Mickey Mouse was a replacement player.
That's right. He wasn't a star from the very beginning.
Walt Disney had created, along with two other men, the animated character of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. After a few cartoons, Disney asked for more money to be able to draw more and better Oswald cartoons. The studio that Disney was working for fired him and hired other people to draw the animated rabbit. Unfortunately for Disney, he didn't own the rights to his creation.
In a moment of inspiration, Disney created a cartoon mouse that he wanted to call Mortimer. Walt's wife talked him out of it, and the mouse got the name Mickey. A legend was born. (One story says that Disney got the idea for a cartoon mouse from a real mouse that he had trained.)
Mickey Mouse first appeared in comics in Plane Crazy, a short animated film that also starred Minnie Mouse and Clarabelle Cow. Audiences were not impressed, and neither were distributors. Undaunted, Disney went back to the drawing board and produced another short film, this one called The Gallopin' Gaucho. The response was the same, however, mainly because most people seemed to think that Mickey Mouse looked so much like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit that they weren't seeing anything new.
Frustrated but not willing to give up, Disney again went back to the drawing board. This time, he delivered something that audiences liked. This time, he gave us Mickey Mouse, a Mickey Mouse that we would recognize (sort of).
The vehicle for the first real introduction of Mickey Mouse was Steamboat Willie, and it was a resounding success. Audiences loved it, critics loved it, and Mickey was off and running.
This was not the first film made with Mickey Mouse as the star, but it was the first film that made Mickey Mouse a star. It was also the first movie that totally combined and had sound, music, and dialogue all together in one neat package. We moviegoers of today take that kind of thing for granted; back then, it was a huge deal, something that had never been done before.
Minnie Mouse appeared in this film as well, and Walt Disney provided the voice for both mouse characters. This is the film in which Mickey and Minnie dance to the famous song "Turkey in the Straw." It also features Mickey playing various animals as musical instruments.
Today, the name of Mickey Mouse is familiar to people around the world. The mouse ears symbol is a symbol of success. It all started in 1928, with Steamboat Willie.