Childhood fans of Disney clebrate Mickey Mouse’s 92nd birthday

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photo contributed by Anna Dimaiuta

Sophomore Anna Dimaiuta watches her favorite Disney move “WALL-E” with her own WALL-E.

Cassandra Barnes, Staff Writer

Seen as an icon throughout many generations, Mickey Mouse celebrates every “birthday” on Nov. 18 and the company’s creator, Walt Disney, is celebrated every Dec. 7 on Disney Day. Since the animated character’s debut in 1928, the Disney company and Mickey have grown. However, the character was never meant to exist.

Disney’s original idea for an animated character was Oswald the Rabbit, but Disney had no rights to the character since it was owned by Universal Studios. With the help of animator Ub Iwerks, Disney created a character based on a domesticated mouse he had found in his Missouri studio. After multiple character designs and his wife’s distaste for the name Mortimer, Mickey Mouse was born.

After two unsuccessful short animated reels of the mouse, Disney’s success came with the short film “Steamboat Willie” on Nov. 18, 1928. Soon after, the company created new classic characters like Donald Duck and Goofy to serve as side characters following Mickey on his adventures. 

Disney then expanded to full movies, starting with the high-grossing 1934 film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” which launched his company into stardom.

Since then, Disney has released a multitude of animated movies, some of which have adults recalling their childhoods.

“The [movie] that stood out the most to me was ‘Pinocchio’,” English teacher Kimberly Scott said. 

“Pinocchio” is a 1940 classic following the story of a wooden puppet boy, Pinocchio, who endures stressful situations. After gaining a conscience in the form of an insect named Jiminy Cricket by a blue fairy, Pinocchio struggles with being kidnapped by a puppet-master, landing on an island full of donkeys and being swallowed by a whale to save his father. In the end, Pinocchio is granted the gift of life, becoming a human.

“It was the way Pinocchio went about getting his dream the right way that I liked [as a child],” Scott said. “I hoped I was making the decisions to become who I was supposed to be, and I remember the primary [message of the movie] being not to lie.”

Freshman Kyra LaBar tells of the 2002 movie “Lilo and Stitch,” which follows the story of a little girl and all-time troublemaker, Lilo, as she and her big sister, Nani, deal with the craziness of adopting an alien from a pet store. 

“I’m very much into the little friendship things, like how the characters adapt and grow with each other,” LaBar said. “My favorite character is probably [Nani] because she’s so empowering and tries so hard to do everything while maintaining her own work and hobbies.”

Instead of messages about honesty and friendship, sophomore Anna Dimaiuta appreciates the art and personalities of characters in the movie “WALL-E,” which was released in 2008 and tells of a small robot left to clean up the trash that was left on the uninhabitable Earth before the population had moved into space.

“I like the story and I think the whole art aspect of the movie is really pretty,” Dimaiuta said. “There are no lines for at least the first 20 to 40 minutes of the movie as they tell the story of a little trash robot and I love it.”

The mouse can still be seen in the beginning credits of many Disney movies, whistling as he steers his steamboat from his first successful short feature under a film-like layer that adds to the character’s nostalgia.

“Mickey Mouse has led to animation being entertainment for both kids and adults,” LeBar said. “Though Mickey Mouse wasn’t Disney’s first character to be created, he’s the most well known, and he teaches kids with his do-no-wrong personality, which is what is so important about him.”