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Disney Behind the Ears Rizzo & Kermit

Disney Behind the Ears spot.

Rizzo the Rat masquerading as Mickey.

Fozzie and his mother with a Mickey Mouse ear hat and a Mickey t-shirt

A Mickey figurine on Henson's mantel

Kermit holds a Walt Disney World theme park map featuring Mickey in a promotional photo republished in The Muppets 2008 Day-at-a-Time Calendar.

Mickey consoles Kermit WD Eye 1990.png

Robin plots to trap Mickey Mouse.

Waldo turns into Mickey.

The Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse

Jim Henson wearing a Mickey Mouse watch on the set of Muppet*Vision 3D.

Disney fashion on Sesame Street (Episode 0265).

Bruce Cayard's Mickey Mouse

Art by Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (Fred Newman).

9" Rizzo Vinylmation figure (2008).

A photo of Mickey hanging in Robin's room.

Santa's elf with Mickey ears.

Mickey's shorts in the Muppet gift shop at Walt Disney World.


2015 Christmas Rizzo ornament.

Baby Kermit with Mickey Mouse and other Disney Junior characters from Disney Junior Music in 2020.

Mickey Mouse is one of the world's best known cartoon characters, created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. He made his theatrical debut in Steamboat Willie, which has the distinction of being the first cartoon short with fully synchronized sound. Mickey eventually became the face of The Walt Disney Company, and continues to be used in various projects for the company.

Fred Moore, one of the key animators on Mickey, described the character in a 1930s analysis sheet for studio artists:

โ€œMickey seems to be the average young boy of no particular age; living in a small town, clean living, fun loving, bashful around girls, polite, and as clever as he must be for the particular story. In some pictures he has a touch of Fred Astaire; in others of Charlie Chaplin, and some of Douglas Fairbanks, but in all of these there should be some of the young boy.[1]โ€

Throughout the years, Mickey โ€” often teamed with his friends Donald Duck and Goofy โ€” has appeared in hundreds of productions in all forms of media, some of which most notably include Fantasia, The Mickey Mouse Club, and Mickey's Christmas Carol. He is also a permanent fixture in the various Disney Parks around the world, and is often reinvented to keep up with an ever-changing entertainment culture.

Jim and Mickey

Jim Henson was a known admirer of the works of Walt Disney[2] and occasionally spoke of Mickey when discussing or even developing his own characters. Caroll Spinney recalled that when he asked Henson how Big Bird should sound, the latter said "maybe like Mickey Mouse's pal Goofy."[3] Designer Kermit Love later compared the bird and the mouse, claiming that "Like Mickey Mouse, he never gives in to violence."[4]

Kermit the Frog, as the most iconic Muppet and the leader and "straight man" of his troupe, has often been likened to Mickey, and Henson himself compared the two, not as personalities, but as similar abstractions. He discussed how Kermit became "a bit rounder, a bit more froglike. As a parallel, Mickey Mouse looks nothing like a mouse, but he fits into that category. I mean, if nobody ever said Mickey Mouse was a mouse, we wouldn't know what he was, would we?"[5] Henson even kept a Mickey figurine on the fireplace mantel in his office.[6]

During the failed Disney sale in 1989, Michael Eisner discussed the company's expected ownership of Kermit by saying "Mickey Mouse has a new sibling, and he's going to have to get used to it."[7]


  • "Kermit's Christmas Diary" from Jim Henson's Muppets Annual 1982 establishes that Mickey and Kermit are also members of another club for fictional characters called POPCORNS: People Other People Consider to be Other than Real Normal Specimens.


  • The 2022 Disney+ special The Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse features a short where Mickey and Minnie perform Spring cleaning on Mickey's apartment. Among the Disney paraphernalia shown throughout the short, a Kermit the Frog doll is prominently seen when Mickey's clutter manifests itself into a large monster.


