Last Week, Mickey Rooney passed away at the age of 93. Known for his roles in Boys Town, National Velvet, the Andy Hardy series and the now infamous yellowface character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Rooney career shot to the top with one good role: Mickey McGuire. Who is Mickey McGuire?
Well, that story begins with the comic strip called Toonerville Trolley or Toonerville Folks by Fontaine Fox. Running in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1915 to 1955, the strip humorously chronicled a neglected trolley and its conductor as they serviced an upstate new york community.
Fox’s cartoon proved so popular with the public that in 1927, a film series was adapted centering on one character from the cast: Mickey McGuire.
The studio cast a young actor and son of vaudeville comedians, Joe Yule Jr. The decision to proved successful, as the series rivaled the series Our Gang (known today as “the Little Rascals”) for 10 years. The series itself helped launch Joe Yule to celebrity status.
When the young Yule left the series at it’s end to pursue his growing career, Fontaine Fox’s copyright restrictions prevented him from using his role’s name, so Yule took another option—changing his name to Mickey Rooney. And the rest was history…….
So yeah: If it wasn’t for a comic strip, Mickey wouldn’t have his career.