has won more Academy Awards than Walt Disney - not even Meryl Streep. And, in 1932, Walt Disney received a special Academy Award for none other than the creation of Mickey Mouse.

He has given his name to theme parks here in the U.S. and internationally:

  • Disneyland in California
  • Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
  • Tokyo Disney Resort
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney also won seven Emmy Awards for Disney on television, from "The Mickey Mouse Club", which debuted in 1955, to "The Wonderful World of Disney", seen every Sunday night on TV during my childhood. I was also an original member of "The Mickey Mouse Club" - yes, I am that old! And, yes, I still have my original Mickey Mouse beanie cap with ears. So, of all the characters that Walt Disney and his staff of talented animators created, Mickey Mouse is still my favorite Disney character of all!

Walt Disney died in 1966 of lung cancer, but his legacy has lived on all these years in the animated characters and films his genius and talent created. His theme parks are so popular all over the world, and Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is the most visited tourist attraction in the state Florida today.

Original sketches of Mickey Mouse.
Original sketches of Mickey Mouse. | Source
Mickey in Steamboat Willie.
Mickey in Steamboat Willie. | Source
Mickey in The Band Concert, his first color short film.
Mickey in The Band Concert, his first color short film. | Source
Mickey in Fantasia his first feature length film.
Mickey in Fantasia his first feature length film. | Source

Mickey Mouse - 1928 to present

Mickey Mouse has lived on and was first created by Disney himself in 1928. Disney actually drew the first drafts of Mickey and then Ub Iwerks reworked the sketches for animation. But, Mickey's voice and personality were all Walt Disney as he provided them himself throught 1947.

Mickey Mouse came about as a cartoon character as a replacement for another character, Oswald, to which Disney had lost the rights. Mickey was based on a mouse Disney had once adopted as a pet. Mickey was named by Lillian Disney, Walt's wife, because she didn't like his original name, Mortimer.

Ub Iwerks designed Mickey's body out of circles in order to make the character simple to animate. Fred Moore, one of Disney's animators redesigned Mickey's body to a pear-shaped design that Walt Disney liked and approved and Mickey has been designed in this to the present day.

Mickey Mouse appeared in his first animated short film, Plane Crazy, which was a silent film. The first Mickey Mouse cartoon with sound, in 1928, was Steamboat Willie, and Mickey became an instant success. From that point on, all the rest of Disney's animated cartoons with or without Mickey had sound.

Inn 1935, color was added to Mickey Mouse in his short animated film The Band Concert. Also at this time, Disney launched the "spin-offs" for Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. By 1937, Donald and Goofy became stand alone cartoons and in 1939, Pluto also became a stand alone cartoon. These three characters appeared with Mickey Mouse in over 130 films.

In 1940, Fantasia was the first and probably the most critically and artistically acclaimed feature film Mickey Mouse appeared in. Anyone who has seen this animated film cannot forget Mickey's part as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", set to a symphonic poem by Paul Dukas. It is the most famous segment of the film and one of Mickey's most iconic roles. There is no dialogue, only music, and no one can forget the broom coming to life itself and cleaning around the room on its own.

From 1940-1955, Mickey Mouse's popularity in feature films waned until he re-emerged on "The Mickey Mouse Club" on television. Mickey made his television debut in 1955 on "The Mickey Mouse Club" and from its inception until 1959, Walt Disney was the voice for Mickey Mouse.

Over the years, nine Mickey Mouse animated films were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Films. "Lead a Paw", in 1942, won an Academy Award. By 1978, Mickey Mouse became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Mickey has also appeared on television, most noteably, "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1955-1996) Today, Mickey Mouse has gone "technological" by appearing in video games. And, he is a meetable character at Disney Parks, along with his girlfriend, Minnie Mouse. Mickey Mouse is considered the ultimate "everyman" in American culture today, and is the most loveable character created in American animated history.

King Arthur and Merlin

Note: Walt Disney also created the animated film of "King Arthur and the Sorcerer's Stone" and below is the loveable character of Merlin, that Disney animators created for the feature length film. We have enjoyed Merlin, also, over the years.

Copyright (c) 2012 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved

Walt Disney created Merlin, of King Arthur and the Sorcerer''s Stone.
Walt Disney created Merlin, of King Arthur and the Sorcerer''s Stone. | Source

Fantasia - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

More by this Author


Comments 33 comments

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Thank you for providing this information.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

I am giving away my age as well! LOL I am an original Mousketeer. I have the MM Club certificate signed by Jimmy and Ray, my Club Badge and my Ears! Loved this hub. Great job and voted up and shared! Lisa


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jainismus: Well, you are very welcome and I hope you enjoyed this hub. Thank you for stopping by and reading and commenting!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Rusticliving: You have me beat! I don't have a certificate or club badge - booo hoooo! I hope I'm still legit! LOL Thanks for stopping by and reading and I enjoyed your comments!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

Great review of all the things Walt Disney accomplished. I use to love the Mousketeers also. Great memories! :)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Pamela: Wasn't this a stroll down memory lane? We all were Mousketeers! LOL How cool is that? Thanks for reading and I enjoyed your comments.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Beautiful to read. Walt Disney was a very inspiring man, with an awesome imagination.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Lady_E: Thank you for your comments and stopping by and reading this.


