Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Minnie Mouse is a fictional character of the Mickey Mouse universe featured in animated cartoons, comic strips and comic book by The Walt Disney Company. The comic strip story The Gleam (published January 19-May 2, 1942) by Merrill De Maris and Floyd Gottfredson first gave her full name as Minerva Mouse. Minerva has since been a recurring alias for her.
The earlier comic strip story Mr Slicker and the Egg Robbers (published September 22 - December 26, 1930) introduced her father Marcus Mouse and her unnamed mother. Both farmers. The same story featured photographs of her grandparents Marshall Mouse and Matilda. Her best known relative however remains her uncle Mortimer Mouse.
Origins of the Character
In 1928, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse to act as a replacement to their previous star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But Mickey could not fill the void alone. Among the few consistent character traits Oswald had developed before moving on to Universal Studios was his near-constant pursuit of potential sweethearts. So for Mickey to have a chance to emulate his predecessor at flirting, someone had to replace Oswald's many love interests. This replacement to Miss Rabbit, Miss Cottontail, Fanny and an uncertain number of unnamed nurses and dancers was to become Minnie Mouse.
Mickey and Minnie debuted together in Plane Crazy, first released on May 15, 1928. Minnie is invited to join Mickey in the first flight of his aircraft. She accepts the invitation but not his demand for a kiss in mid-flight. Mickey eventually forces Minnie into a kiss but this only results in her parachuting out of the plane. This first film depicted Minnie as somewhat resistant to the demanding affection of her potential boyfriend and capable of escaping his grasp.
Their debut however featured the couple already familiar to each other. The next film featuring them was The Gallopin' Gaucho.The film was the second of their series to be produced but only the third to be released on December 30, 1928. We find Minnie employed as the barmaid and dancer of Cantina Argentina, a bar and restaurant established in the Pampas of Argentina. She performs the Tango for Mickey the gaucho and Black Pete the outlaw. Both flirt with her but the latter intends to abduct her while the former obliges in saving the Damsel in Distress from the villain. All three characters acted as strangers first being introduced to each other.
They appear together again in Steamboat Willie, the third short of the series to be produced but released second on November 18, 1928. Pete was featured as the Captain of the steamboat, Mickey as a crew of one and Minnie as their single passenger. The two anthropomorphic mice first star in a sound film and spend most of its duration playing music to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw".
A Recurring Co-Star
The commercial success of Steamboat Willie helped introduce Mickey and Minnie into the audience. Twelve more films featuring Mickey were produced in 1929. But Minnie only co-starred in seven of them and was mentioned in an eighth.
The first of them was The Barn Dance , first released on March 14, 1929. Minnie stands at the center of attention as Mickey and Pete rival each other in order to win her favor. Both offer to pick her up for the dance but she chooses Pete's newly purchased automobile over Mickey's horse-cart. When the automobile breaks down she resorts to go with Mickey. The later proves a clumsy dancing parter, repeatedly stepping on her feet, and so she turns to Pete again. She is surprised when Mickey asks for another dance and seems to be light on his feet. However she is disgusted when Pete points that his rival had placed a balloon in his shorts. She resumed dancing with Pete while Mickey is reduced to crying on the dance floor. Minnie proves to be rather demanding as a partner in a romantic relationship. Mickey obviously has yet to claim her as his girlfriend by this point.
The Opry House , first released on March 28, 1929, was the first short to feature Mickey but not Minnie. A poster however mentions Minnie as being member to the Yankee Doodle Girls. The later group of female performers remained unseen characters and were apparently short-lived. Minnie appears again in When the Cat's Away , first released on April 11, 1929. She is attending a party with Mickey along with several other mice. The short was unusual in the depiction of Mickey and Minnie with the size and part of the behavior common in regular mice. The set standard both before and after this short was to depict them as having the size of a rather short human being.
Minnie was seen again in The Plow Boy , first released on May 9, 1929, where she is featured as a farm girl. However she gets Mickey to milk her cow Clarabelle for her. When Mickey presents her with a bucket full of milk and proceeds to kiss her, Minnie answers by knocking the bucket on his head. This in front of his horse Horace Horsecollar who is just making his debut. Minnie obviously was not very appreciative of Mickey's affection at the time.
Their attempt at farming life would prove short-lived. Their next appearance in The Karnival Kid (May 23, 1929) casted Mickey as a hot dog vendor and Minnie as a carnival Shimmy Dancer. Minnie then appears as a fiddle player in Mickey's Choo Choo (June 26, 1929).
Minnie's Yoo Hoo
Her next appearance was arguably more significant. Mickey's Follies (June 26, 1929), featured the first performance of Minnie's Yoo Hoo. "The guy they call little Mickey Mouse" for the first time addresses an audience to explain that he has "Got a sweetie" who is "Neither fat nor skinny" and proudly proclaims that "She's my little Minnie Mouse". Mickey then proceeds in explaining his reaction to Minnie's call.
Oh, the old tom cat with his "meow, meow, meow" Old houn' dog with his "bow, wow, wow" The crows "caw, caw", and the mule's "hee-haw" Gosh what a racket like an old buzz saw
I have listened to the Kookoo koo his "koo-koo" And I've heard the rooster cock his doodle doo doo With the cows and the chickens, they all sound like the dickens When I hear my little Minnie's yoo-hoo
Oh, the blue bird down in the cherry tree And the busy buzz of the bumble bee Evening bells a ringin', whip-poor-will's a singin' Well they don't mean much to me
For my heart is down in the chicken house Where I long to be with my Minnie Mouse
The song firmly establishes Mickey and Minnie as a couple and expresses the importance Minnie holds for her male partner. Soon it would become the theme song to their series.
Damsel in Distress
Her final appearance for the year was in Wild Waves (first released on August 15, 1929. She spends a day at the beach with Mickey. Their activities of singing and dancing are soon interrupted when Minnie is swept by a wave into the sea. She panics and seems to start drowning. Mickey uses a row boat to rescue her and return her to the shore but Minnie is still visibly shaken from the experience. Mickey starts singing the tune of Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep, a maritime ballad written in 1832 by Emma Hart Willard (February 23, 1787 - April 15, 1870), in an apparent effort to cheer her up. Minnie cheers up and the short ends. This is arguably the first time Minnie is placed in danger and then saved by her new boyfriend. It would not be the last.
In fact this was the case with her next appearance in the Cactus Kid (April 11, 1930. As the title implies the short was intended as a Western movie parody. But it is considered to be more or less a remake of The Gallopin' Gaucho set in Mexico instead of Argentina. Minnie was again cast as the local tavern dancer who is abducted by Peg-Leg Pedro (Black Pete in his first appearance with a peg-leg). Mickey again comes to the rescue. The short is considered significant for being the last short featuring Mickey and Minnie to be animated by Ub Iwerks.
Since then she has been co-starring with Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Figaro, Minnie's own cat who debuted in Pinocchio. In Mickey Mouse Works she finally appeared in her own segments. In House of Mouse she kept track of the bills. She starred in a television special called Totally Minnie and she also appeared in a line of merchandise called "Minnie n Me". She appeared in the Kingdom Hearts game series as the queen of Disney Castle who sent Donald Duck and Goofy on their mission to find Mickey and the Keyblade Master.
- Minnie is the 3rd most requested character at Disney theme parks, the second being Mickey and the most popular being Winnie the Pooh.
- You can visit Minnie's 'home' at three Disney theme parks; Disneyland in California, the Magic Kingdom in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.
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