Oswald, Mickey, and Mortimer
August 27, 2009 1:51 PM Subscribe
Mickey Mouse's early road to fame (yt playlist with ~160 videos) has some odd twists and turns. One of Walt Disney's early cartoon creations was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the star of Trolley Troubles (5:45, 1927) and other early shorts. Disney had big plans for the popular little rabbit, and wanted to increase his budget from Universal Pictures. Unfortunately, Charles B. Mintz wanted to scale back the budget, and in the end Universal kept control of Oswald Rabbit. Without Oswald, Disney needed something new. Jack Dunham, one of Disney's Nine Old Men recalled animating Oswald and "the one without the ears." Initially, this one was called Mortimer, but Lillian Disney, Walt Disney's wife, believed the name "Mortimer" sounded too pompous and suggested the name Mickey, though Mickey Rooney claims he was the inspiration. Either way, the mouse was renamed Mickey in short order, and he starred in Plane Crazy (video, 6:00, 1928, previously). By 1929, he was wearing his iconic gloves (and talking), in The Karnival Kid (video, 7:41). But Mortimer returned, as Mickey's Rival (8:16, 1936), eventually getting his own themesong (1:56, modern recording off of TV; better quality song with a still image, 1:35) and again in a modern short (1:30, 2000), amongst other appearances. Then there's Uncle Mortimer, who first traveled with Mickey Mouse in Death Valley, though it's not always clear whose uncle he is. And in the alternate universe that is Bloom County, Mickey's fraternal twin is Mortimer (technically, he resides in Outland).
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