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Topic: Mickey Mouse, Publicity blitz for 75th anniversary< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

Goofyteer Offline

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Posted: July 07, 2003 2:09 am/pm Quote

I was watching House of Mouse today and I've been noticing that Disney's new writers are really working to develop Mickey's personality more. For a long time Mickey seemed to become too much the straight man type. But I've noticed from Runaway Brain and on the new writers have really been trying hard to develop him more.

In House of Mouse I've noticed that Mickey has been growing in more of the sort of cool calm collected style of a Bugs Bunny. Like in one episode called House Of Villains when Pete took over the show, Mickey simply kicked back and acted nonchalant while studying his gloves while Pete whined at him! Sorta like how Bugs would calmly deflect Daffy Duck as Daffy screamed that it was duck season. I can't imagine Mickey really doing that during the fifties, back then for that period he was always smiling, almost. But it looks like the new writers are really trying hard. And I'm glad as the character has deserved getting his performance touched up for a long time.  :mickey:

Chris T. / Goofyteer
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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: July 24, 2003 10:09 am/pm Quote

Yoo Hoo, Gang!

Thought you'd be interested in this article. "Mutation?" And note the item about Mickey Mouse postage stamps.

Mickey goes digital, Disney wants mouse to roar

By Peter Henderson

LOS ANGELES, July 23 (Reuters) - Mickey's back and going digital.

Walt Disney Co.  is preparing a Mickey Mouse publicity blitz to renew interest in the company's most-famous character and capitalize on the 75th anniversary since he made his November 18, 1928 screen debut in the short "Steamboat Willie."

"It's Mickey's 75th year in show business. We've got a lot of stuff to sell," comedian Drew Carey joked at a Disney presentation of Mickey apparel, movies and theme park attractions that the company will roll out over the next year.

Though known worldwide, Mickey only recently got a regular daily cable television program, "House of Mouse" and will only make his digital debut in a computer-animated feature late next year, in a straight-to-video feature, "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas."

He also stars with Donald Duck and Goofy in a separate straight-to-video movie, "The Three Musketeers," due next summer. Although Mickey has been in feature films before, perhaps most notably "Fantasia," Disney calls the "Musketeers" his first starring role.

Disney decided it did not want to take the financial risk of a theatrical release, however.

That would require a level of animation far beyond that required for home video or DVD, Chief Operating Officer and President Bob Iger told reporters. "Walk before you run," he told reporters.

Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Eisner said in a presentation that Mickey was reinvented for every generation and that it was time for a new "mutation" with the computer animated Mickey, who looked glossy and three-dimensional in a short shown to the audience.

Eisner made one of his first financial marks on the company by bringing out classic films on home video, and executives said they were similarly mining the archives with the new Mickey push.

Retro Mickey has shown up on T-shirts and apparel, and a line of Mickey comic books is in the works. The U.S. Postal Service is preparing Mickey Mouse stamps and Mickey takes another starring role this year in Walt Disney World attraction, a 3-D film called "Mickey's PhilharMagic."


Carol Koster
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RichKoster Offline


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Posted: July 24, 2003 10:35 am/pm Quote

Mickey's timeline

  • 1928: Mickey Mouse is born when his first cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," opens in New York on Nov. 18. Walt Disney supplies the character's voice.

  • 1929: Mickey merchandising is launched when a man pays Disney $300 to put the character on a children's writing pad.

    Also, the first Mickey Mouse Club is started in Santa Monica by fans.

  • 1930: The first Mickey Mouse dolls are introduced, and the cartoon star goes on to appear in almost 90 cartoon shorts in the 1930s.

  • 1932: Advertising expert Kay Kamen starts a comprehensive licensing program featuring the company's characters.

    The Mickey Mouse Club grows to 1 million members.

  • 1933: Ingersoll Watch Co. avoids bankruptcy by introducing a Mickey Mouse watch and sells more than 900,000 of them in two years.

  • 1934: The Lionel Train company sells so many toy railroad handcars with Mickey and Minnie aboard that it saves the firm.

  • 1939: Mickey is redesigned for the cartoon "The Pointer."

  • 1940: Mickey has a starring role in the Disney signature film "Fantasia."

  • 1946: Jim Macdonald takes over as the voice of Mickey.

  • 1955: "The Mickey Mouse Club" television show debuts on ABC. Mickey is a main attraction when Disneyland opens.

  • 1971: Mickey continues to be on center stage when Walt Disney World opens in Orlando.

  • 1977: Wayne Allwine takes over as the voice of Mickey. A new version of "The Mickey Mouse Club" TV show debuts.

  • 1983: The world's most famous mouse returns to movie theaters in the first new production in 30 years, the short film "Mickey's Christmas Carol."

  • 1989: An updated version of "The Mickey Mouse Club" starts on the Disney Channel.

  • 1999: "Disney's Mickey MouseWorks" begins on Saturday morning television. Mickey makes his video game debut.

  • 2000: Mickey Mouse's segment from the original "Fantasia" is restored and is the only animated part of the original film to be included in the new "Fantasia/2000."

