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Fantasies Come True > Disney 101

DISNEY 101

 

This page last updated: January 27, 2006

Are you new to this whole Disney collecting thing?

Would you be able to name ALL seven dwarfs if it came up on "Jeopardy"?

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are both blondes - but do you know which blonde is which?

Fantasies Come True offers Disney newbies this short course in Disney and Disney collecting.

We call it "Disney 101".

JUMP TO:
The Disney animated feature milestones
The complete listing of Disney Animated Classic Features (with links to the Internet Movie Database)
The Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto)

 

~oOo~

 

The Disney animated feature milestones

 

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (Released 1937)
In the more than three years that it took 750+ artists to produce this landmark movie, Walt Disney's animated retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" came to be known as "Disney's folly". Hardly anyone in Hollywood thought that adults would pay good money (especially in the middle of a depression!) to go see what they thought was going to be nothing more than a long cartoon. And certainly not enough adults to warrant the US$1.4 million production cost, a high price tag in those days. But they didn't count on Disney's uncanny foresight and vision, the artistic abilities of the people involved, nor did they count on the taste of the movie-going public. They turned out in droves to see "Disney's folly" and soon made it the highest grossing motion picture of all time. It took "Gone With The Wind" to get knocked off that perch.

Without the enormous financial success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", Disney would never have found the money to expand his empire and bring to the screen all the animated features that were to follow. So innovative was this film that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Disney a special Oscar (one full-size Oscar and seven dwarf-sized Oscars) for "significant screen innovation".

Knowing that they were a key element to the success of the picture, the team at Disney spent a long time getting the names and personalities of the dwarfs just right. Their names are familiar now, but at the time they were just some on a long list of possible names. The Seven Dwarfs could have been known as: Hoppy, Jumpy, Wheezy, Biggy-Wiggy, Biggo-Ego, Gaspy and Awful. Thankfully, there were not!

THE HEROINE: Snow White
THE VILLAIN: The Evil Queen

The major characters in this movie were -


Snow White, the fairest one of all
The Evil Queen, jealous of Snow White's beauty, she transforms herself into The Hag with the poisoned apple.
The Prince
The Woodcutter who was under instructions to kill Snow White (but fortunately he wimped out).
...and of course the Seven Dwarfs
Doc
Bashful
Happy
Sneezy
Sleepy
Grumpy
and perhaps the most beloved dwarf of all: Dopey

 

PINOCCHIO (released 1940)
Disney's second venture into feature screen animation brought to the screen one of the most loved and admired movies, the telling of Collodi's classic tale of a wooden puppet's effort to become a real boy. This is the movie that introduced the Oscar- winning song "When You Wish Upon A Star", the song most closely associated with the Walt Disney Studios. It also introduced us to the plucky Jiminy Cricket, one of the most popular Disney characters of all.

THE HERO: Pinocchio
THE VILLAINS: Stromboli, the Coachman, Honest John, Gideon, Monstro

The major characters in this movie were -


Pinocchio, a puppet who yearns to be made into a real boy
Geppetto, a lonely wood carver who yearns for a son of his own
Jiminy Cricket, the faithful cricket who is Pinocchio's conscience
The Blue Fairy, who grants Pinocchio life with the promise of making him a real boy
Figaro, Geppetto's feisty cat
Monstro, the whale who swallows Geppetto and his raft
Honest John & Gideon, scheming types who turn Pinocchio over to...
Stromboli, an evil puppeteer
The Coachman,
who lures bad little boys to their doom on Pleasure Island

 

FANTASIA (released 1940)
Few animated movies that came out of the Disney studios engrossed Walt Disney's attention as much as "Fantasia" did. If Snow White was Disney's Folly, "Fantasia" was Disney's Passion. This motion picture was like no other in that it did not have a single, on-going story line running through it. Instead it had eight separate segments, each of them able to stand alone, each of them employing different animation techniques and styles and each of them a masterpiece of animation unto themselves.

