Mickey Mouse was born on a westbound train between Chicago and Los Angeles in March 1928. He has brought smiles and joy to kids and adults alike for nine decades! The actual date of his 90thbirthday is November the 18th, 2018.
Here are some fun facts about the world’s favourite mouse:
- Walt initially named Mickey Mouse ‘Mortimer,’ until Walt’s wife, Lily, suggested ‘Mickey’ was a better choice.
- When penning Mickey’s movements, early animators drew inspiration from popular comedic film stars of the day – like Charlie Chaplin.
- Walt Disney wasn’t satisfied with the first few actors chosen to provide a voice for Mickey Mouse, so he did it, and continued to do so through about 1947.
- Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to ever speak. And what were his first words? ‘Hot dogs!’
- There are hidden Mickeys all over Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Spotting them is part of the fun of going to the theme parks.
- Mickey wears white gloves so that you can see his hands (otherwise they would blend in against his body, especially in the early days with cruder animation technology).
- The first two Mickey Mouse movies cost $2,500 to make.
- Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Walt Disney originally held the patent for Technicolor, meaning that Disney was the only animator who could make cartoons in colour.
- Mickey Mouse only has four fingers! Walt Disney felt that five fingers resembled a ‘bunch of bananas.’
- Mickey Mouse is said to be more recognizable around the globe than Santa Claus.
- If you want to be the Mickey Mouse mascot at Disneyland, the theme park requires all actors to be between 4′ 8″ to 5′ 2″.
So why am I writing about Mickey Mouse?
It is because of the creative brilliance of his creator, Walt Disney. What in fact was the creative process that Walt Disney used? The answer is fascinating!
Apparently, there wasn’t just one Walt Disney. There were three.
Here’s the testimony of one of Disney’s animators:
‘There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the spoiler. You never knew which one was coming into your meeting.’
More important than the individual creative roles, was Disney’s ability to strike the right balance between them:
‘Creativity as a total process involves the coordination of these three sub-processes: dreamer, realist and critic. A dreamer without a realist cannot turn ideas into tangible expressions. A critic and a dreamer without a realist just become stuck in a perpetual conflict. The dreamer and a realist might create things, but they might not achieve a high degree of quality without a critic. The critic helps to evaluate and refine the products of creativity.’ (Robert B. Dilts, Strategies of Genius: Volume 1)
Every creative project needs to incorporate the three aspects of creative imagination, practical action, and critical refinement … that’s why when we create teams for brainstorming sessions, we ask our guests to take a quiz in advance of the session which identifies their strongest creative processing skill as a Dreamer, Builder or Realist. Our terminology is slightly different but it all comes down to the same foundation … every high functioning creative team needs all 3 types represented.
As an individual, you need to have some capability in all three roles. Most of us are naturally stronger in one or two roles and decidedly weaker in a third. The first step is having the self-awareness to recognize this.
In closing, I will leave you with my all-time favourite quote from Walt …
‘Laughter Is Timeless, Imagination Has No Age And Dreams Are Forever.’