  • 2001: Disney launches a marketing blitz to introduce Mickey and other longtime Disney characters to a new generation. Walt Disney TV creates "House of Mouse," which now airs on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney.

    Source: "Disney A to Z"

    RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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RichKoster Offline


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Posted: July 24, 2003 10:39 am/pm Quote

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

Here's another article about Mickey's upcoming make-over (and I really hope it isn't going to be like the 3D Mickey that was a presenter at a recent Oscars award show, in which he needed reading glasses to read the winner of the card...), from

Disney gives makeover to Mickey merchandising

By Richard Verrier | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted July 23, 2003

LOS ANGELES -- Mickey Mouse, once described by Walt Disney as "a little fellow trying to do the best he could," is now being called on to do even better.

On its face, using Mickey Mouse to full effect as a marketing tool would seem a no-brainer for the executives at Walt Disney Co. After all, during the last three-quarters of a century, Mickey has sustained himself as one of the most recognizable figures in America, if not the whole world.

Yet when Andy Mooney arrived at Disney a few years ago to rescue its struggling merchandising operation, he was stunned to find how much the entertainment giant was underutilizing its famous mouse. Mooney had been hired away from sneaker maker Nike Inc., where he had a front-row view to the marketing power of celebrity endorsements. Think Michael Jordan.

But Mickey, he found, was sitting on the sidelines, tangled in a thicket of marketing do's and don'ts dating back decades.

Mooney was determined to free the mouse, bucking a conservative corporate culture reluctant to tamper with the company's signature image, hand-drawn by Walt Disney himself.

"This is our swoosh," Mooney successfully argued, likening Mickey to Nike's trademark logo.

As a result, Mickey Mouse is on the loose. Using Mickey's 75th birthday as a publicity platform, Disney is planting his vintage visage in some hip new places in hopes of moving more merchandise.

Already, he has been snugly stretched across a T-shirt worn by actress Sarah Jessica Parker during a racy scene on HBO's Sex and the City.

Disney also hired a graffiti artist called Mear, whose most recent work was an anti-war mural, to spray-paint a 1930s-style Mickey Mouse comic strip last week on the side of a Sunset Boulevard building. "Very nice," said one onlooker with an orange Mohawk.

Meanwhile, some shoppers are paying top dollar for silk pants (costing $250), belt buckles and purses adorned with Mickey's retro image from the 1920s and '30s. It was enough to make the host of NBC's Today show, Katie Couric, ask earlier this month: "Is it true that Mickey is the new black?" while interviewing the fashion editor of People Magazine.

Today, the company plans to announce other changes aimed at elevating Mickey's profile.

A series of Mickey Mouse U.S. postage stamps is in the works. Classic comic books, as well as a daily syndicated comic strip featuring Mickey and his pals, are being rolled out once again. Two new direct-to-video movies, including a new 3-D version of the mouse, will be released next year. And, as part of the hoopla, consumers can expect lots of news footage as 75 artists and celebrities are asked to create their own statues of Mickey Mouse.

Disney also is launching Mickey's PhilarMagic, a new attraction, at Walt Disney World in Orlando in December.

Whether the campaign will succeed remains unclear. Operating income for Disney's consumer products group plummeted more than 50 percent, from $893 million in 1997 to $386 million in 2000, and it has remained basically flat since then.

Disney is hoping that a hipper image for Mickey will make him more appealing to a new generation of teenage buyers. The idea is that kids, once they see stars wearing T-shirts featuring the mouse, will be more drawn to all things Mickey, including a line of vintage apparel that Disney plans to roll out to mass retailers.

"Mickey has always been cool," said Dennis Green, vice president for apparel at Disney consumer products, who also came from Nike. "It's just the way he has been represented hasn't always been cool."

The challenge facing Disney is that its core audience keeps getting younger, shrinking the pool of potential consumers, as the competition grows.

Licensed merchandise drove Disney's growth during the 1980s and '90s, when a string of novel, animated hits including Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King sparked huge demand for toys, clothes and scores of other items.

When The Lion King hit theaters in 1994, it was the only major animated release that year. But this year, 17 animated films were up for Oscar consideration -- the bulk of them from studios other than Disney.

The company has always had something of an ambivalent relationship with its cornerstone character, one that author John Updike once labeled "the most persistent and pervasive figment of American popular culture in this century."

"Mickey Mouse has always been in some phase," Walt Disney chief Michael Eisner said. "He's an actor. Sometimes he gets work, sometimes he's retiring, and sometimes he's coming back."

Long before he became a corporate icon, Mickey was a mischievous deckhand aboard a riverboat in the 1928 film Steamboat Willie, his debut. He would go on to star in more than 100 cartoon shorts in the 1920s and '30s. But as his popularity grew, so did complaints about his sneaky behavior.

Disney animators eventually softened his appearance, making his body more pear-shaped, expressive and appealing to children. Even though he starred in the Mickey Mouse Club television show in the 1950s, Mickey's popularity began to be overtaken by Donald Duck and Goofy, according to Disney archivist Dave Smith. Mickey was featured in fewer and fewer films

Eventually, he became more of a corporate symbol, appearing on thousands of merchandise items and acting as chief greeter at Disney's theme parks. Outside a few modest film appearances and his return to Saturday morning television cartoons with MouseWorks in 1999, Mickey was largely underemployed as an entertainer.

