Mickey Mouse, the icon of an animation empire, celebrates 90th birthday

316

It was the Roaring ‘20s. Calvin Coolidge was in the White House, the New York Yankees had just won their third World Series title and Mickey Mouse made his debut on the silver screen.

On Sunday, Mickey Mouse, the brainchild of cartoonist Walt Disney that eventually came to symbolize a global entertainment empire, celebrates his 90th birthday.

The iconic rodent, whose easily recognizable silhouette consists simply of a big circle and two little ones for ears, launched his celluloid career in “Steamboat Willie,” at New York’s Colony Theater on November 18, 1928.

In the eight-minute-long, black-and-white cartoon, Mickey pilots a steamboat and entertains his passenger, Minnie Mouse, by making musical instruments out of the menagerie on board, according to IMDB.com.

Mickey Mouse, whom the Walt Disney Company calls its global ambassador, also starred in Disney’s critically acclaimed 1942 animated film Fantasia, and would go on to launch a franchise with The Mickey Mouse Club, the 1950s television series that was a favorite of American baby boom kids.

His image appeared on T-shirts, lunch boxes and watches, and the telltale mouse ears are still worn by kids visiting Disney theme parks today.