This past weekend, ABC Network aired a “spectacular” in celebration of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday. We were present at the taping of the TV special/birthday bash at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles a few weeks prior to air for the 90-year-old mouse that Walt Disney created back in the 1920s.
As a story on The New York Times put it, the “Disney Marketing Machine” constituted most of the two-hour primetime program, which felt less like a celebration of Mickey and more like a way for Disney to once again show off its pop culture power.
We really enjoyed seeing most of the performances with Mickey dancing it out with guest artists like Tori Kelly, Luis Fonsi, and even Disney CEO Bob Iger singing ‘Happy birthday’ to his boss, but in between performances, there were odes to how Mickey fits pretty much every part of The Walt Disney Company’s many business units.
There were montages of Mickey traveling around the world interacting with locals, him playing in his theme parks, and most especially how his brand and image are the envy of every consumer products/experience company on the planet. Minnie Mouse also got her time in the spotlight showing off both mice-printed clothes from Levi’s and even limited edition Beats by Dre headphones featuring Mickey patterns.
So why do all this for the Mouse’s 100th birthday? There are multiple reasons one could argue, but the main one being that they just can. Proving that Mickey Mouse and everything that embodies him are still very relevant today even after nine decades is everything to Disney. What’s one more decade to really do him right and celebrate 100 years of everybody’s favorite mouse?