Before They Were Stars: 6-Year Old Mickey Rooney in “Mickey’s Circus”

The legendary Mickey Rooney passed away today at the age of 93 and given that he made film appearances in literally ten different decades, you’d think it would be hard to track down “Before They Were Stars” footage of him. However, here is some silent footage of Mickey at the age of six when he got his first big break and was cast as the title character in the Mickey McGuire series of short films. Mickey wound up appearing in 78 Mickey McGuire shorts and this clip is from the very first one, Mickey’s Circus, which was made in 1927. It’s also worth noting that Mickey Rooney’s birth name was Joe Yule, Jr., but his name was legally changed to Mickey McGuire when he made these shorts. The reason? So the producer could avoid paying royalties to the writers of a comic strip that the Mickey McGuire character originated from! However, there was still a copyright lawsuit over this, which paved the way to “Mickey McGuire” permanently changing his name to Mickey Rooney.

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