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

Reading your hub makes me rememer the time my mother bought us The Wonderful World of Knowledge. It really helps us learn how to read and appreciate the fun in learning through cartoons. Thanks suzeetenaples.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM Author

ignugent17: I was hoping this hub would bring back pleasant memories to many. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your memories.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

Wonderful hub Suzette. Walt Disney was a genius in so many ways. This brings back great memories of our first trip to Disney World in Florida in 1972. I've always been a fan of Disney and his cast of characters :)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm thankful for Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse and this fabulous tribute! :)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

bdegiulio: Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. Disney has left all of us with great Disney and Disney World memories over the years. I have always been a Disney fan also. Thanks so much for your visit. Most appreciated.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Hi Sunshine: You live in Disney World country! I bet you do love Disney and Mickey. We are never too old to be Mickey Mouse fans! Thanks so much for your visit and comments. Most appreciated.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

The name of Walt Disney will never die.

Mickey and the Mouseketeers are a memory many of us share. Always waiting to see what Annette and the other Mouseketeers were going to do or what was going to happen on Spin and Marty.

Thanks for all the information and the trip down memory lane. By the Way, my brother had an Oswald doll that I loved!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

tillsontitan: I see we are of the same generation! LOL! Your memory is better than mine as I don't remember Spin and Marty. I think Annette was a roll model to all of us as kids. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. You have given Disney such a tribute with your alter ego, the wicked queen. LOL! The movie "Maleficent" is coming out soon with Angelina Jolie giving you some competition in that role. LOL! I also hadn't heard of the Oswald doll. That is interesting and I bet quite an antique today. Thanks so much for reading and for your insightful comments. Most appreciated.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

tillsontitan: I see we are of the same generation! LOL! Your memory is better than mine as I don't remember Spin and Marty. I think Annette was a role model to all of us as kids. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. You have given Disney such a tribute with your alter ego, the wicked queen. LOL! The movie "Maleficent" is coming out soon with Angelina Jolie giving you some competition in that role. LOL! I also hadn't heard of the Oswald doll. That is interesting and I bet quite an antique today. Thanks so much for reading and for your insightful comments. Most appreciated.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

I can't wait to see Maleficent...that's may be my next avatar ;)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

tillsontitan: I have seen the previews and she is beautifully evil in this. I can't wait to see the movie and I bet you will enjoy it also. It really looks interesting and the photography is outstanding, at least in the preview. :-)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

What a wonderful hub Suzette. I remember the Mickey Mouse Club and the Wonderful World of Disney...(never missed that on Sunday nights). I am admitting my age too as I was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club when Annette Funicello and Kurt Russell were there, and still had my ears until recently. Mickey Mouse was a wonderful creation and Walt Disney a genius. Thanks for the memories and sharing this. Voted up.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jodah: I know, I am admitting my age by writing this but I loved Walt Disney and his genius creations have been his legacy. We are so lucky to have Mickey Mouse and all those memories from childhood. I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for your visit and comments.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

What a wonderful hub on a very beloved man. What brilliance in his creativity and innovation, as you said.

The only thing grossly lacking in this hub is a photo of you in your Mickey Mouse ears (wink wink). If you don't have one from long ago, perhaps one of today?

I didn't know he got 22 oscars. Interestingly, Meryl has had 18 nominations but only won 3.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

lambservant: I don't know if any photos of me as a child wearing my mouse ears survive! LOL! Even if they do, I don't know how to scan them to get them on the computer. I don't know how to scan old photos on the computer. The ears are somewhere packed away so I can't lay my hands on them immediately! It was certainly a show for 'baby boomer' kids and we all have such great memories. I consider Walt Disney such a creative genius - especially because he knew how to capture the imaginations of children. I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this. Yes, Disney won 22 Oscars through his animators, production people, writers, etc. He has also won some honorary Oscars.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Disney was the genius behind all his production people so he won the Oscars. He is not compared to Meryl Streep or other actors because he is not an actor. Thanks so much for reading and I am pleased you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for you input.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Disney was the genius behind all his production people so he won the Oscars. He is not compared to Meryl Streep or other actors because he is not an actor. Thanks so much for reading and I am pleased you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for you input.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Who doesn't know Mickey Mouse and have some kind of fond memories of Disney from its creator. I just picked up the latest movie on Mr. Banks. It may just give me more insight into his story. Thanks for the fun read today.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Hi Dianna: You will like the movie Mr. Banks. It is quite interesting to know the backstory to Mary Poppins and it is well done. How can you go wrong with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson? Thanks for reading this and I am glad you enjoyed it. Happy movie watching! LOL!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Fantasia is still my favorite movie! Loved this!!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

That guy(Walt Disney) has always fascinated me. Even his name is magical. i enjoyed your article. Thanks!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Hi Audrey: I too loved that Mickey Mouse movie. I think we are dating ourselves, but I don't care. It truly was such a creative movie and I think never surpassed by Disney. Thanks so much for your visit - nice to hear from you.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

rebecca: I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. Disney made himself and his movies magical and all the characters we have from him - Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the wicked step-mothers. LOL! You can tell what generation I am from. I forget all the newer characters right now, but there are literally hundreds that he created. Thanks so much for your comments - much appreciated.


Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 19 months ago

Walt Disney really wanted children to enjoy his visions. I doubt the prices would be as high as they are today at the theme parks if Walt Disney were still alive.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 19 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Blackspaniel: I have always thought Disney was a genius because he captured the imagination of children. The price of visiting the park is astronomical for families and many families cannot afford to go which I think is so sad. Thanks so much for your visit and comments.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working