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Walt Disney - the genius creator of Mickey Mouse
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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.
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
Fantasia - The Sorcerer's Apprentice
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