Virginia Barton

4 January 2019: Mickey!

4 January 2019


“…The aim of the artist is not to solve a problem irrefutably,
but to make people love life in all its countless inexhaustible manifestations…”


Had Tolstoy ever seen a Disney cartoon I bet he’d clap hands and say, “Told you so! Have you read that snippet from my letter to Boborykin?”


And of course it would be the 90-year old Mickey Tolstoy would be talking about, everybody’s favourite mouse. The mouse with the white gloves, red shorts and yellow shoes is recognised all over the world and his name, of course, is Mickey.

Like Peter Pan, Mickey is forever young. A more straightforward character than PP — positively transparent and cheery; only as the Sorcerer’s apprentice did his smile slip to reveal first anxiety that morphed into terror. I think that was my favourite manifestation — Mickey out of his depth and up to his little black knees in water for once, wielding his brush like crazy. (Watch here).


It is his cheerfulness that is his charm. None of his mates matches it. Minnie is too coy, Donald Duck too cross and Goofy — well, just goofy.

Mickey can always pull you out of a black dog mood, comfort you in one of life’s not infrequent sad moments with his fixed but genuine smile. What’s not to love about Mickey?

If you have a friend undergoing lengthy hospital treatment, send them Mickey Mouse, as large and soft a one as you can afford: seriously, one of the best cures there is! His merchandise is not cheap but his products are good value.


How would Snoopy and Peanuts match up to the water test, I wonder…?





  • Dr J says on: January 4, 2019 at 12:02 am


    Spare a thought for Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian. Walt initially named his cartoon creation “Mortimer Mouse” until Lillian stepped in and persuaded him that “Mickey Mouse” sounded nicer.

    Bravo, Lil!

    • Ginny says on: January 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm


      MORTIMER!! Oh no no Walt, thank goodness for Lillian’s good sense. The world is better for Mickey as it could not have been for Mort! Happy New Year! Ginny

  • Mary says on: January 4, 2019 at 11:00 am


    Happy new year Ginny!

    I once worked in Hollywood for the Disney corp and had an office right in the middle of Burbank studios. The topiary was all clipped into neat Mickey shapes, there was a giant portico held up by seven outsize dwarves and the my actual address was “Dopey Drive”.

    One of my colleagues announced “you now work for the MOUSE” in a broad Brooklyn accent.

    It felt like living in a cult.

    But you’re right, Mickey’s perky little smile never waned and was oddly comforting.

    • Ginny says on: January 4, 2019 at 4:42 pm


      Mary that must have been an almost out-of-body experience. I suspect it’s replicated in Dubai?

      Not for this old plodder with feet firmly on the ground. I couldn’t even perpetuate the Father Christmas myth I’m afraid.

      Best wishes for the New Year! Ginny

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