Led by famed conductor Leopold Stokowski, the Philadelphia Orchestra played the following pieces -

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (Bach)
The Nutcracker Suite (Tchaikovsky)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas)
Rite of Spring (Stravinsky)
Pastoral (Beethoven)
Dance of the Hours (Ponchielli)
Night on Bald Mountain (Moussorgsky)
Ave Maria (Shubert)

Walt Disney's aim was to provide audiences with an experience as close to a live concert as he and his collaborators could come. To that end they came up with a patented sound system called "Fantasound" which was, in essence, an early version of cinematic stereophonic sound. This meant outfitting the theaters where "Fantasia" would play with a whole new sound system which was very expensive to say the least. The original conception of "Fantasia" was that it would be an on-going work-in-progress in which the program of blended music and animation would change from time to time. Older segments would be dropped as newer ones were completed. This lofty idea however was never realized. The expense of mounting "Fantasia" became high and it never recouped it's original outlay. All plans to make "Fantasia" a masterpiece without end were dropped until the video release in the 1980s. The video release did so well that Walt's nephew Roy convinced CEO to make a sequel, and "Fantasia 2000" was born.

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Hyacinth Hippo - the ballerina, chased around by the lecherous...
Ben Ali Gator, the ardent alligator from Dance of the Hours
Mademoisell Upanova - the Prima Ballerina from Dance of the Hours
Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice
Yensid - the Sorcerer most displeased with Mickey's efforts. (Spell Yensid backwards and what do you get?)
The family of mushrooms, from The Nutcracker Suite
Chernabog, the devilish giant from Night on Bald Mountain

 

DUMBO (released 1941)
One of Disney's most enduring characters is Dumbo, the baby elephant with ears so big he can fly. Like anyone born with something that sets him apart, Dumbo learns to turn humilation into triumph. The story of Dumbo was found by the two directors of the movie on the side of a cereal box. They recognized the story's potential, expanded it and took it to Walt for approval. The Walt Disney studio had just made three expensive animated movies in a row ("Snow White", "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia") and had turned a profit on two of them. With wartime audiences down, they needed something which they could turn into a movie but without the expense that had drained the studios' bank vault. They found the solution in "Dumbo", managing to produce a classic of animation at half the cost of Pinocchio.

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Dumbo, the awkward baby elephant who is picked on because his ears are so big
Timothy, Dumbo's faithful mouse friend
Stork, who unites the baby Dumbo with his loving mother.

 

BAMBI (released 1942)
The release of "Bambi", the story of a fawn who grows up to be the Great Prince of the Forest, took the Walt Disney studios into a new realm of animation. It was the first time they had produced a movie in which all the characters were animals and this time they were tackling a more serious subject matter. Much of the production team was made up of the staff that had worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". They also spent a great deal of time and effort on capturing the animals as realistically as possible, including a pair of deer that had been donated to the studio. When they became too tame, the team of animators watched specially shot footage of deer in the wilds of Maine. It took seven years to bring "Bambi" to the screen but it was time well spent, as the result was another classic feature of animation and one of the most loved characters in the Disney family.

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Bambi, the fawn
Thumper the rabbit, Bambi's friend (see also Thumper-WDCC)
Flower, the skunk, Bambi's ironically-named pal
Faline, Bambi's girlfriend
Bambi's mother

 

SONG OF THE SOUTH (released 1946)
This movie was a landmark for Walt Disney and his studios as it was the first time they had produced a live action feature. However as Disney was known as an animation studio, it was felt that some animation should be included. The result was the part live-action, part-animated feature "Song Of The South" in which little Johnny (played by Bobby Driscoll) learns some lessons of life through stories told to him by "Uncle Remus" (played by James Baskett, who won an honorary Oscar for the role). Uncle Remus' stories of the adventures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear were told in animation. The best-known song from this movie is the Oscar-winning "Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah".

