Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy 81st birthday to my favorite rodent

Entertainment icon Mickey Mouse made his "talking picture" debut on November 18, 1928 in an animated short called Steamboat Willie. His trademark squeaky voice was provided by Walt Disney himself.

I actually got to see Steamboat Willie for the first time a couple of months ago when I went to the Walt Disney World resort, and I must say the little mouse has held up pretty well!

There's an incredible article by M. Thomas Inge about Mickey Mouse in American Icons: an Encyclopedia of the People, Places and Things that have Shaped Our Culture, edited by Dennis R. and Susan Grove Hall. Our library has access to this work through the Pop Culture Universe database; Reinhardt folks can read it here. This article looks at the mouse from a sociological perspective, examining both the societal influences on Mickey's creation (was his appearance really based on a stereotypical character from a minstrel show?) and the influences Mickey himself has had on world culture (did you know that in China the folk figure of the Monkey King has been depicted with Mickey's face)? Just one of the many titillating revelations in the piece: Walt Disney apparently admitted that he loved Mickey Mouse more than any woman he'd ever known!

Check it out!

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