Mickey was soon an American sensation and the “real genius of Walt Disney kicked in”, Time magazine’s Claire Suddath said.
He realised the marketing power of his little mouse and within a matter of months Mickey had his own line of merchandise and his own club, The Mickey Mouse Club.
The movies kept coming too. By 1937 the company was producing 12 short Mickey films a year, featuring the mouse who’d seen and done it all: signed up for the army, been a football hero, conducted a symphony, rescued his pup Pluto from a dog catcher, lost his girl Minnie to several beefy bad boys . . .
By the ’50s Mickey was the star of a newspaper comic strip, The Mickey Mouse Club had become a TV variety show and Mickey was the inspiration behind the theme park Disneyland.
By this time the Disney studios were flexing their muscles in full-length movies and the success of films such as Snow White, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty meant Mickey – who was nearing 30 – could take a bit of a break.
He starred in two more movies – Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983 and The Prince and the Pauper in 1990 – but TV was where he found his new home.
Shows such as Mickey Mouse Works, Disney’s House of Mouse and, most recently, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, were all hits.