Back in 1928, Walt Disney was at a loss. His first two companies had folded and he was very near to financial ruin with his third, thanks to the greed of a man named Charles Mintz. Walt had lost the one character that was keeping him afloat, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The situation was dire. Unless Walt found a new character, he was going to have to fold.
On the train ride back home to California, Walt was anxious, his mind racing with every new idea he could possibly conceive for some new short that could save them. It was there that a character came into his mind - a mouse. He would be funny yet heartfelt, clever and kind, full of ingenuity, similar to Walt himself. But such a mouse would need a name... Mortimer! Lilly shook her head. No, Mortimer was no good. How about Mickey? Mickey Mouse! Walt loved it!
As soon as he got back to California they got to work creating this new character. When Mickey came on the scene in his third short, Steamboat Willie, with the introduction of synchronized sound, he was a hit. America went wild for Mickey! Walt’s company grew almost overnight. For the rest of his days Walt wouldn’t just see Mickey Mouse as a character, but a friend and the very person to save him from financial ruin.
Walt and Mickey have a lot in common. But one of their greatest traits was their ingenuity.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".