Mickey mania

As Mickey Mouse, world’s most recognised cartoon character, celebrates his birthday on November 18, check out some interesting facts about this Disney character:

n Mickey became an instant hit on November 18, 1928, with the release of Steamboat Willie, the first ever cartoon with synchronised sound. At that time, most other studios were still producing silent films while Disney adopted sound and raised the standard.

n Walt originally wanted to call Mickey "Mortimer Mouse", and it was changed to "Mickey Mouse" when Walt’s wife Lillian said she felt that "Mortimer" sounded too pompous and suggested another name that personified the qualities of fun and humbleness.

n In Opry House, a video short released on March 28, 1929, Mickey started wearing white gloves. He went on to wear them in most of his subsequent appearances until today.

n Mickey became the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 18, 1978, in honour of his 50th anniversary. The star is located on 6925 Hollywood Boulevard.

n Disney’s product licensing business began in 1929, when Walt Disney accepted a deal with a stationery company for the right to imprint Mickey Mouse on school writing tablets. This later turned into what is now known as Disney Consumer Products, a 23 billion dollar business (as of 2007 fiscal year end).

n One of the most iconic Mickey Mouse products of all time is the Mickey Mouse wrist watch. The first one was produced by the Ingersoll-Waterbury company in 1933, and it was sold for $2.95. The company presented Walt Disney with the 25-millionth Mickey Mouse watch in 1957. Later, it became the foundation company for the brand now known as Timex.

n The creation of Mickey Mouse earned Walt Disney an honorary Academy Award in 1932.

n Mickey was given his own entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1934.

n Mickey appeared in colour for the first time in The Band Concert, which premiered on February 23, 1935.

n Mickey appeared in black and white for the last time in Mickey’s Kangaroo, which actually premiered about two months after the first colour one.

n Mickey Mouse’ feature film debut in Fantasia in 1940 as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice was one of his most famous roles ever. The film introduced stereophonic sound to motion pictures through a special sound system called Fantasound, and cost $2.28 million to make.

n In 1955, Mickey made his debut on television in The Mickey Mouse Club television show.

n According to Walt Disney, Mickey and Minnie Mouse have never been married on screen. But, in 1933, during an interview with Film Pictorial, Walt said, "In private life, Mickey is married to Minnie... What it really amounts to is that Minnie is, for screen purposes, his leading lady."

n In designing and constructing a Disney theme park or adding the final touches to an attraction, Disney Imagineers subtly "hide" Mickey Mouse silhouettes in plain sight. It, later, became a tradition known as "Hidden Mickeys".

n One of Walt Disney’s most famous quotes about his accomplishments is: "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse." — TNS