By Lawrence Pfeil Jr.
Time magazine has declared him “the world’s most recognized character.”
He’s made over 130 films; been nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning one in 1942; and for his 50th birthday, he became the first animated character to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has his own club, theme song, and comic strip which ran for 45 years. In the 21st century his presence can be found on digital mediums everywhere. Today that true original, the quintessential nice guy, turns 90.
On November 18, 1928, Mickey Mouse debuted on the screen of New York City’s Colony Theatre in Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” the first talking animated cartoon.
The rest, as they say, is “mouse-try.”
Opening earlier this month in the city where it all began is a new exhibit exploring the cultural impact and influence Mickey Mouse has had on prolific artists including gay artist, Keith Haring.
Running now through February 10, 2019, “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” is a one of kind experience that…
“…celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture. Opening in November 2018, this immersive experience is inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his consistent impact on the arts and creativity in all its forms. Guests will have the chance to explore the 16,000 square-foot exhibition featuring both historic and contemporary work from renowned artists.”
Possibly more than Mickey Mouse’s artistic and cultural impact, the greatest contributions to be celebrated 90 years later are the virtues and values he has inspired in and for generations. Today, in our world fueled by fear, lies, hate, bigotry, anger, and dishonesty, Mickey Mouse still reminds us of our better selves. He treats others (even an ornery duck) with friendship, kindness, compassion, humility, humanity, and honesty, but is not afraid to stand-up to bullies.
It’s said, “nice guys finish last,” and maybe; but one thing is certain. Mickey Mouse is proof, he will endure longer than any tough who thinks they’re better than the little guy.
On a personal note… Growing up I never had anyone famous who shared my birthday, no president, historic icon, humanitarian, or celebrated artist. It wasn’t until my 13th birthday that I learned I was born on my idol’s birthday when Mickey Mouse turned 50. I’ll admit I’ve turned out a bit more jaded, snarky, and cynical than the example he set, but whenever I feel lowest, I know Mickey will rekindle my better self.
Now, on with the show!
In our current political times, people say “we have gone through the looking glass,” and I can’t argue with their conjecture, especially given what Mickey experienced “Thru the Mirror” in 1936.
But my favorite Mickey Mouse performance is undoubtedly as “The Sorcerers Apprentice” in Fantasia.
More information, tickets, and 360 virtual tour for “Mickey: The True Original Exhibition” click HERE
On the occasion of the opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney said,
The Disney Company has consistently been on the fore of LGBT equality and was one of the first corporations in America to offer same-sex partner benefits to its employees. Walt, Mickey, Chip n Dale, and the everyone else at the “Happiest Place on Earth” would be proud today.
In case you forgot to bake a cake to celebrate today, you can run out to your local store and pick-up package of limited edition Mickey Mouse Birthday Cake Oreo cookies!
(Mickey Mouse images courtesy of (c) Disney)