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The Myth about Minnie: Did you know there’s a clever mouse behind Disney’s first teddy bear? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 20 August 2012 09:26

Minnie Mouse—that’s Ms. Mouse to you, if you’re nasty—is the creator of Disney’s first official teddy bear, “Duffy.” There’s more backbone to the seemingly demure mouse than a lot of people realize.
According to the Disney tale, Minnie didn’t want Mickey to be lonely as he set off to sail the world. To fight the blues, the polka-dotted miss constructed a teddy bear for her beau.
Boy, does Minnie know her man .  . . or mouse, in this case! Mickey immediately loves his new memento from Minnie.
“Duffy the Disney Bear” is an ambassador of goodwill and friendship. He charms everyone—including the rascally Donald and the always-obliging Goofy.
It’s one for the ages as Mickey packs “Duffy” away to accompany him on his seafaring excursions.
This teddy bear looks sharp and crisp, indeed, in his nautical whites.
Cute as a button, with a face and an expression to melt even the stoutest heart, “Duffy the Disney Bear” is adorable and collectible!
Minnie Mouse—that’s Ms. Mouse to you, if you’re nasty—is the creator of Disney’s first official teddy bear, “Duffy.” There’s more backbone to the seemingly demure mouse than a lot of people realize.
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I know that a lot of women have enjoyed taking the late Helen Gurley Brown’s “Cosmo Quizzes” over the decades—and I admit I’ve answered some of those True or False/Multiple Choice outings with less than total honesty. I’ve circled “B” when I definitely was an “A,” or said “true” when it was undoubtedly the very opposite. However, I’ve never cheated when it comes to a Disney pop quiz or character survey.
Lately I’ve been watching a whole bunch of Disney DVDs with my children, who have seen the movies in the past but don’t fully remember every detail or plot point. During a lot of evenings when we were watching “Aladdin” or “Finding Nemo” together this summer, they were reacting boisterously and joyfully—as though seeing it for the very first time. That made me happy to see that such classic wholesome tales have held up during my children’s transitions from 4-year-olds to 8-year-olds.
At the end of these videos, there are always games for the kids to play with the DVD remote control. Questions or mazes or icons pop up on the screen, and the children are encouraged to answer the Disney-centric queries.
That’s why I mention Cosmo and its notorious quizzes—because just as that bold and daring woman’s magazine could peg you as a “girl he’ll want to marry” versus “a gal he’ll just have fun with”—and I don’t mean the amusement park kind—the Disney videos will occasionally help you to uncover who is your inner princess.
In other words, what animated heroine is beating inside your heart? Now, when I first started to answer these questions, I must admit that I wanted to get “Belle” as my answer. I like her looks, her forthright attitude, the fact that she brooked no nonsense from beast or prince or the lumbering Gaston. She was an unapologetic bookworm, but like all intellectuals in chick flicks, when she undid her ponytail, she was downright gorgeous!
Well, I might have been hoping to be a Belle—or even a Mulan—but I ended up being a Minnie. That’s right—don’t laugh. I was revealed to be the helpmate in the background, wearing an oversized headbow, polka-dotted dress, and a clunky pair of perennially colorful kitten heels.
“Oh, no,” I first thought, “how could I be a mouse? And especially such a mousey mouse!”
But then it dawned on me . . . if it wasn’t for Minnie, there wouldn’t be a Disney Bear. That’s right—it’s because of the determined, caring, and sunny-dispositioned Minnie that collectors everywhere have “Duffy the Disney Bear.” In the world of animated accomplishments, Minnie Mouse is the Margarete Steiff of cartoon creations.
According to his official biography, “Duffy” came to be because Minnie worried about Mickey who was prepping to set sail. She didn’t want him to be lonely (or to forget her, I suspect, because even a mouse can be an unfaithful dog every so often) so she created a teddy bear for him to hug and to hold.
That’s so sweet and so proactive . . . it’s so thoughtful and so enterprising . . . and I can only hope it’s so ME!
Today, “Duffy the Disney Bear” is collected by men, women, and children alike, and is often picked up at Disney World where he travels from theme park to theme park with his new owners. Folks post photos of him on their Facebook accounts where the nautical bear is clad in his original sailor suit or in costumes that can be bought for him.
The collectible bear comes in several sizes—and in several price ranges—and can be attired to match holiday themes and ethnic backgrounds. And because of his connection to different cultures and nationalities—after all, he was meant to accompany Mickey on his round-the-world voyages—a live mascot version of the bear can be found at Epcot Center, hosting meet-and-greets.
With all that being said, Minnie Mouse—a high-pitched, giggling girly-girl—is anything but. She’s a rodent who took romantic matters into her own two capable, enormously gloved hands and stitched a bear with love and attention. That, my friends, is a woman after my own heart!