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Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character who has become an icon for the Walt Disney Company. Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and voiced by Walt Disney. The Walt Disney Company celebrates his birth as November 18, 1928 upon the release of Steamboat Willie, although Mickey had already appeared six months earlier in Plane Crazy. The anthropomorphic mouse has evolved from being simply a character in animated cartoons and comic strips to become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Mickey is currently the main character in the Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney series "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse". Mickey is the leader of The Mickey Mouse Club.
In late 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced that they will begin to re-brand the Mickey Mouse character by moving away from his pleasant, cheerful image and reintroducing the mischievous and cunning side of his personality.
Mickey was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an earlier cartoon character created by the Disney studio for Charles Mintz of Universal Studios.
When Disney asked for a larger budget for his popular Oswald series, Mintz announced that Disney could keep doing the Oswald series, as long as he agreed to a budget cut and went on the payroll. Mintz owned Oswald and thought he had Disney over a barrel. Angrily, Disney refused the deal and returned to produce the final Oswald cartoons he contractually owed Mintz. Disney was dismayed at the betrayal by his staff, but determined to restart from scratch. The new Disney Studio initially consisted of animator Ub Iwerks and a loyal apprentice artist, Les Clark. One lesson Disney learned from the experience was to thereafter always make sure that he owned all rights to the characters produced by his company.