Heroes of Animated Cinema #2

Mickey Mouse


Vanwall said...

See! Stigmata on the palm of his hand! He is the Chosen One!

Or so it might be interpreted. ;-)

On a different note - Walt would never give out just how he imagined Mickey, as in height, weight, etcetera, even going so far as destroying a planned animator-teaching-film segment because he had inadvertently held his hand out just over waist-high when talking about Mickey's look. There stands now in the Main Street Circle in front of Fantasyland a statue of Walt, and a life-size Mickey Mouse, just a little over...waist-high. If Walt wasn't dead, this just might’ve have killed 'im.

swac said...

Funny, I was going to post some images under "Artifacts" of "Micky Mouse", a popular wooden toy mouse that was on the market shortly before Disney supposedly dreamed up the character.

I think there was a lawsuit at the time, but copyright enforcement wasn't then what it is now.

Vanwall said...

There was a recent bit about that on an antique valuation show on TV - the gist was, there was no relation that could be proven between the inspiration for "Mickey" from "Micky", and the winner gets to write history, so we'll never really know, I guess. Seems awful coincidental if you ask me.

Tom Sutpen said...

I tend not to believe that Disney cadged Mickey Mouse from another source. Not that Uncle Walt would have been above such a thing (he'd spent enough time in the Commercial art racket to know how twilit the human heart could profitably be); it would simply have been too much of an impractical risk. The company's finances were so precarious in '27-'28 that a successful lawsuit could have deep-sixed the whole operation.

As for MIckey's physical dimensions . . . all you need do is look at the cartoons and his height in raleation to other objects (barns, bandstands, etc.). That was one supersized mouse.

Of course, what's always fascinated me is the process by which Mickey became so incredibly uninteresting as he moved from character to icon to corporate trademark.

By the way . . . anyone seen Kenneth Anger's Mouse Heaven?

Vanwall said...

I think Walt had a certain private perception of Mickey as he related to real life objects as opposed to cartoons, and I always felt perhaps Walt viewed him as an extra son in the family; he certainly kept it as personal as possible.

I understand the 'Micky' people didn't get off the dime fast enough, and by the time they did, Disney was big enough to fend off any attempt at remuneration, altho it was a shaky premise at best. I must say, the figurine shown on TV had enough similarities to make one wonder.

Sadly, Mickey's character was certainly rounded to a stupifying degree, along with Donald Duck's, eventually - Walt's Corporate side must've used a power grinder to smooth out Mickey's interesting points. I lovingly remember the wonderful Mad Magazine parody, "Mickey Rodent", By Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Elder, that had a dissolute, unshaven Mickey deviously arranging a final solution to "Darnold's" attempted usurpation as the more important character of the two, and they seemed so much more interesting in those seven pages than most of the films or most of comics the real Mickey and Donald were in during the same time period, Carl Barks' work aside.

It always made me shake my head in wonder how the Disney Studios seemed to have had this illogical will to destroy any semblance of personality or any hint of sexuality in their cartoon characters, especially if they had originally shown any, and they still seem to have that tendency to a degree. Take lovely little Tinker Bell, she’s the hottest number Disney ever came up with AFAIC – those legs (for years, the only ones showing full-length on a Disney gal it seemed, animated or not!) and that scanty costume which boldly suggested (gasp!) breasts, that perky nose and that sidelong sloe-eyed look – she was a hot li'l number, and with an attitude! Disney tried to androgynize their cartoon babes at one point - they attenuated their figures and removed any hint of breasts in the advertisements and promotionals to the point where poor Tink looked like an anorexic cross-dressing middle-school boy. WTF? Sheesh! They got it right for once and already had a boy Peter Pan, they didn't need to turn the best looking babe in their stable into one, too.

Richard Gibson said...

Good thread going here. Tom you mentioned 'Mouse Heaven' - I have seen this and as I keep threatening to write some of my notes up from Anger talking last year at the NFT about Mickey Mouse. He had as I recall rather a lot to say about this subject.