Q: There seem to be conflicting stories on how you originated Mickey Mouse. I should be grateful for clarification. Did you ever keep pet mice?
A: Mickey Mouse as a cartoon character came into being as a result of my having lost the rights to Oswald the Rabbit because of a dispute with the releasing company which refused to renew the contract on what I regarded as the only feasible basis of continued production. This faced our company with a critical situation. We had to create a new character in a hurry to survive. And find a market for it. We canvassed all the animal characters we thought suitable for the movie fable fashion of the time. All the good ones—the ones that would have instant appeal and would be comparatively easy to draw—seemed to have been preempted by the other companies in the cartoon animation field. Finally a mouse was suggested, debated and put on the drawing boards as the best bet.
[...]