Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse! Fun facts about Disney's magical mascot

Mickey Mouse made his debut on Nov. 18, 1928, in the animated short 'Steamboat Willie.'

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Here are cool things you may not have known about the famous animated character.

ORLANDO -- Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse! That's right, the little mouse recognized all over the world celebrates his birthday on Friday, Nov. 18.

Artists who have drawn Mickey through the years have referred to him as Walt Disney's "alter ego" and have said he "represents the world of animation."

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U.S. cartoonist Walt Disney poses with one of his creations, Mickey Mouse, on the roof of Grosvenor House in London, June. 12, 1935.
AP Photo

Here are 11 facts about the famous mouse we all know and love:

Mickey's debut

Mickey Mouse made his debut on Nov. 18, 1928, in the animated short "Steamboat Willie" at the Colony Theater in New York City. That film also marked the public debut of Minnie Mouse. Both Minnie and Mickey had appeared previously in "Plane Crazy," a short film that was distributed after "Steamboat Willie."

World's first

"Steamboat Willie" was the world's first cartoon with synchronized sound and featured Walt Disney's own voice for Mickey's squeaks.

Hard work

Back in the day, a Mickey Mouse cartoon could include more than 10,000 drawings for a seven and half minute film and could take anywhere from six months to two years to complete.

An animation cell showcases Mickey Mouse inviting Minnie to join him on a musical haywagon ride in Walt Disney Animation Studios' short "Get A Horse!"
Disney

Mickey fever

More than 100 Mickey Mouse cartoons were produced during the 1930s and were shown in theaters with feature films, newsreels, serial dramas and comedies. Disney's shorts were so popular that moviegoers would often ask if a Mickey cartoon would be part of the show before purchasing a ticket, according to Robert Tieman, author of "The Mickey Mouse Treasures."

Meet the Mouse

Mickey Mouse made his first live, in-person appearance on March 12, 1931, in Los Angeles in a live stage show called the "Mickey Mouse Idea."

The iconic watch

Arguably the most successful piece of Mickey merchandise was the iconic Mickey Mouse watch. Debuting in June 1933, more than 2.5 million watches were sold in the first two years of production, and a Mickey Watch was even included in the time capsule at the 1939 World's Fair in New York.

Bring in the color!

Mickey made his first color film appearance in "The Band Concert" in 1935.

Welcoming the white gloves

Mickey's white gloves made their first appearance in 1929's "When the Cat's Away."

Mickey Mouse greets visitors at the entrance to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Monday, April 18, 2022.
AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

All in the family

While you may be familiar with Mickey's friends like Donald and Goofy, he also has quite a large family! His nephews Morty and Ferdie may be the most recognizable, but Mickey also has more than a dozen cousins, uncles and grandparents, including Uncle Maxwell, a college professor, Cousin Digger, an Australian rancher, and Uncle Louie, a French chef.

A place in history

In honor of his 60th birthday, Mickey Mouse was given a place in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1988, Walt Disney Studios donated six original animation drawings from "Steamboat Willie" to the National Museum of American History.

From Charlie to Mickey

Walt Disney has said that silent film star Charlie Chaplin was one of the inspirations for the character of Mickey Mouse. "We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin...a little fellow trying to do the best he could," Disney said, according to Tieman in The Mickey Mouse Treasures. Ub Iwerks, the artist who helped Disney first design Mickey, said of the character, "People accepted him as a symbolic character, and though he looked like a mouse, he was accepted as dashing and heroic."

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.