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Brer Rabbit
Brer Fox
Brer Bear
Uncle Remus

 

CINDERELLA (released 1950)
After the economic struggles throughout, and after, World War II (during which the Disney Studio had to make do with cobbled together features such as Make Mine Music and Melody Time) Disney made a triumphant return to feature animation with their 1950 release of the classic fairytale "Cinderella". Such were the studios finances at the time, that if "Cinderella" had not been successful, it could well have been the end of Disney animation. However that was not the case. Disney's telling of Cinderella was one of the highest grossing movies of the year and gave us some classic Disney songs, including "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and the Oscar-nominated "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo". (Oh, and to answer the "Which blonde is which?" question from the top of this page, Cinderella is the blonde with the shorter hair, often seen dancing with her Prince Charming with her hair up. Sleeping Beauty is the one with the long blonde hair whose dress keeps changing from blue to pink and back to blue again because Flora and Merryweather can never decide.)

THE HEROINE: Cinderella
THE VILLAIN: Lady Tremaine

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Cinderella
Prince Charming
Fairy Godmother
Jaq & Gus, Cinderella's mouse friends
Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's horrible stepmother
Anastasia, Cinderella's awful stepsister
Drizella, Cinderella's dreadful stepsister
Lucifer, Lady Tremaine's nasty cat
Bruno, the Tremain household's lazy dog

 

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (released 1951)
The connection between Walt Disney and Lewis Carroll's Alice goes back to the 1920s when he produced over 40 shorts mixing animation with live action; known collectively as "The Alice Comedies". In 1933 he had considered producing a fully live action version starring Mary Pickford, however Paramount beat him to it so he shelved the idea. It took until the late 1940s before the Disney Studios started work on a fully animated feature, telling the classic story of a little girl named Alice who follows a harried white rabbit down a hole.

THE HEROINE: Alice
THE VILLAIN: The Queen of Hearts

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Alice, the little girl who gets more than she bargained for when she spots a rabbit in a hurry
The White Rabbit, the rabbit who's late "...for a very important date"
Queen of Hearts, the bossy monarch with a short temper known for her catchcry "Off with her head!"
King of Hearts, the Queen of Heart's meek and long-suffering spouse.
Cheshire Cat, the mysterious feline whose smile stays around longer than he does.
The Mad Hatter, the ever-confused guy who puts on the famous "Unbirthday" tea party.
Dormouse, the sleepy mouse at the Mad Hatter's tea party.
The March Hare, another strange guest at the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Tweedledee & Tweedledum, the obnoxious twins
The Caterpillar
, the caterpillar who sits on a toadstool and smokes all day long
The Walrus & The Carpenter, whom Alice encounters on a beach.

 

PETER PAN (released 1953)
The planning of "Peter Pan" started way back as far as 1935 but Walt's connection to the character and story had its beginnings way before that. As a schoolboy both Walt and his brother, Roy, raided their piggy banks so that they could see a roadshow production of the stage play that was coming to town, starring Maude Adams as Peter. (In the tradition of British pantomime, Peter Pan is always played by a young woman.) Walt and his team started planning their animated screen telling in 1935 but it wasn't until 1939 that Walt secured the rights with the Ormond Street Hospital in London (to whom author Sir James M. Barrie had bequeathed the rights of the play). It took from then until 1949 that work on the animated feature finally began. One of the characters from this movie, the jealous and mischievous fairy - Tinker Bell, was just a beam of light on stage however she emerged as being one of Disney's most popular, beloved and enduring characters.

THE HERO: Peter Pan
THE VILLAIN: Captain Hook

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Peter Pan, the magical boy who refuses to grow up
Tinker Bell, Peter's jealous fairy friend
John, Michael & Wendy Darling, whom Peter Pan teaches to fly
Nana, the Darling Family's dog
Captain Hook, the scheming pirate captain
Crocodile, the hungry croc who ate Hook's hand and wants more
Mr Smee, Captain Hook's right hand man
Tiger Lily, the kidnapped Indian princess

 

LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955)
This movie marked the Disney Studios' first foray into the wide-screen CinemaScope format. This meant extra work and action to fill the enlarged screen - they had 30% more screen to fill. It was also the first time that the Disney Studios had produced an animated feature that was not based on a previously published novel or story. Work on the movie started back in the 1930s. During its long development, Tramp's name went from "Homer" to "Rags" to "Bozo" to eventually "Tramp" and the Siamese Cats (voiced by Peggy Lee and not part of the original story "Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog) started out as "Nip" and "Tuck" before they were renamed "Si" and "Am". This movie gave Disney one of its most memorable scenes where Tramp and Lady share a single strand of spaghetti while restaurant owner Tony and waiter Joe serenade the scene with "Bella Notte" (which is Italian for "beautiful night"). The opening scene in which Lady as a puppy is presented to Darling in a hat box is reflective of something that happened in Walt's personal life. When he forgot a dinner engagement with his wife, he made amends by presenting Lillian with a hat box inside which was a puppy meant as an apology.

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Tramp, a mongrel street dog
Lady, the sweet cocker spaniel object of Tramp's affections
Tony, a restaurant owner
Joe, his waiter
Si & Am, the Siamese Cats

Jock
Trusty
Peg
Bull
Dachsie
Pedro
Boris
Toughy

 

SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)
The release of Disney's retelling of the classic fairytale marked a departure in style for the Disney Studios. Their version of Sleeping Beauty was animated against backdrops conceived by artist Eyvind Earle, which employed a much sharper, stylized look and departed from the more realistic approach that they had used up to this point. At a cost of over $6 million, it was the studio's most expensive animated feature yet. Part of the reason for this high expense was due to the movie's innovative "Technirama" format; a wide screen format similar to CinemaScope. There were also many delays as the artists involved were forced to wait for final approval from Walt, who was preoccupied with the building of Disneyland. Between the cost overruns at Disneyland and the unprecedented expense of "Sleeping Beauty" this time in the studio's history could have seen the bankruptcy of the whole Disney enterprise. This movie also gave birth to one of Disney's most evil villains - Maleficent.

THE HEROINE: Princess Aurora
THE VILLAIN: Maleficent

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Sleeping Beauty, aka Princess Aurora aka Briar Rose, who must be protected from?
Maleficent, the evil enchantress
Fauna, Flora and Merryweather, a trio of three well-intentioned fairies
The Dragon, which Maleficent turns herself into at the thrilling climax
Prince Philip, the prince who awakens Sleeping Beauty with his kiss

 

101 DALMATIANS (1961)
This movie was the first time that Disney had produced an animated feature with a contemporary setting. More importantly though, this picture marked the production team's first use of Xerox process. In this movie, the animators' drawings were transferred by Xeroxing them onto the cels. This process saved them a great deal of time and effort. When you stop to consider how many dogs - and dogs with spots - were in this movie, you can start to appreciate how the Xerox process was invaluable to the production of this enormously successful movie. According to the Encyclopedia of Walk Disney's Animated Characters 6,469,952 Dalmatian spots appeared during the movie (although we are still looking for the person who actually did the counting!) And, of course, this movie also introduced audiences to one of the most famous of Disney villains - Cruella De Vil.

THE HEROES: Pongo and Perdita
THE VILLAIN: Cruella De Vil

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Pongo, the father, and...
Perdita, the mother of the litter of Dalmatians upon whom Cruella has cast her greedy eye
Cruella De Vil, black-and-white-obsessed woman who will stop at nothing to get those puppies!
Rolly, the puppy
Lucky, the puppy
Roger, Pongo's owner
Anita, Perdita's owner

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967)
This particular animated feature saw the sunset of one era of Disney animation and the dawn of another. "The Jungle Book", based on a Rudyard Kipling story, was the last animated feature supervised by Walt Disney himself, before his death in 1966. It was also the first Disney animated feature to base the major characters on the personalities of the voice artists. With its collection of lively animal characters, it was a natural choice of storyline for the Disney team. So it's no surprise that this movie went on to become one of the most successful box office winners of all time.

