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Monday, November 17, 2014

Voices For Mickey

As longtime readers may remember, Walt Disney couldn't find a suitable voice for Mickey Mouse so he provided the voice for his best friend.

As he branched out into feature films, live action and theme parks, Mr. Disney had less and less time to record Mickey's lines. Not wanting to go through the process of auditioning new Mickey voices again, Walt decided to look inside the company and found the perfect new voice- Jimmy McDonald. Mr. McDonald was the head of the sound effects department at the Disney Studios and was already occasionally providing random Mickey squeaks as needed.

As Mr. McDonald headed into his retirement, he took it upon himself to find his replacement. He found it in the sound effects department in the person of a young assistant- Wayne Allwine. Mr. Allwine would go on to become a high profile voice, even taking his work home with him; he married Russi Taylor in a romance befitting a Disney film; she was also the voice of Minnie Mouse. (Russi is pictured with Wayne below.)

Sadly, Mr. Allwine passed away in 2009. This time, the company would find its Mickey outside the company. Bret Iwan worked for Hallmark, designing greeting cards. He was working on a line of talking Mickey Mouse greeting cards and decided to record his own voice on the demo card that was going to be provided to Disney's licensing team. The Disney licensing team thought that Hallmark had used real Wayne Allwine recordings for the card and were impressed to discover that it was Bret's voice on the prototype. They remembered this when Mr. Allwine passed away and the magic of Mickey continued with the casting of Mr. Iwan.