Everyone knows about Minnie Mouse, but there are probably some things about the diminutive rodent that you didn’t know. For example: did you know that Ub Iwerks created Minnie Mouse along with Walt Disney? She was first drawn by Iwerks in 1928, as was her mousey friend, Mickey. She was first featured in a comic strip in 1942 and was called Minerva Mouse. Her father, Marcus Mouse, and her mother (who was never named) were farmers. The same story featured photographs of Minnie’s uncle Milton Mouse with his family and her grandparents Marshal Mouse and Matilda Mouse. Her best known relatives, however, remain her uncle Mortimer Mouse and her twin nieces, Millie and Melody Mouse, though most often a single niece, Melody.
In 1928, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse to act as a replacement to his previous star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But Mickey could not fill the void alone. Among the few consistent character traits Oswald had developed before moving on to Universal Studios was his near-constant pursuit of potential sweethearts. So for Mickey to have a chance to emulate his predecessor at flirting, someone had to replace Oswald’s many love interests. This replacement to Miss Rabbit, Miss Cottontail, Fanny and an uncertain number of unnamed nurses and dancers was to become Minnie Mouse.
Minnie was designed in the fashion of a “flapper” girl. Her main outfit today usually includes a short polka-dotted dress with a matching bow and white gloves. Although she always appears in red, she was originally designed to have a blue and green outfit.
Minnie first appeared in Plane Crazy. Minnie is invited to join Mickey in the first flight of his aircraft. She accepts the invitation but not his request for a kiss in mid-flight. Mickey eventually forces Minnie into a kiss but this only results in her parachuting out of the plane. This first film depicted Minnie as somewhat resistant to the demanding affection of her potential boyfriend and capable of escaping his grasp.
But, based on today’s photo of my littlest granddaughter taken on Halloween, did you know that Minnie loves pizza? Maybe it doesn’t surprise you that she loves cheese pizza. After all, what self-respecting mouse wouldn’t love cheese pizza? As my granddaughter said to me between mouthfuls, “I love to eat!”
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1982, Shirley Allen was arrested for poisoning her husband, Lloyd Allen, with ethylene glycol, commonly known as anti-freeze. After witnessing her mother spike Lloyd’s drinks with the deadly substance, Shirley’s own daughter turned her in to the authorities.
Lloyd Allen was Shirley’s sixth husband and the second to die from mysterious causes; the other four had divorced her. John Gregg, who died a year after he married Shirley in 1977, had changed the beneficiary on his life insurance policy shortly before his death. Shirley was outraged to find that she was left with nothing.
Lloyd, who is said to have complained of a strange taste in his beverages, believed Shirley when she said that it was an iron supplement for his health. However, Joe Sinclair, one of Shirley’s previous husbands, had been a bit more suspicious. When his coffee tasted odd on several occasions, he went to the police. Although he suffered internal injuries, no charges were ever filed. Instead, he filed for a divorce.
When Allen’s death was investigated, toxicology reports confirmed that his body tissue contained a lethal amount of ethyl glycol. After a short four-day trial, Shirley Allen was sentenced to life in prison in 1983.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Some Mexican free-tailed bats can fly up to 250 miles in a single night. They can fly up to 10,000 feet high and reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour.