- “Ha-cha-cha, ladies' night! Where ladies get everything they want! And what they want, is to adore me.”
Mortimer Mouse is an anthropomorphic mouse and Mickey Mouse’s longtime rival. Portrayed as an arrogant, lecherous, yet charismatic shyster, Mortimer made his animated debut in the 1936 short, Mickey's Rival, in which he vied for Minnie Mouse’s affections against a jealous Mickey. A precursor to the character known as Mr. Slicker appeared six years prior in the Floyd Gottfredson comic Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers.
With a tall, slim physique and overbearing personality, Mortimer is the polar opposite of the stout and earnest Mickey. Mortimer’s whiskers, elongated snout, and prominent front teeth made him out to be more of a rat than a mouse, contrast to his name. Though Mickey's Rival was his only appearance in the theatrical shorts, Mortimer was reinvigorated in the early 2000s with prominent roles in Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse, in which he coined his catchphrase, “Ha-cha-cha!”.
Mortimer is said to be Minnie's ex-boyfriend. He is very arrogant and rude, the total opposite of his rival. While he claims he loves Minnie very much (even after she broke up with him), he shows to be incredibly selfish as seen in the cartoon, Mickey's Rival, where he leaves Minnie to be attacked by a bull that he provoked. Not only that, he attempts to flirt with any female character on screen, which might also indicate the reason the relationship between him and Minnie was abolished. Also, Mortimer can be rather sexist as seen in "Mickey's Rival Returns" where he feels that Minnie is only a prize to be won.
Aside from his cocky and sexist attitude, Mortimer proves to be, time and time again, rather intelligent and crafty. On many occasions, he's managed to manipulate Mickey into a scheme that'd end in the downfall of his relationship with Minnie. For instance, in "Big House Mickey", Mortimer managed to fool the town's government into arresting Mickey. In House of Mouse episode, "Mickey and the Culture Clash", he manipulated Mickey into believing Minnie desires a more sophisticated boyfriend, resulting in the mouse changing his persona to the point where Minnie believes he's out of her league, leaving her in the hands of Mortimer.
Interestingly, a different side of Mortimer was showcased in the cartoon, "Mickey's Mix-Up", where Mickey accidentally sent a heartwarming fax to Mortimer (which was actually meant for Minnie) having Mortimer believe Mickey wanted to make amends, which he immediately agreed to. This shows that perhaps Mortimer does hold a softer side, and wouldn't mind becoming friends with Mickey if the latter also wanted to let bygones be bygones. However, this softer side was never revealed again, due to either Mickey revealing the truth about the mix up, infuriating Mortimer, or more likely because the entire thing was used as a comical gag.
Mortimer has one catchphrase, "Ha-cha-cha," which he has used since his reintroduction in Mickey Mouse Works. In some of the comics he says it differently; "Hot-Cha-Cha."
Mortimer is essentially a taller version of Mickey, and seems a bit more human-like. Unlike his rival, Mortimer has whiskers, and ears that are longer than Mickey's, perhaps to give him a more rodent-like appearance. He has feet the size of Goofy's. Unlike most of the other mouse characters, however, you can see two large teeth close together, like a real rodent. Mortimer usually wears a long-sleeved shirt and baggy pants with two buttons in the front (like Mickey's), but sometimes he also wears a porkpie hat.
After losing the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney and Roy Disney needed a new star to headline their cartoon studio. A mouse character was eventually conceived, and Walt dubbed his new creation “Mortimer Mouse”. His wife, Lillian Disney, felt that the name was too pompous and instead suggested “Mickey Mouse”, and the name stuck
Years later, in 1930, acclaimed comic writer Floyd Gottfredson premiered Mr. Slicker and the Egg Robbers, a storyline for his Mickey Mouse comic strip that introduced a rival suitor for Minnie’s affections in the form of a lanky rat with a boisterous and conniving personality. In Gottfredson's story, Minnie Mouse's father, Marcus is in danger of losing his ranch eggs. Mr. Slicker offers aid financial return for Minnie's hand in marriage, and Mickey suspects him. In the end, Mickey proves it was Slicker who was behind the thefts.
