The first time I did one of these posts, I wrote about the original Disney princess. Now, I’m going to talk about my favorite. Beauty and the Beast is as much of an artistic triumph as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, if not more, given that it won at least some of the Oscars it was nominated for. While Belle is not necessarily the Disney Princess– that would probably have to go to Cinderella– she is almost always included in and on any merchandise for the brand (see my post on the Disney Princess brand for more info). Plus, Belle and Ariel were the first to ring in the Disney Renaissance, which put Disney back on the map in terms of being a studio powerhouse.
As with the last post, we’ll be looking at the history of the character and her story, as well as go into the production of the film and its impact on popular culture at large. I’ll also take a dive into some of her other portrayals, both within the Disney company and without (though certainly not all of them, and I’ll explain that as well). It’s called a tale as old as time for a reason, and Disney’s film is no exception.
Disney Character Profile: Mickey Mouse
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Today marks the 90th anniversary of the premier of “Steamboat Willie”, which Disney marks as the birthday of one Mickey Mouse. Mickey is a bit hard to write about, because what do you say? Walt was very good at writing a story, and his story about Mickey is more or less the story of the company itself. With Mickey as the company mascot, the two are so entwined that to tell the history of one precludes the other. Mickey is such an iconic symbol he is recognized across the world, as recognizable as the Buddha, Jesus, and the Coca-Cola logo.
But he’s also a character.
He’s been in shorts, in films, on TV, on radio, in comics– if Disney could make it, Mickey was on it. Lunch boxes. Toothbrushes. Gas masks. There is a definitive character to him, a distinctive “Mickeyness” that he has no matter where he is.
So let’s delve into that.