JUST after he retired in 1976, Jimmy MacDonald, Disney Studio's head of sound effects, gave an interview about the day his life changed forever.
"They said, 'Walt wants to see you,' and I thought, 'What have I done now?' He said, 'Have you ever tried to do Mickey Mouse?' I said, 'No, Walt.' You wouldn't try to do that, because it was always Walt's voice; there was no reason ever to try it. So he said, 'Do it. Just say something'. So I said (in Mickey's voice], 'Hi, Walt, how are you?' You know, he always had that little identifiable giggle. He said, 'That's fine.' He told the directors, 'Have Jim do it in the future.'"
You have probably never heard of MacDonald, but the chances are you have heard him. In truth, it would be hard to find many individuals who have not, at some point in their lives, heard the work of a man who not only voiced Mickey Mouse for 40 years, but was also the circus train in Dumbo, Pluto's laugh, Sneezy's sneeze and thousands more sounds and voices in Disney movies for half a century. Tomorrow, a radio programme investigating his life and work will air on BBC Radio Scotland. It will also examine the fact that, far from being an American with parents who owned the sort of apple pie accents he was later to become so good at imitating, MacDonald came from Dundee.