In 1935, development was underway at the animation division on a short subject involving Mickey’s struggles against a similarly snide character out for Minnie’s heart. Bearing a striking resemblance to Slicker, this new antagonist was dubbed Mortimer Mouse. It is unknown to what extent that Mortimer’s character was influenced by Walt and Lillian’s discussions regarding Mickey’s name. It is nevertheless interesting to note that Mortimer projects the haughty demeanor that soured Lillian on the name “Mortimer” in the first place. However, according to Leonard Maltin in the Walt Disney Treasures series, Mortimer’s name was an in-joke by the animators in reference to Mickey’s original name. Maltin also explains that the animators designed Mortimer to resemble Walt Disney, himself.
In his first animated appearance, Mickey's Rival, Mortimer was driving by and notice Mickey and Minnie as they were having a picnic. Minnie is thrilled to see Mortimer once again. As soon as Mortimer walks up, Mickey already knows he is bad news just as Mortimer does not like Mickey at all so he attempts to humiliate Mickey and when Mickey shows Minnie how upset he is Minnie states that he is just jealous. Mortimer then tries to impress Minnie by annoying a bull that is over a fence. The plan works until the bull finds a way out. Mortimer rushes and drives away in his car and leaves Mickey to rescue Minnie who eventually remembers why she left Mortimer in the first place.
From April 14th through July 5th, 1941, Mortimer returned to the printed page as Montmorency Rodent. In the story Love Trouble, Monty claims to be of the Social Elite and, just like in his previous appearance, does everything he can to make Mickey look like a fool in front of Minnie, especially at Patricia Pigg’s party. He encountered Goofy in this story, further interpreting Mortimer into Mickey’s wider universe. Although Gottfredson did not use Monty again after this, this version of Mortimer's design would go on to be the default design of the character in later comics, as well as his above-mentioned return to animation.
Montmorency would return sporadically, such as 1951’s Sunday story Stormy Weather, and in the 1970s, in which he donned a blue costume with an orange hat and white mask.
After decades of obscurity, Mortimer finally returned to animation in 1999 with the release of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, where he was Minnie’s snooty boss and the CEO of a department store. Shortly after the release of Once Upon a Christmas, Mortimer’s popularity was skyrocketed by cartoons on ABC and Toon Disney such as House of Mouse. He has since landed roles in several Mickey Mouse related material in various media such as television and video games. In most of his appearances since the late 1990s, Mortimer's voice has been provided by Maurice LaMarche, which is said to be an exaggerated impression of comedian Jon Lovitz.
Films and television
Mortimer makes a brief appearance in the direct-to-video film Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. Here, Mortimer is the snooty, profound, and wealthy owner of Mortimer's Department Store, and he speaks with a profound tone. His design is noticeably different here; he does not have his buck teeth and is drawn with a mustache instead of his usual whiskers. Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are notable employees of the store, and judging by Minnie's low-budget lifestyle, he does not pay well. In Mortimer's brief scene, Minnie hopes to earn the Christmas bonus for her extra hard work, so that she may pay for a wonderful present for Mickey. However, Mortimer only gives her a fruitcake, leaving Minnie without money to buy the gift.
In this series, Mortimer returned to animation as a recurring antagonist to Mickey, now drawn to match his redesign in the comic strip (see below). Mortimer's first appearance in the series was the cartoon "Mickey's Rival Returns". In this cartoon, Mortimer and Mickey compete with each other in volleyball. The winner gets to ask Minnie on a date. Originally, Mickey refused to accept the idea being that it would be using Minnie as "some kind of trophy", but Mortimer's arrogance and mocking angers Mickey into competing. Mickey wins, but Mortimer reveals the competition prize to Minnie, causing her to believe Mickey thought of her as a prize (when it was really him). Minnie instead leaves with Mortimer but at the date, he begins to harass her for a kiss. Fortunately, she is saved by Mickey who she forgives (despite the fact it wasn't Mickey's fault in the first place) and has a beach dinner with.
In later episodes, Mortimer is Mickey's neighbor and is still competing with Mickey to win Minnie's heart, or simply trying to ruin Mickey's day. He is apparently wealthy, as he is shown to own far more advanced technology than his rival. One of Mortimer's most villainous roles was in the cartoon "Big House Mickey" where he falsely accused Mickey of robbing his house, got Mickey sent to prison, and even lied under oath. Mortimer made a guest appearance in the Pluto segment "Pluto Gets the Paper: Mortimer"; here, he steals the newspaper Pluto was about to get for Mickey, and after a long chase, the dog finally gets back at him by making him bring the paper to Mickey like a dog.