THE HERO: Mowgli
THE VILLAIN: Shere Khan

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Mowgli, the mancub living in the jungle
Baloo, Mowgli's bear pal and "jungle bum"
Bagheera, Mowgli's protector
King Louie, the mad king of the monkeys
Shere Khan, the tiger intent on killing the mancub
Kaa, the jungle snake

 

THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)
"The Little Mermaid" was no less than a major milestone in the history of the Disney Studios as its release heralded a renaissance in screen feature animation. The Disney team started out by delving into the studio archives and pulling out a collection of story sketches by illustrator Kay Neilson made back in the late 30s. By the time they were finished, they had virtually reinvented big screen animation with this musical telling of the Hans Christian Anderson story. 80% of the film needed special effects in order to realistically create life under the sea. The song by that name - "Under The Sea" - won the Best Song Academy Award that year; the first song from a Disney animated feature to win the category since "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah" from "Song Of The South" won it back in 1948. Big screen animation was back; and a force to be reckoned with in the movie industry.

THE HEROINE: Ariel
THE VILLAIN: Ursula

 

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Ariel, the mermaid who dreams of life among people with feet
Sebastian, the crab, Ariel's friend
Flounder, the fish, another of Ariel's pals
King Triton, Ariel's father, aghast at the thought of his daughter going land-side
Ursula, the conniving sea witch who plots to steal Ariel's sweet voice
Flotsam & Jetsam, Ursula's evil eel henchmen
Prince Eric, the object of Ariel's affection

 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)
With the release of "Beauty And The Beast", Disney's position at the top of the animation world was once again unassailable. This time they achieved something that no one in the world of animation had ever done before - not even them - an Oscar nomination for "Best Picture". It didn't win for Best Picture but it did win Best Song for the title song, as well as two other Academy Awards that night. It also went on to become the highest grossing animated picture of all time. Perhaps the most notable and memorable scenes in this movie were the computer generated backgrounds, as seen in the "Be Our Guest" number and the scene in which Belle and the Beast dance in the ballroom.

THE HERO: Belle
THE VILLAIN: Gaston

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Belle, the beautiful village girl who longs for a more exciting life
Maurice, Belle's eccentric inventor father
Gaston, the village vain he-man who pursues Belle
Le Fou, Gaston's idiot sidekick
Beast, a conceited prince under a ghastly spell
Mrs Potts, the enchanted, motherly tea-pot who was the housekeeper
Chip, her enchanted son, now a tea-cup
Lumiere, a romantically-inclined, enchanted candlestick who was the butler
Cogsworth, a nervously wound-up, enchanted clock

 

THE LION KING (1994)
In terms of box office appeal, the animation masters at Disney outdid themselves when they released "The Lion King". It exceeded all expectations when it was released in 1994 and not only became the - by far - the highest grossing animated feature of all time, but rose to Number Five on the list of highest ever grossing movies. Not since "Bambi" back in the early 40s were the artists at Disney faced with the daunting prospect of realistically animating a cast consisting only of animals, including, in one exciting scene, a thousand stampeding wildebeests (for which the animators partly used computers). For the third time in a row, a Disney animated feature won in the Best Song category, this time for "Can You Feel The Love Tonight".

THE HERO: Simba
THE VILLAIN: Scar

 

The most popular characters from this movie are -

Simba - the lion cub born to be king
Mufasa, Simba's father killed by his ambitious and evil brother?
Scar, whom Simba must face off to win his place in the Circle of Life
Zazu, the bird
Nala, Simba's childhood friend and later his love interest
Rafiki, the wise baboon
Pumbaa, Simba's warthog pal
Timon, the wise-cracking meercat and Pumbaa's partner-in-comedy
Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, the hopeless hyena henchmen of Scar

 

FANTASIA 2000 (2000)
Fifty years after the release of one of Walt Disney's most treasured films came a picture that, whilse not a sequel in the traditional sense, was at least a continuation of Walt's original idea. It was Roy Edward Disney, Walt's nephew, who was the driving force behind bringing "Fantasia 2000" to the screen. It was their initial idea to follow Walt's plan and keep half the original program and present audiences with four new pieces. However as time went on, the number of original segments being kept gradually diminished until they were left with just one: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Seven brand new segments, each with differing styles of animation, were included in the final program. Following the same format - well known musical pieces matched with various styles of animation - the Disney Studios brought another unique animation experience to the screen. For the movie's initial, limited release, Disney presented their latest feature in a format never used in animation before - the enormous screens of IMAX.

