Mickey Mouse debuted in the 1928 animated short Steamboat Willie and went on to become the familiar symbol of Walt Disney studios. A cheerful rodent in white gloves and red shorts, Mickey starred in dozens of Disney shorts and the 1940 animated feature Fantasia, becoming one of the world's best-known cartoon characters. After 1950 Mickey appeared only rarely in films and instead settled into a role as Disney's ambassador in its advertisements and theme parks, with Mickey's mouse ears becoming the company symbol. Disney's daily TV show The Mickey Mouse Club was first broadcast in 1955 (the same year that Disneyland opened its doors) and became a long-running hit. Its familiar theme song included the spelled-out lyric, "Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E."
The Walt Disney Company gives Mickey’s exact birth date as 18 November 1928. That was the release date of Steamboat Willie… According to legend, Disney planned to name the mouse “Mortimer” until his wife suggested the name of Mickey… Mickey’s longtime girlfriend is Minnie Mouse and his dog is named Pluto… The Mickey Mouse Club was revived in 1977 and again in the 1990s, when its cast members (or “Mouseketeers”) included future music stars Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake. The original show launched the career of Annette Funicello… Mickey’s modern-day cousins at Disney include The Little Mermaid and Jessica Rabbit.
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