Everyone knows Donald’s three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, and to a lesser extent, girlfriend Daisy’s nieces April, May, and June (first appearance in the Donald comic book story, “Flip Decision” 1953) and many know Minnie’s nieces (although she has an inconsistent list of nieces, but it is definitely known she has two) Millie and Melody.
But many do not know that Mickey has two nephews, Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse. As with other nieces and nephews in the Mouse family, there were different names along the way. In the Disney children’s books (pre-WWII) they were called Morty and Monty. Other early books contain three or more of Mickey’s nephews with other names i.e. Marmaduke and Maisie. Ferdie was sometimes spelled “Ferdy” short for Ferdinand. It is even possible that Morty, which is short for Mortimer, could be a nod to the original name Walt planned for Mickey, Mortimer. The names and number of nephews Mickey have has not been entirely consistent over the years, but it ended up with two nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse.
The twins are the sons of Mickey’s sister Amelia Fieldmouse, who is also Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s half-sister. She appeared in Morty and Ferdie’s comic debut in 1932, the “Mickey’s Nephews” strip. Supposedly a woman appeared at Mickey’s house (Mrs. Fieldmouse) and dropped the twins off and asked if he would not mind caring for them while she ran an errand. In the Dutch comic strips, her name is translated as “Amelia”, the English version she is referred to as “Mrs. Fieldmouse.”
In the Mickey Short “Gulliver Mickey” 1934, Mickey relates the adventure to many of his nieces and nephews, including Monty, Marmaduke and Morrie, Morty and Ferdie. It is strange that Mickey’s nephews never achieved the fame and notoriety of Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, since they predated the trio. They mainly appeared in the comic books and Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse Sunday comic strip, titled “Mickey’s Nephews”. They were also very popular in the European comic strips. Morty and Ferdie were created by Gottfredson, who was asked by Walt to take over the comic strip for a few weeks, but ended up drawing them for 45 years.
The twins had a limited animation career. They first appeared in the 1934 Mickey Mouse short, “Mickey’s Steamroller” they had an extremely brief (And hard to spot!) Cameo in Mickey’s 1938’s “Boat Builders. The next animation appearance did not happened until 1983’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” Morty played the part of Tiny Tim, and Ferdie the other son. (Note: voice actor Dick Billingsly did Morty) The next Cameo was in the two-part Mickey Mouse Works Toon, “Around the World in Eighty Days” in 1999.
In the comic strip, the twins were often seen acting in harmony, almost as one character. In 1943 Floyd decided that the premise was overblown and decided to send Ferdie away. It was planned to bring back Ferdie as a bookworm nerdish character with glasses, but it never developed and Ferdie did not appear for decades. He never did disappear from the comic book stories. The character however was returned in the comic strips by other writers.
In current comic books, Morty and Ferdie are portrayed as football players for the Riverside Rovers. They also occasionally clash with Minnie Mouse’ niece Melody, and Peg Leg Pete’s (Disney’s OLDEST continuing character) two nephews, Pieretto and Pierino. You can see Morty and Ferdie in the 2010 game “Epic Mickey” (Mickeyjunk Mountain). Morty is a playable character on the Disney Golf game on Playstation2.