The most rewarding part about recording the podcast YesterEARS is learning all the pieces of Disney history that I would never read otherwise. My co-host and lead researcher Austin uncovers many interesting Disney facts each and ever week. This week, I’d like to share one with you here on DV.
Wednesday June 20th, will mark the 76th anniversary of the first screen appearance of Mortimer Mouse. In 1936 the Walt Disney productions cartoon short “Mickey’s Rival” was released featuring Mortimer as the romantic rival for Minnie Mouse. Mortimer is the name that Walt Disney had originally suggested for Mickey Mouse. His wife Lilly didn’t like that idea and suggested Mickey instead. Mickey Mouse, not Mortimer, debuted in “Steamboat Willie” at the Colony Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1928, and was a great success. A couple years later, the name Mortimer was revived, but for a distinctly different looking character who would go onto comic strip fame. But unlike Mickey, after only one cartoon appearance in 1936, Mortimer would disappear from the screen for the next six decades.
Mortimer was first created for the Mickey Mouse comic strips in 1930, not as a rival to Mickey, but as Minnie Mouse’s ranch-owning uncle. It wasn’t until the 1936 short that Mortimer Mouse was introduced as Mickey’s competition for Minnie’s affections.
Jump to 1999, where Mortimer finaly makes another on screen appearance in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. Here, Mortimer is the snooty and wealthy owner of the department store Mortimers. It’s a bit of a dislikable character and his his role of antagonist is re-established.
In the Mickey Mouse Works series Mortimer is once again the main antagonist along with Pete. Here, Mortimer is Mickey’s neighbor and is still competing with Mickey to win Minnie Mouse’s heart.
In the House of Mouse television series, Mortimer gets a role as a recurring character. Mortimer appears many times as a guest and tries to trick Mickey and Minnie into breaking up.
Mortimer has most recently made a cameo is in the CG animated series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He has a non-speaking role in Minnie’s Birthday seen sitting beneath a tree, playing a guitar.
As far as I could find, Mortimer’s only video games appearances are in the Game Cube’s Disney Sports franchise. He is a playable athlete in the Soccer, Football and Basketball games. He is also in Disney’s Golf as a secret character.
Mortimer has not yet made any live appearances in the Disney theme parks. However, a mural with several classic Disney characters during the Disney California Adventure expansion was seen, with Mortimer being one of the characters featured.
I also found a few Mortimer pins on PinPics:
Where will Mortimer appear next? Mortimer’s first screen appearance is just one of many topics we cover in the next episode of YesterEARS, a podcast that looks at “This Week in Disney History.” You can find it at www.YesterEARS.com.