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Toon Talk: Happy Birthday Mickey!
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
November 18, 2008
On the occasion of his 80th birthday Kirby presents Mickey Mouse's top 10 film performances.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt

A Toon Talk Special:

Celebrating the Mouses 80th with His Top 10 Performances

Eight decades ago today, Walt Disneys Mickey Mouse made his first appearance on the public stage in the first synchronized sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. The seven-minute classic made him an instant superstar, and he would eventually become the most recognizable fictional character on the planet.

Over the years, Mickey has had quite the varied career, from Academy Award-winning movie star to wristwatch model to comic book character to television host to theme park ambassador to recording artist to video game hero to corporate symbol (whew!). Through it all, our pal Mickey has endured and thrived, delighting audiences of each and every generation with his good humor, innate charm and dashing good looks (who else could turn ears like that into a fashion statement?).

To celebrate his milestone 80th year in show biz, Toon Talk counts down his top ten greatest performances from the silver screen:

10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988): In this all-star toon-a-palooza, it was only natural for Mickey to make a cameo. And he holds his own in his one and only onscreen pairing with that wascally wabbit from Warners, Bugs Bunny.

9. Mickeys Rival (1936): Mickey got to show off his previously unseen jealous side when his longtime girlfriend Minnie sparks to the attentions of that sleazy playa Mortimer Mouse (Mickeys original name; thanks, Lillian).

8. Runaway Brain (1995): Here our hero has a chance to cut loose and finally be the villain, a wild nightmare version of himself with frayed ears and yellow eyes, in this variation of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.

7. Thru the Mirror (1936): In this Lewis Carroll inspired fantasy, Mickey dreams himself into a parallel universe, where he displays some fancy footwork dancing, la Fred Astaire, with a giant pair of gloves and a peacock-y pack of playing cards.

6. Brave Little Taylor (1938): A humble Mickey nevertheless saves the day when his innocent cry of I killed seven with one blow leads him to be taken for a giant killer. The short concludes with his most memorable smooch, from a grateful Princess Minnie.

5. The Prince and the Pauper (1990): Following in the footsteps of Hayley The Parent Trap Mills, Mickey has an acting tour de force playing the titular duel roles in this delightful adaptation of the Mark Twain classic.

4. Steamboat Willie (1928): His official film debut, this landmark short set the tone for Mickeys black and white period, amply displaying his playfulness and early wily nature, not to mention his creative use of farm animals.

3. The Band Concert (1935): Mickeys first color cartoon is also the best example of his often-tumultuous relationship with frequent co-star Donald Duck. But our unflappable hero proves that not even a tornado can stop his talent or his need to entertain.

2. Mickey and the Beanstalk (1947): A section of the package feature Fun and Fancy Free, this mouse-ified telling of the classic fairy tale allows Mickey to prove his heroism on a grand scale as he faces off against a harp-stealing, snuff-snorting giant.

1. The Sorcerers Apprentice (1940): Theres a reason why Mickeys performance in this segment from Fantasia is his most iconic. In its roughly ten-minute running time, Mickey (in his ultimate star turn) runs the emotional gamut, from nave innocence to impulsive daring to frenzied panic and back. And youre with him every step of the way, wearing that blue hat right along with him, enjoying the ride.

In closing, a very happy birthday to you, Mister Mickey Mouse; may you live on for another 80 years and then some!

Coming Soon:

  • Its Bolt to the rescue! Disneys new canine crime fighter strikes in a theater near you November 21.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian makes its Disney DVD debut December 2.
  • Its that time of year again: a special Toon Talk look at the best of 2008.

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-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics

Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.

Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.

The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.

-- Posted November 18, 2008
-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics