A Rival Is Born

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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.

Mickey’s Rival

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.

Mickey Mouse Comic Strip

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.

Mickey Mouse Works

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.

House of Mouse

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.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

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.

Disney Sports Football

Disney Sports Soccer

Disney Sports Basketball

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.

DCA Construction Wall

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.

About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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I have that last pin, cant wait to see his vinylmation!