Why does Mickey Mouse have 4 fingers? Just as with The Simpsons, it’s an unusual number of digits to have. Well if you were ever wondering why he only has four fingers, there are two very simple reasons. One was an artistic reason, and the other was an economic one. Economic I hear you say? How could it possibly be economic? We will explain.
So here’s what I want you to do. Go and get an old video of a Mickey Mouse cartoon and try to watch it on super slow motion. The kind of speed where you can see each individual frame, one at a time. There’s a lot of drawings, isn’t there? Even for a single second of animation there are dozens of pictures, all of which used to be drawn by hand. You’re starting to get the picture now, aren’t you? But it’s only one tiny little finger. Surely that couldn’t cost much to draw.
Think again. For only a short six and a half minute video, which is only long enough to hold the attention span of a toddler, there are about 45,000 drawings. That’s forty five thousand. That’s a lot of drawings. Just not having to draw an additional small finger on each hand that many times would have ended up saving the company millions of dollars over the course of the characters animated life. So what about the second reason?
As we have already said. One reason that Mickey Mouse has 4 fingers was economic, which makes sense, the second was artistic. According to Walt Disney, having a fifth finger would have made his hand look weird. It just simply wouldn’t have looked good. In Walt’s own words:
Five digits are too many for a mouse, it would look like a bunch of bananas.
~Walt Disney on why Mickey Mouse only has 4 fingers