Mickey Mouse is Disney’s mascot, and perhaps the most famous animated movie star in cinema history. The mouse has starred in a number of films dating back to the 1920s, which have included both short and longer animated films. Admittedly, not all of Mickey Mouse's full-length films have been the biggest in the Disney franchise; but the plucky mouse still has millions of fans worldwide.
The origins of Mickey Mouse date back to the 1920s when Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks sketched him out for the first time. From these first sketches Iwerks and Walt Disney began to co-direct Mickey's first film. By 1928, this film was complete and titled "Steamboat Willie." "Steamboat Willie" was a short animated film that lasted about seven minutes. It was also a black-and-white animation. In that film the mouse starred as a helmsman serving aboard a steamboat.
During the 1930s, Mickey starred in numerous short animated films. Short films such as the "Chain Gang," "Mickey’s Gala Premier," "Hollywood Party" and "Band Concert" were a few of Mickey’s animated shorts during this decade. In 1935, "Band Concert" was the first Mickey film in Technicolor.
One of the first full-length Mickey Mouse movies hit the big screen in 1940. "Fantasia" was only the third full-length Disney picture at the time, and it included a variety of classics performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. This was one of Mickey’s best and most famous films. A sequel to "Fantasia" followed, but was some time in coming.
After "Fantasia" there were further Mickey movies during the 1940s. These included films such as "Symphony Hour" and "Fun and Fancy Free." However, most remained short cartoons and were not full-length movies such as "Fantasia."
After the ‘40s Mickey's cartoons and movies began to disappear. They became increasingly rarer, and by the 1960s Disney's star had seemingly all but disappeared. Not until 1983 did Mickey make a comeback with "Mickey’s Christmas Carol." This was a short animated movie, based on Dicken’s classic "A Christmas Carol," nominated for an Academy Award as Best Animated Short.
A more genuine revival emerged with the full-length animated movie "Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas" in 1999. A sequel followed in 2004, "Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas," which was the first Mickey film to include 3D computer animation. The much awaited sequel to "Fantasia," "Fantasia 2000," also hit the big screen. "Fantasia 2000" combined CGI on top of hand-drawn animations. In addition, "Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers" was another Mickey Mouse movie that emerged in 2004.
These are the most recent additions to the series. Overall, it is one of the oldest Disney film series with full-length animated movies that began with "Fantasia" in 1940. However, Mickey Mouse short animated films have been going for 80 years, and so Mickey Mouse is about 80 years old.