The eight musical pieces presented in this movie were -

Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
Pines of Rome (Respighi)
Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin)
Piano Concerto #2, Allegro, opus 102, aka "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" (Shostakovich)
Carnival of the Animals, finale (Saint Saens)
T he Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas)
Pomp and Circumstance, marches 1, 2, 3, 4 (Elgar)
Firebird Suite (Stravinsky)

 

~oOo~

 

The complete list of Disney animated feature classics:


1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
2. Pinocchio (1940)
3. Fantasia (1940)
4. Dumbo (1941)
5. Bambi (1942)
6. Saludos Amigos (1944)
7. The Three Caballeros (1945)
8. Make Mine Music (1946)
9. Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
10. Melody Time (1947)
11. The Adventures of Icabod and Mr Toad (1949)
12. Cinderella (1950)
13. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
14. Peter Pan (1953)
15. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
16. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
17. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
18. The Sword and the Stone (1963)
19. The Jungle Book (1967)
20. The Aristocats (1970)
21. Robin Hood (1973)
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
23. The Rescuers (1977)
24. The Fox and the Hound (1981)
25. The Black Cauldron (1985)
26. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
27. Oliver & Company (1988)
28. The Little Mermaid (1989)
29. The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
30. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
31. Aladdin (1992)
32. The Lion King (1994)
33. Pocahontas (1995)
34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
35. Hercules (1997)
36. Mulan (1998)
37. Tarzan (1999)
38. Fantasia 2000 (2000)
39. The Emperor's New Groove (2000)
40. Atlantis: the Lost Empire (2001)

41. Lilo and Stitch (2002)
42. Treasure Planet (2002)
43. Brother Bear (2003)
44. Home On The Range (2004)
45. Chicken Little (2005)

 

~oOo~

 

THE FAB FIVE

This is the name given to the five characters that make up the core of the Disney family of characters. They are: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy.

MICKEY MOUSE
Walt Disney once said "I only hope we never lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse". This was Walt's way of staying humble to the fact that he would not be where he was without the help of the one little mouse that was to become one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world. Crossing cultures and languages, Mickey is the undisputed king of Disney.

Originally called Mortimer Mouse, he was conceived by Walt on a train ride from New York back to Los Angeles. He was born of necessity as Walt had just lost the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, his first animated star of a series of silent cartoons made in 1927 and 1928. He was desperate for a new character and as the train chugged southward Walt, came up with a mousenamed Mortimer. However his wife Lillian didn't like the name Mortimer very much and suggested a new name: Mickey. (The name "Mortimer" however did not go unused, however. The name Mortimer was given to the name of a rival suitor for Minnie's affections in the 1936 short "Mickey's Rival.")

Mickey made his debut in a black and white short called "Steamboat Willie" which debuted in New York on November 18, 1928. It wasn't the first Mickey Mouse cartoon made. That honor goes to "Plane Crazy" but "Steamboat Willie" was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon shown in public. It was a significant debut as "Steamboat Willie" was the first cartoon with synchronized sound. Mickey caught on like wildfire and never looked back. In 1930 he started appearing in newspaper comic strips and he went on to star in 120 shorts, starting with "Steamboat Willie" in 1928 and ending with "Runaway Brain" in 1995. The first Mickey Mouse short to win an Oscar was 1931's "Mickey's Orphans".

His heyday was the 30s with Donald Duck and Goofy overtaking his popularity in the 40s in terms of the number of shorts reaching theaters. However he bounced back in the 50s with the Mickey Mouse Club television show that began its four year run on October 3, 1955.

In the 1939 short "The Pointer" Mickey received an overhaul and he was transformed from the mouse made up primarily of circles to the little fellow we know today with a more pear-shaped body and eyes, which used to be pie-cut, to a rounder shape, with pupils for more expression.

Mickey was initially voiced by Walt himself. Later Jim Macdonald assumed those duties and today Wayne Allwine provides Mickey with his voice.

