5 Things You Didn't Know About Mickey Mouse

On November 18, 1928, the first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" starring Mickey Mouse, premiered in New York. Here are five fun facts you didn’t know about everyone's favorite mouse. 


Disney’s Mascot Was Almost A Rabbit Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was created in 1927 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks for Universal Pictures. He was a pretty popular character, so when Disney and Universal had a disagreement, Universal took control of the rabbit, and  Walt Disney and Iwerks created Mickey Mouse.  Disney’s Mickey Mouse bore an interesting resemblance to Oswald. In 2006, Disney reacquired the character in an odd exchange for sportscaster Al Michaels. Michaels wanted out of his ABC contract to join NBC's Sunday Night Football. Since NBC wanted Michaels, Universal—which owns NBC—offered to return Oswald to Disney in exchange for the sportscaster.

Mickey Mouse Is The Most Popular Write-In Candidate At the Voting Booth Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and others receive write-in votes during elections, which is the voter’s way of saying they don’t like any of the candidates running for the office. Mickey is the number one choice of those voters during presidential elections in the United States. In Sweden, however, Donald Duck, who is called Kalle Anka in Swedish, is more likely to get voted in. In 2006, "The Donald Duck Party" came in 21st place out of the 40 represented parties running for office.


Mickey Was Banned in Some Countries Mickey Mouse has been banned in Romania, Iran, Yugoslavia, and Germany. The government of Romania banned Mickey in 1935 because they thought the sight of a giant rodent on-screen would terrify children. In 2014, Iran banned Disney characters such as Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, and Toy Story characters because they were “demoralizing.” The state of Ohio once banned a Mickey Mouse cartoon in 1930 because one of its characters, Clarabelle Cow, was reading a romance novel.

Mickey Was Almost Named Mortimer When Walt Disney was developing Mickey Mouse, his original idea was to name him Mortimer. When he told his wife Lillian the name he had in mind, she told him she didn’t think it worked for the character. After going back to the drawing board, he offered Mickey Mouse as a possibility and got a positive response. That’s how the iconic character got his name. Mortimer was later used as the name of Mickey’s rival.

Mickey Has Only Four Fingers For a Reason Cartoon characters, in general, tend to have only four fingers. One of the reasons is that it is quicker and easier to draw, which saves the artists time and the companies money. In addition, according to Disney himself, adding that extra finger would have made the mouse’s hand look like a bunch of bananas. According to a remark Disney made to Bob Thomas, “five fingers seemed like too much on such a little figure.”