Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paul Castle - Mickey Mouse

My Friend Paul,
The other day I heard Paul passed away,

You may have meet him if you visited Disneyland,
between 1961 and 1986...

Paul was Mickey Mouse!

I first meet him in 1964 in town square.
[I'm the one in the Duck hat]
and in the late 70s,
I got to know him when I joined the Character Dept.

I showed him this picture of us around that time

and he just laughed and said
"Well YOU grew up... look at me"
"Hee Hee, Hee Hee Hee"
I'd like to tell you a little about Paul's career at Disneyland...

Before becoming Mickey,
Paul, along with his wife Alma,

were Professional Ice Skater
s, Paul a Headliner, with Ice Capades!...
[but I'll tell you more about that in my next post]

Paul was personally picked by Walt Disney himself

to fill the role of Mickey!
Walt knew of Paul's Costume work through the Ice Shows...
and in 1961, Disneyland was designing
a new float for the parade
that was a huge Drum!
Walt wanted a smaller performer to make the drum look Bigger!!

and Paul was cast in a role that would be a dream!
At 4'6" Paul was the perfect choice!
Alma also got in on the act...
When Paul was traveling with Walt,
Alma would fill in for him at the park...

and she also spent 4 years as Pinocchio!

Here's a shot of them, in 1965,
for Disneyland's 10th Anniversary
Televised Special

Paul had a lot of incredible moments as Mickey...
among them:

Flying in Walt's personal Jet
attend the Worlds Fair with Walt,
When Walt was the Grand Marshall of the1966 Rose Parade,
Paul rode in the back seat with him...

Opening Anaheim Stadium with Walt...
just to name a few...

and yep,
It's Paul in the last Picture of Walt and Mickey...
Christmas 1976, Disneyland did a Television special
Art Carney, Sandy Duncan and Glen Campbell,
but the real thrill for Paul was
, for the special,
they "Iced Over" Main St.
and asked Paul to skate as Mickey!
[This was when Disney had arena shows"Disney On Parade"
but before "Disney On Ice"]

I remember watching Mickey skate down Main St.,
on my TV,
and thinking "How Cool!!!"
I don't have a picture of Mickey skating
but here's a picture of the Penguins and Snow People skating...
an article on the TV show and SNOW...
In 1980 Mickey got a Star on "Hollywood's Walk of Fame"
and Paul was there!
[That was the first Star given to an Animated character]

I can't begin to imagine how many times Paul lead

the Disneyland Band down Main Street...
a lot of times at the end of the day,
the guys in the band were off work after the
so they would go to Mickey and say
"Let's make this a quick one"...

and you'd be surprised how fast Mickey
could skip with those short little legs!!!

Here's Mickey from the Dumbo Circus Parade 1979
It was this summer that we realized we had the same birthday!

Here's a shot of my friend in the 80's
I loved working with Paul,
he just liked to be with the kids,
but when I would come over to Mickey,

He'd give me a playful punch in the arm and shake my hand...

and I would be standing there,
Taking pictures,
with the "Real"
Mickey Mouse!
Good bye my friend...
and for those of you who remember...
"Where's your Mommy?"


Joe said...

Nice post!

Barry said...

A Blog made by Paul's Daughter has been started here:

lurvjessica said...

What a beautiful post! Thank You for sharing!

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Christopher Coupland said...

Paul used to skate with my Grandmother Helen in the icecapades. They were great friends. So much so that she asked him to be my father's (Richard Bruce Coupland) godfather of which he proudly accepted. I am just a couple days away from my 42nd birthday and my father will be 66 on March 3rd, and I can vividly remember meeting Paul when I was a boy. Visiting my Grandparents in California and always going to Disneyland. Paul would always bring us in the employee gates and I can honestly say as many times as I've been to Disneyland I've never been charged a dime :) I once read that Paul is the "unofficial" most photographed man in the world. That makes sense when u think of just how many people had their pictures taken with him as Mickey. I actually never even called Paul by his name, I always referred to him as Mickey, as did most everyone else I knew. For such a short man he was a giant in the world. I can still hear his voice. My father loves to brag that Mickey Mouse is his godfather. People get a kick outta that and then when he explains how that's actually a true statement you can see that look of wonder on their faces. I know it was actually Paul who made the rule that Mickey doesn't speak in the park and that even Mr. Walt Disney himself would tell people if they had questions concerning Mickey in the park to "go ask Paul". He is Mickey #1. Thanks so much for this post, and Paul ...(Mickey)...Thanks so much for everything. You are missed.

Christopher Leonard Joseph Coupland

P.S. My new email is if anyone wishes to contact me. Thanks C.