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LPWire: Disney Co. Kicks-off the Mickey Mouse 75th Celebration

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Married couple Wayne Allwine, left, and Russi Taylor -- the official voices of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, respectively -- pose with their statue design, titled "I Speak for Mickey and Mickey Speaks for Me." Auction proceeds for this InspEARation will go to Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. (c) Disney

Mickey Mouse Celebrates 75 Years as Pop Culture Icon, Entertainer & Friend Michael D. Eisner to Kick-off the Festivities at Walt Disney World(C) Resort in Florida Today to Honor Mickey and Celebrate the Future of the World's Most Famous Mouse

Ever since Mickey Mouse debuted in the first synchronized sound cartoon, "Steamboat Willie," on November 18, 1928, he has remained one of the most beloved and enduring characters while also presiding as the face of The Walt Disney Company around the globe. Today, the company honored Mickey Mouse's 75th Anniversary by kicking off 18 months of celebration beginning at Walt Disney World Resort with the unveiling of 75 uniquely designed, 700-pound, 6-foot-tall Mickey statues -- a tribute to Mickey from an impressive group of friends.

"It's a true testament to Walt that he was able to create Mickey Mouse with such depth and personality that, on his 75th Anniversary, Mickey continues to take us on adventures, make us laugh and inspire us," said Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "Mickey's relevance can even be seen in the diverse array of people who are participating in this statue program -- some have been working with Mickey for years and others are just true fans."

The statue program, appropriately deemed "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations," brings together Disney legends, as well as artists, actors, athletes, performing artists and painters who lent their creative talent or simply creative inspiration to the program that culminated in 75 original statues of Mickey. View all 75 InspEARations images (at Disney Consumer Products website)


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Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, unveiled -- 75 6-feet-tall, 700-pound statues of Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2003 75 years to the day Walt Disney's most enduring creation made his debut in "Steamboat Willie." (c) Disney

Whether deciding to use Mickey as a canvas or finding fun ways to dress him up, each artist's statue is a genuine work of art. Artists such as Raven, Wyland, David Willardson, Peter and Harrison Ellenshaw, Rosie O'Donnell and MEAR ONE chose to personally paint their Mickey statue. Otherwise, TivoliToo, a Minnesota-based design and sculpting studio, transformed each individual artist's design into the finished Mickey statue. TivoliToo also molded and sculpted each of the polyurethane statues.

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Veteran Disney animation Andreas Deja poses with his colorful statue, "Fruits of the Mouse." Proceeds from the auction of this inspEARation will benefit Make-A-Wish ® Foundation.(c) Disney

After the unveiling, the statues will remain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom through April 2004 for guests to enjoy. From there, the statues are presently scheduled to visit Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, Portland, Disneyland, Washington D.C. and New York City. In 2005, Sotheby's Auction House will auction off the statues for charity. All proceeds from the auction will go to the charity chosen by each artist.

The Walt Disney Company was able to bring "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" to fruition with the help of The Coca-Cola Company, the primary tour sponsor. In addition, The Home Depot(R) provided the Disney Color by Behr paint and all the supplies to bring the statues to life. Suddath Relocation Systems will transport the statues to each destination. Kodak will use its EasyShare system to offer digital photographs of tour guests with the statues in each city involved with the tour.

Mickey's Future

A star of stage, screen and ice, as well as the Chief Host at all of Disney's Parks & Resorts, Mickey has entertained kings and presidents, prime ministers and princes, sports stars, film stars, TV stars and millions of just-plain-folks. He will continue to dazzle and spread his special mouse magic for years to come.

Added Eisner: "No other single character has remained in the limelight like Mickey, no other single character has been at the definitive forefront of a global entertainment company, no other single character has such timeless, ageless appeal or has engaged the hearts of so many. Chances are, if you talk to a 4-year-old or a 70-year-old anywhere in the world, they consider Mickey a special friend."

Just try to get on his calendar! Following is a glimpse of Mickey's schedule for the next 18 months:

Fall/Winter 2003-2004

  • Mickey Mouse monthly comic books from Gemstone debuted in October
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D Movie opened at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
  • "Celebrate Mickey: 75 Years of Fun" logo debuts in Disney Channel programming
  • "Celebrate Mickey: 75 Years of Fun" Disney Visa card member sweepstakes
  • Nationwide Home Depot workshop for kids to feature Mickey Mouse project
  • Disney on Ice Presents Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey (global five year tour)
  • "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues unveiled at Walt Disney World. The statues will remain on display at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for six months. Mickey Mouse Statue Supersite launches on www.disney.com
  • Mickey on the cover of November's Disney Magazine
  • House of Mouse Marathon and "Music Magic Sweepstakes" on Toon Disney and Disney Channel
  • Mickey 75th seen on Walt Disney World Christmas TV Special on ABC
  • Mickey's Letter Time interstitial on Playhouse Disney
  • Mickey featured on the event car for NASCAR's Daytona 500

Spring/Summer 2004

  • "Project Playtime" featuring Mickey Mouse on Playhouse Disney
  • Walt Disney Treasures "Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Part 2)" DVD release
  • First day of issue for The Art of Disney United States Postal Service stamp program, featuring Mickey Mouse
  • Mickey, Donald and Goofy as "The Three Musketeers" characters in summer parade at Walt Disney World
  • "The Three Musketeers" Direct-to-Video Premiere. The first full-length feature film starring Mickey and Friends
  • "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues tour U.S. cities

Fall/Winter 2004-2005

  • Walt Disney Treasures "Mickey Mouse in Black and White (Part 2)" DVD launch
  • Twice Upon a Christmas Direct-to-Video Premiere, featuring Mickey Mouse and the gang in three-dimensional CGI animation for the first time
  • "Celebrate Mickey: 75 InspEARations" statues displayed at Disneyland
  • Mickey 75th exposure in Walt Disney World Christmas TV Special

Spring/Summer 2005

  • The 75 Mickey Statues are auctioned in New York City for charity First day of issue for The Art of Disney postage stamp, year two (June 2005)

No matter what he's up to, it's clear that Mickey will continue to spread joy and laughter to the young and young at heart.

--Posted November 19, 2003
Source: Walt Disney Company

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