In the television series House of Mouse, Mortimer gets a role as a recurring character. Mortimer appears many times as a guest and tries to trick Mickey and Minnie into breaking up or just flirt with the women. In the series' pilot episode, Mortimer appears briefly, but is seen flirting with Donald Duck's girlfriend Daisy Duck instead. He would go on try to have both Minnie and Daisy all to himself in later episodes. Mortimer proves to be hated by mostly all of the guests at the club, including villains, such as Ursula and Gaston. It is even indicated in the episode "Pete's Christmas Caper" that the cruel Pete might even have a dislike for him.
Whenever he's not flirting with Minnie or Daisy or Clarabelle, Mortimer's seen flirting with dozens of females in the audience, such as Anastasia and Drizella from Cinderella, Laverne from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, or even the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.
Mortimer's most prominent appearance in the series is in "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", in which he tricks Mickey and friends into believing he is a restaurant critic, and he forces them to treat him like a prince or he will give them a negative review which could close the club. Mortimer is foiled when Lumière is revealed to be the actual critic.
Mortimer has a non-speaking role in "Minnie's Birthday" seen sitting beneath a tree, playing a guitar. In this appearance, Mortimer wears the orange shirt from Mickey Mouse Works with yellow polka dots, blue pants, and yellow shoes. He was also seen sleeping and sunbathing on the ground.
Mortimer makes his only proper appearance on the series in the episode "Super Adventure!" as the main antagonist. Here, he has a supervillain ego named Megamort, who plots to take control over the Clubhouse World by shrinking all the landmarks and storing them within his zeppelin lair. During some time of the plotting, Mortimer forced the humble Pete to act as his minion, ordering him to go around to proceed with his bidding. When the problem reaches Mickey and friends' attention, Ludwig Von Drake creates a machine that transforms the clubhouse gang into a team of superheroes.
Together, they head out and are able to defeat Pete. However, Pete reveals he was forced to fulfill such evil deeds, under the control of "the big boss", who threatened to shrink Pete should he refuse to follow orders. Just then, Megamort arrives and does just that, due to Pete's failure. And with Pete no longer serving him, Megamort goes ahead and wrecks havoc amongst the world himself, leading to everything, including Mickey himself being shrunk and imprisoned. Under their hero egos, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, Daisy, and Pluto travel to Megamort's zeppelin where a battle ensues.
Successfully, they retrieve the shrunken landmarks, but causes Megamort's blimp to go haywire in the process, putting Megamort in great peril. Mickey concocts a plan to successfully save the villainous mouse, and Megamort, being eternally grateful, apologizes and redeems himself, revealing that his true name is Mortimer Mouse, and that he's the Clubhouse's newest neighbor. With his villainy in the past, Mortimer restores the peace in the Clubhouse world and is welcomed by Mickey and the gang into their circle of friends.
Strangely, Mortimer's appearance in "Minnie's Birthday" seems to have been forgotten here, as he was showcased in Super Adventure! as the Clubhouse's new neighbor, as if Mickey and the gang had never known him prior to those events. It could be that Super Adventure! chronologically takes place first, despite having been made years later.
He first appears in the episode "No", where Mickey's inability to say the word "no" is taken advantage of by Mortimer, who asks Mickey to borrow Minnie romantically. Though Mickey isn't able to refuse, Minnie stomps on Mortimer's foot and storms off. Later, a wounded and handicapped Mortimer angrily tells Mickey to keep his girl, believing she isn't worth the stress. In the final scene, Mortimer joins the other characters in asking Mickey if he minds them watching TV with him, to which Mickey responds with, "Yes, I do mind".
In "A Pete Scorned", Pete fears that Mortimer is taking his place as Mickey's most hated bully. When Mickey proves Pete's suspicions, the latter falls into a depressed state. Mickey then takes it upon himself to help Pete out of the slump, but Mortimer sabotages Mickey's plans with another round of bullying. Mickey chides Mortimer and explains that he was trying to help Pete, to which Mortimer responds by insulting Pete. Having overheard the conversation, an annoyed Pete shows up and punches a fearful Mortimer into the sky.