And of course the merchandising of Mickey Mouse has known no bounds. Books, pens, posters, records, tee-shirts, pajamas, cookies, bags, watches, sunglasses - you name it, Mickey's appeared on it. Perhaps the most famous of all the Mickey Mouse items was the Micky Mouse watch. They were first made by Ingersol in 1933 and sold for $3.25 a piece. At the time the Ingersol company were on the verge of bankruptcy but the popularity of the Mickey Mouse watches pulled them back from the edge.

Today a popular pastime at the Disney theme parks is to play "Hidden Mickeys". As they wander from attraction to attraction, visitors to the park can see if they can spot the famous three-circle outline Mickey's head hidden in unexpected places.

An interesting look at the whole Mickey Mouse phenomena can be found a website called
"The Image of Mickey Mouse".

Links to the various Mickey Mouse items we offer:

From "Canine Caddy" (WDCC) - "What a swell day for a game of golf"
From "Delivery Boy" (WDCC) - "Hey Minnie, wanna go steppin'?"
From "Fantasia" (WDCC) - "Mischievous Apprentice"
From "Fantasia 2000" (WDCC) - "Oops"
From "Mickey's Birthday Party" (WDCC) - "Happy Birthday!"
From "Mickey's Fire Brigade" (WDCC) - "Fireman to the rescue"
From "Mickey's Orphans" (WDCC) - "Hooray for the holidays"
From "Mickey Through The Years" (WDCC) 4 pieces, starting with : "How to fly"
From "On Ice" (WDCC) - "Watch Me!"
From "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (WDCC) - "Presents for my pals"
From "The Simple Things" (WDCC) - "Somethin' Fishy"
From "Symphony Hour" (WDCC) - "Maestro Mickey Mouse"
From "Touchdown Mickey" (WDCC) - "Rah, Rah, Mickey"
Mickey Mouse in various PVC figures
Miniature Mickey Mouse (Shaw/Metlox/American Pottery)
Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice (Schmid)
Mickey ornament (Schimd)
Mickey as the Sorcerer's Aprentice, with Broom (Disney Stores)
Mickey as Steamboat Willie (Capodimonte)
Mickey (and friends) on Walt Disney Commemorative Medallion

 

DONALD DUCK
Where Mickey Mouse is even-tempered, Donald Duck is a mad-scrambling fireball. Where Mickey Mouse is happy-go-lucky, Donald Duck is a short fuse looking for a lighted match. Mickey Mouse has always been yin to Donald Duck's yang. Maybe that's why they've always been Disney's most popular pair of characters. Donald was always doing what Mickey could never do. Mickey was the kind of guy that Donald could never hope to be. How Daisy Duck has managed to put up with him for so long is one of the greatest mysteries of animation! He was never far away from the latest disaster, often with his newphews Huey, Dewey and Louie in tow. Some people think that Huey, Dewey and Louie are interchangeable, but they're not! Huey is always red, Dewey is always in blue and Louie is always green!

Donald Fauntleroy Duck made his debut June 9, 1934 in a Silly Symphony short entitled "The Wise Little Hen" and went on to star in 128 cartoons from "Donald and Pluto" in 1936 to "The Litterbug" in 1961. His heyday was in the 40s when he was appearing in even more shorts than the enormously popular Mickey Mouse. His most recent appearance was in the "Pomp and Circumstance" segment of Fantasia 2000 where he played one of Noah's assistants.

For 50 years voice-artist Clarence Nash provided Donald's largely intelligible voice. In 1985 animator Tony Anselmo took over after a three year apprenticeship under Nash.

For an impressively comprehensive website on the whole Duck family, go to: Carl Barks's Duck Family Tree.

