dear mickey mouse,
the walt disney company recognizes your official birthday as november 18, 1928.sincerely,
first of all, i'm glad walt disney's wife lilly offered you the name of mickey, not 'mortimer' like walt first thought.
thanks for being walt's first creation after his first big character, oswald the lucky rabbit, was stolen from him-- by way of fine print in legal documents by those whom he had called friends. you really saved the day.
did you know you were the first cartoon to talk? ever?
i think it's pretty cool that you were created, in reality, as walt's alter ego. i also think it's pretty cool that walt himself was the voice of your character, and since then, only two others have held that cherished position.
both you and walt started off --very literally-- poor and shoeless.
did you know that walt disney designed you after the likes of charlie chaplin? he once said, "we wanted something charming and appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of chaplin--a little fellow trying to do the best he could."
thank you, mickey, for being the symbol of hope through the Great Depression. your optimism was the silver lining on the clouds of despair that were shrouding the vision of the people.
president roosevelt admired your "spirit and resourcefulness"(according to pat williams). so, he ordered that your cartoons be played in the white house.
england even liked you--king george v made sure that your cartoons were played along with every film at the buckingham palace.
walt even received a medal from the League of Nations, recognizing you as a "symbol of universal good will."
things got crazy in the world, mickey, war broke out. good thing you were around.
you brought such comfort to the people, that adolf hitler actually banned your cartoons from german theaters!
at the time of the London Blitz, the English children were actually given gas masks bearing your picture! as pat williams* says, "the terror of the bombing raids was made more bearable because [mickey] mouse was there."
on D-Day (june 6, 1946) there was a password given to the soldiers fighting. it was one that all the friendly forces would recognize: "mickey mouse".
walt disney summed you up pretty well: "mickey mouse to me is a symbol of independence. born of necessity, the little fellow literally freed us of immediate worry."
you did all this, mickey, and much much more. i don't think the world today quite realizes what all you've done. so, i just wanted to say thank you.
happy birthday, mickey. i hope it was a good one.
a [not so secret] admirer
(this was the first mickey cartoon; the sound was added after it was released, when walt discovered sound technology)
*all of this information in my letter to mickey and the quotes are from one of my newfound most cherished books: how to be like walt, by pat williams with jim denney. it would be so very worth your time to read.
"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing--that it was all started by a mouse."