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The Evolution of Mickey Mouse: From Steamboat Willie to Today!

Mickey Mouse has lived a long, long life. And in his 80 plus years of existence, he has gone through many changes. He’s been thinner, has been in just black and white, didn’t always wear gloves and went from looking very mouse like to being the Mickey Mouse we love and adore today.

This month the Disney Channel will debut a brand new Mickey Mouse, which, in his design, is very much old school. In the new series of Mickey Mouse shorts, Disney looks far more like the 1930s Mickey then the Mickey who hangs out in Clubhouse on Disney Jr.. In honor of this new incarnation of everyone’s favorite mouse, we’ve taken a look back at how Mickey has evolved over his lifetime. Check it out here:

  • The Evolution of Mickey Mouse 1 of 13
    Mickeyevolution

    Click through to see how Mickey has changed through the ages.

  • Plane Crazy 2 of 13
    43424475

    While many assume Steamboat Willie was the first appearance of Mickey Mouse, he actually first appeared in a silent short called Plane Crazy back in 1928. The short was not a hit, but after Steamboat Willie met with rave reviews, sound was added and it was released again, as the fourth Mickey short.

    Mickey here is very basic, with gigantic eyes and no gloves.

    You can watch Plane Crazy right here.

  • Steamboat Willie 3 of 13
    43424439

    Steamboat Willie  - from 1928 - is the known for being the first big appearance of Mickey Mouse and the image of Mickey steering the ship has become totally iconic.

    This black and white Mickey is far thinner than the Mickey we know today;  his eyes are smaller and all black. And he has yet to start donning gloves.

  • Smiling Mouse 4 of 13
    mickeysheetmusic

    In this example of Mickey above, we start to see the cheerful grin that has become a trademark of Mickey. He has yet to gain weight, but he did get his gloves!

  • UB Iwerks 5 of 13
    mickey_mouse_poster_from_1928_sells_for_more_than_100000_dzhbi

    "Ub" Iwerks is the co-creator of Mickey Mouse and he didn't have just a close working relationship with Walt Disney, but the two were close friends. Iwerks was responsible for animating the early Mickey Mouse cartoons and helped to fine-tune Mickey.

    In this incarnation, Mickey finally has color such as his iconic red shorts, and he also had a slice taken out of his eyes, giving him a more expressive look.

  • No Sliced Eyes 6 of 13
    A0029

    As it turns out, the "slice" out of the eye was short lived. Mickey soon returned to the his round black pupil look.

  • Fantasia 7 of 13
    fantasia

    Mickey Mouse was fully formed and very developed by 1940 when he starred the The Sorcerer's Apprentice. In fact, he was made the star in order to try to give a boost to his popularity since it had been waning.

    Here Mickey's skin tone isn't black or white as in previous incarnations; during this era he was given a Caucasian flesh tone.

  • Mickey Mouse Club 8 of 13
    Mickey-Mouse-Club

    In the mid-50's, Mickey had a slightly rounder look and his face was given a slightly different, more pear-like shape.

  • Generic Mickey 9 of 13
    mickey_mouse-1097

    This is a totally classic and standard Mickey that has become a universal symbol for Mickey. All the modern elements are there, the simple shoes (his heel has been lost with a more rounded look), he's fuller than before, his gloves are firmly in place and always white, and his eyes are white with a black iris.

  • 70s Mickey 10 of 13
    cover

    The 70's Mickey saw had an even rounder look, with his ears, face, and eyes lending him a more oval look.

  • 3D Mickey 11 of 13
    42573

    As art and animation progressed, Mickey was given a more 3D look. Check out the comparison between this one and two slides back.

  • Computer Animated Mickey 12 of 13
    mickey-mouse-clubhouse-1

    In Disney Channel's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, this Mickey has a very modern, computerized look with thinner eyes and a more refined look.

  • New Mickey Mouse Shorts! 13 of 13
    MICKEY MOUSE, MINNIE MOUSE

    After about twenty years, Mickey Mouse is starring in cartoons once again (besides hosting Micky Mouse Clubhouse). The Disney Channel with be premiering a new series of shorts simply called, Mickey Mouse, starting the weekend of June 28 to 30. 

    This Mickey harkens back to the Mickey of yore, a thinner mouse with heels back on his shoes, less rounded features and the black eyes with a slice cut out returns.

    But you know what, in each and every incarnation, Mickey is still Mickey!

     

 

 

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