Sunday, July 3, 2011

51. O.T.D. - 7/3/1910 - Minnie Mouse & Nana are Born

Ok, so many of you probably have two very valid questions right now.  First, how do I know when Minnie Mouse was actually "born" and second, who am I referring to as Nana? Those of you who are Disney history buffs know that Minnie Mouse made her debut with Mickey in Steamboat Willie back in 1928.  Some of you may also know that Walt Disney himself provided the voice of Minnie in his first several animated shorts. However, starting in 1929, Minnie's voice was provided by a voice actor named Marcellite Garner, who was born on July 3rd, 1910.  Also born on that date was my grandmother, Amelia Pichulo, who is affectionately known as Nana.

Although there have been several actors to voice Minnie Mouse, Marcellite Garner would be the most prominent. Not only was she the first female to play the role, but she performed the part in 52 of the 73 cartoons that Minnie starred in. Marcellite was born in Redlands, California and began her career in Disney's ink and paint department. Walt Disney obviously realized that her talent could be better utilized as a voice actress, and he chose her to replace himself as Mickey's significant other. It proved to be a good decision as Marellite played the part of Minnie for over a decade. Even though she voiced such a prominent character in Disney history, there is very little information available about Marcellite Garner. I could not even find a picture of her online. She passed away in 1993 at the age of 83.

Nana on the phone with Italy.
When Disney fans hear the name Nana, they typically think of the dog in the classic film, Peter Pan. When I hear the name Nana, I think of my wonderful grandmother who turned 101 today. Although she lives in a nursing home, she is still in very good health. Other than some vision difficulty, she is in better health, both physically and mentally, than many people who are thirty years younger! She is able to attend family functions and we had a great birthday bash for her today. Surrounded by her family, which includes five adoring great grandchildren, she reminisced about the past and talked about how thankful she was to be around in 2011. She also took a birthday phone call from relatives in Italy and comfortably spoke to them in Italian! To say the least, Nana is quite an inspiration to everyone who has been lucky enough to know her.

Me, Nana, and her great grandson.
Other than sharing a birthday with Minnie Mouse, Nana has unknowingly contributed to this article in another way. In writing a blog that highlights modern technology, it fascinates me to think of all of the new technology that someone who is 101 years old has experienced. Nana has seen everything from the invention of radio and television to the beginnings of airline and even space travel.  She lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the entire career of Walt Disney.  In the "old days" she didn't even have a telephone in her home and today every adult at her party was carrying a smartphone. As a matter of fact, Nana asked me a question about someone living in her nursing home who's husband had played professional baseball. In less than a minute, I pulled up his biography on my iPhone and printed it wirelessly on my parents' printer. How is that for modern technology? I'm not sure that Nana could have ever imagined the world we live in today, but she is happy to share her memories on how "it used to be," and just as happy to experience life in 2011. Happy birthday Nana......I love you!

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward.  See ya real soon!


  1. Marcellite was my grandfather's first cousin. It has been difficult to find much information about her online, so I enjoyed stumbling upon your post.

  2. That is so cool! Thank you for visiting my site!