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Max Pixel/Public Domain

Max Pixel/Public Domain

ABC, which is owned by Disney, threw a prime-time party last night to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday. The two-hour special was titled “Mickey’s 90th Spectacular.”

The tribute to the iconic character stole the hearts of many who watched it. A long list of celebrities, including Meghan Trainor and Tori Kelly, appeared on Mickey’s birthday show. Kelly took on covering “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, while Mickey and Minnie danced on stage.

“The amazing thing is that a character introduced 90 years ago still is so omnipresent in our lives,” film historian Leonard Maltin said during a telephone interview to Cleveland.com. “Not just omnipresent, but instantly recognizable by all ages. His image is inescapable, from toys and clothing to his use as the very symbol of the Disney company. He’s everywhere. The word icon gets tossed around a lot, but he’s a true icon.”

Mickey first appeared during a short film, Steamboat Willie, in 1928. Mickey was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character who Walt lost the rights to, which forced him to start from scratch with Mickey, his girlfriend Minnie, and his dog Pluto.

While the company prepared to celebrate its famous mascot, Mickey’s 90th birthday also marked the start of its last stretch of copyright protection. Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy were worth an estimated US $3.2 billion, according to The Licensing Letter. However in five years, their copyright protections will expire.

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