Mortimer appears in the episode "Daredevil Goofy!", though this incarnation is a famous actor known as Morty McCool. He is idolized and adored by most of Hot Dog Hills, including Minnie, Daisy, and Goofy. While participating in the town's race meant to promote teamwork and good sportsmanship, however, it is revealed that Morty's hero persona on television is just an act, as in reality, he is selfish and arrogant. Morty technically wins the race, but because Goofy was the one to show good sportsmanship (considered to be the true measure of a hero) it was he who was given the race's grand prize in the end.
Mortimer made a cameo appearance in the Minnie's Bow-Toons episode "Slumber Party", when Minnie, Daisy, Clarabelle, Millie, and Melody are watching a scary film on TV.
Around the time the cartoon short Mickey's Rival came out, Gottfredson adapted it into a storyline in the Mickey Mouse Sunday strip, but with a noticeably different plot. Mickey goes over to Minnie's house to visit, only to be greeted by Mortimer, who is also visiting Minnie. After Minnie introduces him to Mickey, Mortimer proceeds to make Mickey look like a fool in front of her. Each day, he keep pulling pranks on Mickey in hopes of getting rid of him. In the end, Mickey got the better of him, and Minnie kicked Mortimer out.
Five years later, Mortimer returned to the daily comic strip as Montmorency Rodent (surname pronounced "Ro-dawn"), or Monty for short, in Gottfredson's storyline "Love Trouble", with help from his cousin Madeline, Mickey manages to expose that Monty is really nothing more than a thieving chauffeur in front of the real Social Elite. Although Gottfredson did not use Monty again after this, this version of Mortimer's design would go on to be the default design of the character in later comics, as well as his above-mentioned return to animation.
The character returned again in "The Copper's Catch", published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #67, now called Mortimer Rodent, and officially becoming a recurring antagonist to Mickey afterward. In later comic appearances under other writers, Mortimer sometimes teamed up with Mickey's other rivals, such as Pete, Sylvester Shyster, and Muscles McGurk. In some comics, it was shown that Mortimer is rich and lives in a mansion, and he can also fly a plane.
Mortimer is also featured as a unlockable and playable character in the app game Disney Crossy Road.
To date, Mortimer has yet to make any live appearances in the Disney theme parks. However, a mural with several classic Disney characters during the Disney California Adventure expansion was seen with Mortimer being one of the characters featured. Also at the park, Mortimer's name is featured in the shop Mortimer's Market which is located on Buena Vista Street.
At Minnie's House in the Mickey's Toontown area, the W.A.C.K.Y. radio broadcast includes a news report stating that Mortimer was arrested for stealing a portrait of Minnie, getting caught when he tripped and smashed his head through the portrait. According to the report, Mortimer claimed that he was "framed".
- Mortimer's name, besides being the original name for Mickey, derives from the name of Disney's former pet mouse of the same name.
- Although Mortimer wasn't used that much in the original cartoons, he has been used a lot in the comics particularly the comics from overseas, the most popular ones being Brazil, Italy, and France.
- Mortimer bears resemblance to an obscure character, Ruffhouse Rat, who is a cousin of Minnie's from an early Mickey Mouse newspaper comic.
- In the Berke Breathed strip Bloom County, there is a Mortimer Mouse, who is a stubbly, surly mouse who wears the same outfit as Mickey's, but more disheveled. He is annoyed that he was drafted during the Second World War, during one battle he suffered an injury where a Panzer tank ran over his foot, while at the same time Mickey went on to fame and fortune. This parody was ended after Breathed was threatened with a lawsuit from Disney for unauthorized parody in 1988. Interestingly, Disney had better relations with Berke Breathed twenty years later when they based a film on his children's book Mars Needs Moms.
- According to voice actor Maurice LaMarche, his voice of Mortimer is an exaggerated impression of comedian/actor Jon Lovitz.
- While Mortimer is officialy a mouse, Clarabelle once jokingly asked if he was a mouse or just a big giant rat in a song Mortimer made them perform about him. This is referring to Mortimer's sleazy personality as rat can be used as a slang for an unpleasant individual.