Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mickey Mouse Born in Kansas City? Not Quite . . .

Two animation professionals based in Kansas City need to brush up a bit on their Disney history.
An article published yesterday in the Kansas City Star, highlighting that city's growing animation industry, started off almost immediately with this quote from KC businessman Bruce Branit: "I often have mentioned to people I work with in Los Angeles that my office is only a few blocks from where Walt Disney drew Mickey Mouse for the first time.”  Later in the article, Dylan Dietz of the Midwest Association of Professional Animators speaks of Walt Disney, saying, "We are proud that he started here and that Mickey Mouse was designed here.”

While their recognition of Disney's Kansas City legacy is certainly appropriate, the history they are referencing is, well . . . wrong.  Sorry gentlemen, but you can't claim a Kansas City birthplace for Mickey Mouse.  Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks were firmly located in southern California when they created the iconic character in 1928.

While Disney's Alice Comedies were distinctly rooted in Missouri, both Oswald the Rabbit and Mickey Mouse originated in the 2719 Hyperion Studios near Hollywood.  Walt's Kansas City history is notable and important on so many levels, but he in fact left that fine city for California some five years before Mickey Mouse would have been drawn for the first time.

Explore the 2719 Hyperion archives:
Long Ago Magic Along 31st Street in Kansas City


Nate Parrish said...

Dear Kansas City Star, The next time you want to know something about Walt Disney contact myself or the Thank You Walt Disney Foundation.

Nate Parrish said...

Ooops. Forgot to mention that I live in Kansas City (not that I know more about Disney than anyone else).

Embarrassed that my paper wouldn't know that:P

Anonymous said...

Both are correct: The idea of Mickey Mouse was based on a pet mouse that Walt Disney kept at his Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City, but the cartoon character wasn't drawn until after he established his studio in California. Therefore, Mickey was conceived in Kansas City and born in California.