For my final project I decided to tell the story of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse using the new knowledge I learned about digital storytelling, some online resources, and my own knowledge of the Mouse himself. I will be telling my story through a combined use of written word, photography, video and audio, and design, with a few random GIFs thrown in for fun.
Buckle up, lets follow the life of Mickey.
In 1927 Walt Disney, who at the time was an employee of Universal Studios, created a little character with floppy ears and a button nose called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Universal immediately ordered the creation of multiple short films of the new smiling little character, in 1928 however, Disney met with producers to renegotiate the contract but was told that they would be retaining the rights to Oswald and had hired out all his employees. They told him that he would only be rehired if he was willing to take a lower salary, obviously Disney said no.
Disney along with his last loyal animator, Ub Iwerks continued to draw and sketch many many long nights until they got a shorter, rounder version of Oswald with smaller ears and a bigger nose. They had turned Oswald into a mouse and named him Mortimer, however, that name did not stick, no one is really sure why but the rumor is that Disney’s wife did not like that name. So he became Mickey.
Disney and his small team began to put together their own shorts using Mickey and overall got no response, until they released Steamboat Willie. This drew attention because it was the first film put to synchronized music and the people suddenly loved Mickey. It premiered in November 1928, creating Mickeys unofficial birthday and starting his success.
The Many Faces of Mickey:
Since then Mickey has had many faces and many designs each only slightly different than the one before. Not to mention the addition of his friends, and his park.
In 1931 Mickey reappeared in his next short just slightly different than before, he looked the same but moved smoother and had more abilities than he did in 1928.
In 1935 Fred Moore started to work on Mickeys first “makeover”. Up until then animators and sketch artists had drawn Mickey as circles, limiting how many ways they could draw him. Moore changed the view and made the mouses body pear shaped, as well as his eyes, and shortened his nose, making him look happier and more friendly. He also became colored for the first time and between 1935 and 1936 a few more films were released and used this new Mickey. The film The Band Concert was the first and had an astonishing use of Technicolor, another was Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony.
By 1937 more films were being produced a year using Mickey as all sorts of rolls, from conductor to football star. Walt Disney now provided the voice, making Mickey more recognizable and popular than ever.
Mickey got another makeover in 1940 when he became the Sorcerers Apprentice in Fantasia. Again in 1941, where he became slightly more animated and another in 1947 in the Mickey Mouse version of Jack and the Beanstalk.
In 1955 Mickey got another new look for the logo of the Mickey Mouse Club . The new TV show was watched by children all over on the television and would win more popularity and love for the little mouse. His new makeover was not permanent nor widely applied, it was really only used for the Mickey Mouse Club.
For around the next thirty years Mickey went into a “semi-retirement”, he did not have many new films or shows and only made appearances in other things such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Then in the 90’s he started to become more popular again and got a little bit of a makeover making him somewhat modern and vintage at the same time.
Finally in the early 2000’s Mickey Mouse became what we most commonly see today, the clean but detailed cartoon happy mouse.
In 2006 Mickey was made 3D for the very first time, marking a milestone in his “career” and creating Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a show that airs on Disney Jr in the mornings.
Most recently is the new rather odd show on Disney Channel following our beloved Mickey and his friends in what could be there lives and looking at what they might be like today if they were real.
All three 2000’s versions of Mickey can be seen pretty commonly around social media, the internet, the Disney Parks, and other Disney merchandise. Although it is not uncommon to also see pictures and merchandise of the older versions of Mickey as well.
Below is a video to show off all the stages of our beloved Mickey Mouse.
So there you have it, the story of Mickey Mouse. It was fun to write this and create all the stuff for it. Read my next blog to find out how I made everything and see what tactics I used, as well as my daily creates for these last few days of class!