Mickey Mouse first appeared on screen 90 years ago this month in Steamboat Willie, which premiered at New York’s Colony Theater, on November 18, 1928. In the ensuing nine decades, Mickey has only grown more beloved through his appearances in more than 100 big-screen cartoons, starring roles in animated TV series such as the Mickey Mouse cartoon series on Disney Channel and Mickey and the Roadster Racers on Disney Junior, and through the many unforgettable interactions he’s shared with people all over the world, whether he’s bringing joy to guests in Disney parks or providing comforting hugs to young patients in children’s hospitals across the globe. The Walt Disney Company now celebrates the pop-culture icon with a star-studded special, Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, airing this Sunday on ABC (8–10:01 EST).
The two-hour special pays tribute to Mickey through musical performances from popular artists such as Grammy® nominee and Latin Grammy winner Luis Fonsi, Tony® and Grammy Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Seoul-based K-Pop sensation NCT 127; along with appearances from Hollywood luminaries Kristen Bell, Josh Gad and John Stamos, as well as Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who spoke recently about what he believes Mickey represents.
“Mickey embodies qualities that are incredibly important to all human beings in our world—the value of friendship; the importance of having a good time; the importance of feeling optimistic, even in tough times; companionship; touching hearts and comforting people,” said Iger, adding, “He’s about as perfect as it gets and, of course, then there’s how he looks. You don’t have to glance at him for more than a second to smile. There’s just something about the way he looks that puts a smile on everybody’s face.”
The worldwide celebration of 90 years of Mickey Mouse continues in November with an immersive experience, Mickey: The True Original Exhibition, opening in New York City on November 8. The 16,000-square-foot exhibit looks at Mickey’s influence on art and pop culture through interactive experiences and historic and contemporary work from renowned and emerging artists.
Mickey’s 90th has inspired fashion collections from Marc Jacobs, Opening Ceremony, Vans, Target and more; while additional collaborations have launched with luxury candy boutique Sugarfina and Brooklyn-based ice cream company Ample Hills Creamery. Disney stores have introduced capsule collections available exclusively in-store and at shopDisney.com, Disney Publishing Worldwide will release commemorative titles and Walt Disney Animation Studios celebrates Mickey’s cartoon legacy with the Digital and Blu-ray release of Celebrating Mickey, featuring 13 classic short films.
Disney Parks & Resorts will celebrate Mickey’s 90th with special events at all sites around the world, including the World’s Biggest Mouse Party. This limited-time, global celebration honors both Mickey and Minnie—who also made her debut 90 years ago this month—and continues into 2019.