Efforts to spark a commercial revival of the mouse over the years have invariably met with resistance from traditionalists who feared that the company might cheapen the character.

"This is a debate that has gone on for the 75 years since Mickey Mouse has been around," Mooney said. "That's a good thing. If you have people who don't care internally about what to do with the character, you don't have a decent business."

The 1995 animation short Runaway Brain marked Mickey's return to animation shorts for the first time in decades. Many objected to the plot, in which a mad scientist transplants Mickey's brain into a monster's body and vice versa.

Still, signs already had emerged that the public might be ready for a Mickey makeover.

In 1979, Mickey appeared on the cover of an album called Mickey Mouse Disco dressed like John Travolta -- one of the only times Mickey was ever out of his regular attire. Longtime fans were in an uproar over the break with tradition. But consumers didn't seem to mind, and the Saturday Night Fever knock-off went multi-platinum.

Some of Mooney's new ideas also have been met with raised eyebrows.

Twice Upon a Christmas, one of the two new Mickey movies appearing on video next year, marks the first digital version of Mickey, who always has been featured in two-dimensional hand-drawn animation.

"Likewise, there was plenty of nervousness about the idea of hiring a graffiti artist to spray one of Walt's classic cartoons on a wall in Hollywood. Attitudes changed when Mooney convinced the skeptics that the mural was in fact paying homage to Walt.

"I don't think embalming is a good thing," said Mooney. "I think the brand needs to be rejuvenated to be relevant to the future."

Experts agree, saying the latest push to revive Mickey, especially his entertainment career, is overdue.

"If they want to make Mickey relevant to future generations, this is really, really critical," said Kevin Lane Keller, professor of marketing at Dartmouth College. "For the longest time, they just didn't do that much with Mickey."

Mooney recalled "discovering" Mickey and his pals during his first few months on the job, after he spent a day poring through the company's archives. "There was this treasure trove of art," Mooney recalled. "We just felt that if we could expose it to contemporary consumers, something could happen."

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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utilidor27 Offline

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Posted: July 24, 2003 4:15 am/pm Quote

Can't wait for the postage stamps,(I'll buy the post office out of them), attraction and movies. This should really be interesting to see what they do with Mickey. It would be nice to see them work on updating some of the other "fab five" characters if this works out good. Can you see a digital movie with them in it too. Cool! :coolgrin:
I'm not sure what to think about a graffiti artist though, just can't picture Walt doing that....

Eric utilidor27
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RichKoster Offline


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Posted: July 24, 2003 6:49 am/pm Quote

Yoo Hoo, Eric!

Hey, would you mind going into Your MouseControl Panel and adjusting your text color to a darker color? That light green is kinda hard to read. Oh, and the way it works here, the change will not occur on any of your old messages, just the new ones after you adjust your preferences.

Quote (utilidor27 @ July 24, 2003 3:15 am/pm)
Can't wait for the postage stamps,(I'll buy the post office out of them), attraction and movies. This should really be interesting to see what they do with Mickey. It would be nice to see them work on updating some of the other "fab five" characters if this works out good. Can you see a digital movie with them in it too. Cool! :coolgrin:
I'm not sure what to think about a graffiti artist though, just can't picture Walt doing that....

And you won't have to wait long to see a movie with digital Disney Characters. Mickey's PhilharMagic opens later this year with not only a digitally-produced Mickey but all his Disney friends, too!

I saw some of Ariel at the SIGGRAPH convention in Texas last year. Great stuff!

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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sorcererkev Offline

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Posted: July 24, 2003 7:00 am/pm Quote

:buttrock:  :mickey:  :D


Bring on more Mickey!!! We can never have enough Mickey!!! (Although, I'm really hoping they include Minnie a bit more with the upcoming merchandise they roll out and the 75 Years With Mickey line--we need more Minnie too.)

Me, I'm just counting down the days till I get a Pal Mickey.   :grin:

-sorcerer kev
(36 days till WDW! )

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WebTink Offline

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Posted: July 24, 2003 7:38 am/pm Quote

I think the new guy at Disney from Nike has it right.  They need to use their trademark image to their advantage. Honestly, I doubt that my older kids really knew who Mickey Mouse was when they were little.  They knew Ariel, Simba, Timon, Pumbah, Pocahantas, Mulan, Belle, Beast, Lumiere.  That is Disney to them.  They kind of knew Donald Duck from some books and a video we had. And they knew Goofy because of The Goofy Movie.  But Mickey Mouse was kind of absent.  Now, my youngest watches House of Mouse and he is much more familiar with the Mouse and Pluto and the others.  I, myself, just bought a great vintage-look Mickey Mouse t-shirt.  Bring on the Mouse, I say!  His 75th year in show biz is a perfect time to celebrate and revive the image.

Becky / WebTink
Seize from every moment its unique novelty,
and do not prepare your joys. --Andre Gide

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7 replies since July 07, 2003 2:09 am/pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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