  • In Episode 0237 of Sesame Street, a kid named Chris comments that Susan is wearing a Mickey Mouse watch as they are playing a picture game.
  • One of the kids in scene 9 from Sesame Street Episode 0265 is wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt. Another child in Episode 0727 is seen in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt as well.
  • A 1975 Sesame Street cartoon (First: Episode 0798) animated by Bruce Cayard features a man imagining several characters his companion may have met today, one of which is a caricature of Mickey Mouse. A 1979 cartoon by Cayard depicts a Mickey Mouse-esque character on a glass.
  • A Sesame Street cartoon, "The Noble Ostrich," features a fleeting cameo by a mouse drawn to resemble Mickey, complete with black and white face, red pants, and yellow shoes.
  • In Episode 1044 of Sesame Street, Big Bird guesses that an exciting item Mr. Hooper reads in the newspaper is about Mickey Mouse.
  • Hosting The Tonight Show in 1979, Kermit the Frog jokes about visiting Disneyland in his monologue: "[It] was a real ego trip for me. Mickey Mouse was wearing a Kermit the Frog wristwatch."
  • The Summer 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine collects a number of letters sent from the Muppets to Kermit while on summer vacation. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew spends five days at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World, and reports on what he assumes to be headsets for receiving and sending radio transmissions. His notes include a sketch of the contraption, which turn out to be a Mickey Mouse ears hat.
  • The Summer 1990 issue of WD Eye, the employee magazine for Walt Disney Imagineering, featured a section with a series of tributes to Jim Henson shortly after his death. One such tribute depicts Mickey Mouse consoling Kermit the Frog on the loss of his creator. The art was credited to Joe Lanzisero and Tim Kirk.
  • In the "Muppet Campaign" sketch produced for Good Morning America in 1992, Miss Piggy and Gonzo field questions from Howard Straighttalk in a mock debate for a Presidential election. Piggy is distressed that she's asked about such difficult topics as unemployment and the national debt while Gonzo got what she describes as a "Mickey Mouse question." Entering from off stage, Kermit butts in to attest that Mickey Mouse is a friend of his, "and I assure you, that question was no Mickey Mouse." This also serves as an additional reference to the famous "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" line often exchanged in variation from the 1988 vice-presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.
  • When Santa Claus decides to retire to Florida in Elmo Saves Christmas, one of his elves has prepared for a visit to Walt Disney World by donning a set of Mickey ears.
  • During the months between Disney's acquisition of The Muppets and the launch of their new version of, the website housed a placeholder featuring Kermit wearing the famous mouse ears hat fashioned after Mickey.
  • When Big Bird learns the name of his counselor (Mickey), in Episode 1706, he comments that he knows a mouse of the same name. Mickey groans, saying he knows him, too.
  • In Episode 1257 of Sesame Street, Telly Monster names TV programs that start with the letter M. Listed among them is Mickey Mouse.
  • In a The Muppets comic strip dated May 8, 1983, a picture of Mickey appears on the wall in Robin's room.
Janice: Yeah, like you canโ€™t spell M-U-S-I-C without โ€œusโ€
Floyd: Yeah, without โ€œusโ€ itโ€™s M-I-C, and those letters belong to the mouse.
Animal: Mickey! Mickey![8]
  • A pair of Mickey's shorts hang on a clothes line near the Happiness Hotel doors at the Muppet*Vision 3D in Walt Disney World.
  • In The Muppets, during some of the exterior shots of The Muppet Theatre front, an image of Mickey can be seen on a storefront's marquee next door to the theater (this is actually Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store).
  • The Walt Disney Company occasionally hides the shape of Mickey Mouse's head in their films and theme parks. These are referred to as "Hidden Mickeys." A Hidden Mickey appears at the end of The Muppets among the fireworks.
  • In Grover's 140 character speech for the Shorty Awards, he includes Mickey Mouse.
  • In a Sesame Street cartoon, a man imagines someone an old woman describes. A Mickey Mouse-esque character flashes in his though bubble among other characters.
  • During the Sesame Street song "Say Cheese," a photograph shows a kid's birthday party with a prominent Mickey Mouse tablecloth.
  • In Episode 2731 of Sesame Street Telly explains to Bob how he's not really "all ears" when he wants to listen to Bob tell a story. (He's also got eyes, a nose, etc.) They are both joined by a monster who is literally all ears, whose round head and ears resemble that of Mickey Mouse's silhouette. His dialogue is also spoken in a high Mickey-esque voice, peppered with Mickey-like laughs.

Rizzo the Rat

Due to their both belonging to the taxonomic order Rodentia, many references have been made to Mickey by way of Rizzo the Rat.

  • Rizzo has appeared dressed as Mickey on several occasions.
  • In the pre-show for Muppet*Vision 3D, Rizzo dresses up in a black tuxedo jacket, red shorts and yellow bow tie and claims to be Mickey Mouse, welcoming tourists to his park.
  • In 2008, the image of Rizzo as Mickey appeared on a Disney pin alongside Mickey to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rat.
  • The Vinylmation line produced a sculpt (2008) as well as a pin (2009) of Rizzo in Mickey gear.
  • During his interview on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Kermit mentions that he brings Rizzo to many of his meetings with Mickey, for translation issues. He also says that he refers to Mickey as "Mick", Donald as "Don", and Pluto as "Plut".
  • Following the premiere of The Muppets, Rizzo tweeted: "Even though #TheMuppets only aired last night, I'm already bein' recognized more! Sure, they recognize me as Mickey Mouse, but it's a start!" [1]
  • During an October 15, 2015 Q&A on Twitter, Rizzo responded to what it's like working for a mouse, "It's okay, but for some reason he refuses to admit we're related." [2]



  • When Kevin Clash was 10 years old, the first puppet he built was a Mickey Mouse puppet.[9]



  1. โ†‘ Thomas, Frank and Ollie Johnston. The Illusion of Life. New York: Hyperion Books, 1981. p. 551
  2. โ†‘ Inches, Alison. Jim Henson's Designs and Doodles. p. 13
  3. โ†‘ Spinney, Caroll. The Wisdom of Big Bird. p. 32
  4. โ†‘ Toronto Star, May 16, 1986.
  5. โ†‘ Commire, Anne and Donna Olendorf. "Jim Henson." Something About the Author. Gale Publishing, 1986. p. 127
  6. โ†‘ St. Pierre, Staphine. The Muppets Big Book of Crafts. p. 65
  7. โ†‘ USA Today, August 29, 1989.
  8. โ†‘ WTDP? Exclusive: Mayhem Returns! Veterans Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem keep on rockinโ€™. November 7, 2011.
  9. โ†‘ Clash appearance on The View, October 24, 2011

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