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Mickey Mouse Spoke For The First Time 86 Years Ago Today

WALT DISNEY: (As Mickey Mouse) (Whistling).

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST:

Recognize that whistle? For all you Disney aficionados out there, you already know. "Steamboat Willie" is the fuzzy, black-and-white cartoon that introduced the world to Mickey Mouse. But here's a test. What were Mickey's first words?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STEAMBOAT WILLIE")

DISNEY: (As Mickey Mouse) (Blowing raspberry).

BATES: Nope, you won't find it in 1928. Instead, look to the following summer. Eighty-six years ago today, when Mickey took a deep breath and proclaimed...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE KARNIVAL KID")

CARL STALLING: (As Mickey Mouse) Hot dog, hot dog.

BATES: You heard it right. Hot dogs.

STALLING: (As Mickey Mouse) Hotdogs hot dogs.

BATES: In "The Karnival Kid," Mickey works a hot dog cart at a county fair full of now-famous Disney characters, like Clarabelle Cow and Mickey's burly feline nemesis, Kat Nipp, and, of course, Minnie Mouse, whose shimmy dancing captivates Mickey.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE KARNIVAL KID")

BATES: The Dinsey short it is a little weird by today's standards. Everything moves and dances, from the hot dog cart to the hot dogs themselves.

STALLING: (As Mickey Mouse) Hot Dog, Hot dog.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

BATES: Carl Stalling voiced Mickey Mouse first in these early cartoons. He went on to compose classic scores for "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies." And Minnie? She's voiced by Disney himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, rum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum (ph).

BATES: A lot has changed at Disney. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Kat Nipp, even Walt Disney - they're all gone. But Mickey Mouse remains a beloved icon, even if his voice has gotten a little bit higher.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. Hey, there. Hi, there. Ho, there. You're as welcome as can be. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. Mickey Mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (As Donald Duck) Donald Duck.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Mickey Mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (As Donald Duck) Donald Duck. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.