【tdr0059】Why does the Mickey Mouse have four fingers?


After debuting on November 18, 1928 in a short ‘talkie’ animation film “Steamboat Willie”, the Mickey Mouse became a world-famous superstar.

His popularity is partly due to the lovable appearance with the large ears, eyes and hands/feet. But many people may have wondered “why does Mickey have only four fingers?” when they saw him for the first time.

We can convince ourselves that he is not a human, but some may still feel curious. A real mouse has a total of five fingers ? four with nails and a vestigial thumb, so we cannot say it’s because he is a mouse.

Then, why four fingers?

As a matter of fact, the Mickey Mouse was originally going to have five fingers. But when they made a test animation, he looked like having six fingers. As the imaging technique back then was not advanced as it is now, the image of his hands could not be processed well.

By decreasing the number of fingers to four, they could solve the problem. Moreover, the fingers looked rounded and cuter as well as well-balanced.

Then, why didn’t they decrease the number to three? It was mainly because he cannot point a finger. When they tried drawing Mickey with three fingers, pointing one at something, he looked like flipping the bird and picking a fight.

Also, when you look at a mouse’s hand, you may think it looks like having four fingers but not three. A character with three fingers would look unnatural and unbalanced.

Considering the fact that the Mickey Mouse with four fingers became such a popular character, we may have to thank the poor imaging technique back then.

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