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One of the world's most popular personalities is 50 years old today. And at the half-century mark, Mickey Mouse is more alive than ever.

Mickey Mouse made his screen debut on Nov. 18, 1928, as the star of "Steamboat Willie,' at the Colony Theatre in New York. The creation of then 26-year-old Walt Disney, the cartoon was the first animation to utilize sound. It was an instant success.

Since his debut five decades ago, Mickey has become an international celebrity whose success laid the foundation for the multibillion-dollar WED Productions.

Mickey was born in Walt Disney's mind early in 1928 on a train ride from New York to Los Angeles. Disney was returning with his wife from business meeting at which his cartoon creation, Oswald the Rabbit, ha been wrested from him by his financial backers.

With an active cartoon studio in Hollywood, Disney had gone East to arrange for a new contract and more money to improve the quality of his Oswald pictures. The moneymen declined, and since the character was copyrighted under their name, they took control of it.

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