MICKEY MOUSE, Walt Disney's most famous character, made his screen debut on November 18, 1928, as star of the first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. Since his debut, Mickey Mouse has become an international personality whose success laid the financial foundation upon which Walt Disney built his creative organization. Besides being the personification of everything Disney, Mickey Mouse has become one of the most universal symbols of the Twentieth Century. Mickey Mouse was born in Walt Disney's imagination early in 1928 on a train ride from New York to Los Angeles. Walt was returning with his wife from a business meeting at which his cartoon creation, Oswald the Rabbit, had been wrestled from him by his financial backers. Only 26 at the time and with an active cartoon studio in Hollywood, Walt 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. "