 

Links to the various Donald Duck items we offer:

From "Donald's Better Self" (WDCC) 3 pieces, starting with "Donald's Decision"
From "Fantasia 2000" (WDCC) "Looks Like Rain"
From "Mr Duck Steps Out" (WDCC) "With love from Daisy"
From "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (WDCC) "Fa la la?" (Ornament)
From "The Three Caballeros" (WDCC) "Amigo Donald"
Donald Duck in various PVC figures
Donald Duck toothbrush holder (Shaw/Metlox/American Pottery)
Donald Duck ornament (Schmid)
Donald Duck with gift ornament (Schmid)
Vintage Donald Duck made of celluloid
From "Beezy Bear" - Donald Duck animation cel

 

MINNIE MOUSE
The first synchronized cartoon "Steamboat Willie" is famous for bringing the famous Mickey Mouse to the screen for the first time. But it's a lesser known fact that this cartoon was also the debut of Minnie Mouse, Mickey's long time girlfriend. In her career, Minnie has appeared in 73 cartoons, costarring with Mickey and Pluto. She also has two nieces - Melody and Millicent who appeared in a few comic book stories. Originally voiced by Marcellite Garner, the current voice for Minnie Mouse is supplied by Russi Taylor.

Links to the various Minnie Mouse items we offer:

From "Delivery Boy" (WDCC) "I'm a jazz baby"
From "First Aiders" (WDCC) "Student Nurse"
From "The Little Whirlwind (WDCC) "For my sweetie"
From "Mickey Cuts Up" (WDCC) "Minnie's Garden"
From "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (WDCC) "Mrs Cratchit" ornament
From "Mickey's Orphans" (WDCC) "Hooray for the holidays"
From "On Ice" (WDCC) "Whee!"
From "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (WDCC) "Caroler Minnie"
Minnie Mouse in various PVC figures
Minnie Mouse ornament (Schimd)

 

GOOFY
The good-natured Goofy made his first screen appearance in a 1932 Mickey Mouse short entitled "Mickey's Revue". He was just a member of the audience but it was raucous laugh (voiced by former circus clown and now Disney storyman Pinto Colvig) that made him stick out and Walt and his team started including him in the Disney newspaper comic strips. Originally called Dippy Dawg, the character underwent a name change in 1938's "The Story of Dippy the Goof". By 1939 he was known simply as Goofy, in the cartoon "Goofy and Wilbur". 48 Goofy cartoons were made altogether between 1939, with "Goofy and Wilbur" and 1965, with "Goofy's Freeway Trouble". Where Goofy really found his niche was in his "How to?" cartoons, such as "How To Play Baseball" (1942), "How To Be A Sailor" (1944) and "How To Be A Detective" (1952)

Links to the various Goofy items we offer:

From "Double Dribble" (WDCC) "Dribbling down court"
From "How To Play Baseball" (WDCC) "Batter up"
From "Symphony Hour" (WDCC) "Goofy's grace notes"
From "Mickey's Review" (WDCC) "Goofy's Debut"
(aka 'Dippy Dawg')
Goofy in various PVC figures

 

PLUTO
It would be hard to find a dog more faithful and playful as Mickey's dog, Pluto. However Pluto didn't start out as Mickey Mouse's dog. In his debut he was a bloodhound in a 1930 cartoon entitled "The Chain Gang". Later that year he was Minnie's dog, Rover, in "The Picnic. It wasn't until the following year that he found his true vocation and became Mickey's dog, Pluto, in "The Moose Hunt". He ended up starring in 48 Pluto cartoons, from 1937's "Pluto's Quin-Puplets" to 1951's "Cold Turkey".

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Links to the various Pluto items we offer:

From "Canine Caddy" (WDCC) "A golfer's best friend"
From "Delivery Boy" (WDCC) "Dynamite Dog"
From "First Aiders" (WDCC) "Perfect Patient"
From "Pluto's Christmas Tree" (WDCC) "Pluto helps decorate"
Pluto in various PVC figures
Pluto sniffing (Shaw/Metlox/American Pottery)
Pluto in Santa hat (Schmid)
Vintage Pluto bisque

~o0o~

For a more in-depth look at all the Disney Characters, go to the Wonderful World Of Disney Characters website. They cover all the Disney characters from Snow White to Tarzan, take a look at the heroes, the heroines, the villains, the sidekicks and the couples. They also provide you with music and trivial.

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