Thursday, February 28, 2008

American Dental Association

The April 1936 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association featured an article titled "Mouth Hygiene in Kern County, California." Not the most endearing of topics to be sure, but a quick scan of the magazine's pages reveals an interesting Disney connection.

Kern County is located in central California, taking in the southern part of the San Joaquin Valley, Sierra Nevada Mountains and Mojave Desert. In the mid-30s the Kern County Board of Supervisors employed one dental hygienis
t to spread the word amongst youngsters the value of brushing their teeth.

As part of the promotion children were examined and if they passed inspection, they were awarded either a Mickey or Minnie Mouse "Good Teeth" pin.

Classes scoring 100% "good teeth" by the end of the school year were also awarded a hand-tinted picture of Mickey Mouse and the Three Little Pigs. In 25 years of collecting I have never seen an example of this particular certificate.

There was also a Kern County dental Roll Call of Honor that was hung in classrooms. While that item also had Disney character graphics, the illustrations were not done by a Disney Studio artist.

There were at least two other Disney / American Dental Association campaigns: one featured Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the Big Bad Wolf, while the other featured characters from Pinocchio.

Here are examples of premiums associated with the second campaign: A reminder card and close-up detail of the back flap of the mailing envelope, a certificate of merit and a pinback button. All three items feature outstanding graphics. It's interesting to see the Wolf once again resurrected as the villain.

One item I have never seen and have never been able to confirm the existence of, is the "Mickey Mouse Merit Medal," an illustration of which can be seen behind the Wolf in the background of the certificate.

Enjoy the images and keep those pearly whites clean and shiny - if you're lucky maybe your dentist will give you a pin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

United Artists merchandise catalog

This fantastic 48-page publication was produced in 1932 and is widely considered to be the very first, pre-Kay Kamen, Walt Disney character merchandise catalog.

The booklet's pages are strewn with ads for many of Disney's earliest licensees including George Borgfeldt, Hall Bros., and David McKay.

There are also great full page ads featuring Mickey Mouse Club items produced by Fisch and Company, as well as display items made by Old King Cole.

Just a beautiful, fantastic, rare item.

Photo courtesy Hake's Americana.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Plow Boy - animation drawing

From the collection of Dennis Books, an animation drawing from the Mickey Mouse short The Plow Boy, which was released on June 28, 1929. The film's plot features Mickey flirting with Minnie in a farmyard setting. The short is notable for two reasons - Horace makes his screen debut and Minnie Mouse sings for the first time.

Between 1929 and 1942 Horace appeared in 31 Mickey Mouse short cartoons. As time progressed Horace appeared with less frequency, until he eventually faded into obscurity.

The drawing in this post was purchased from the Les Clark estate, however it's not known at this time if Clark actually drew this piece, or if it was perhaps done by Jack Cutting.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Les Clark Merchandise Art

Several weeks ago I presented a proposal to my good friend Dennis Books about joining this blog as a contributor. I am happy to report that Dennis has agreed to create posts and allow me to feature items from his outstanding collection of 1930s and 1940s Disneyana.

Dennis owns one of the best all-around collections of vintage Disney art and memorabilia. At last count close to 800 pieces of original art resided in his collection - everything from merchandise and publicity art, to all manner of cartoon art including original concepts, storyboards, model sheets, drawings, cels and backgrounds. The art spans the earliest Mickey Mouse shorts and continues through the early features including Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Fantasia and Dumbo.

Dennis also owns a fantastic array of 1930s Disney character merchandise: from books to celluloid toys, dolls, bisques, assorted ephemera and even letters penned by Walt Disney, Kay Kamen and Hal Horne.

From the collection of Dennis Books, the Mickey Mouse merchandise art featured in this post was created by legendary Disney artist Les Clark, who started at the Studio in February 1927. Clark went on to spend an amazing 48 years working for Walt Disney.

Clark was one of Walt Disney's so-called "Nine Old Men," a group of key staffers responsible for animating many of Disney's golden-age films. Clark began his career working first in the Camera Department, then Ink and Paint before helping as an in-betweener on
Steamboat Willie. His debut as an animator was on the Silly Symphony, The Skeleton Dance. Over the course of his career, Clark worked on almost 20 feature films and more than 100 short cartoons.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day - part 1

The look says it all - I think we can all agree that Mickey is smitten!

Hank Porter created this cover illustration for the February 2, 1950 issue of
Western Family magazine. Porter created several dozen Disney covers for this publication beginning in the mid-1940s.

Happy Valentine's Day - part 2

Hank Porter created this image for the February 1948 issue of Rexall Magazine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mickey Mouse - Starts Here Monday

Newspaper advertisement announcing that the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip would be appearing in this particular newspaper in short order. Click on the image to see the enlarged version with more detail.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mickey Mouse rug

While viewing literally hundreds and hundreds of Disney-related newspaper clippings and stories this morning, I came across this great advertisement for Disney rugs.

Click on this
link to see the rug featured in the ad that I posted previously on the blog. This ad dates from December 1935. Click on the image to see more detail.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Princess Elizabeth Gift Book

This hardcover book was published circa 1936 in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton. Proceeds went to fund construction of a new children's hospital. The book is composed of short stories and several full-color, full-page illustrations.

Of note to Disney fans are three images.

This first is titled "Mickey Mouse and His Retinue Arriving at the Party." The illustration covers two pages and shows Mickey, Minnie, Horace, Clarabelle, Donald and Pluto walking down a carpet to the cheers of an adoring crowd. The background detail is amazing.

The second illustration is titled, "The End of the Party: Mickey Mouse Takes A Photograph."

The relatively unknown Peter Pig makes an appearance in the second color plate. Peter made his debut in the short cartoon The Wise Little Hen. He made further appearances in The Band Concert and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The voice of Peter Pig was none other than Clarence "Ducky" Nash.

A third Disney image can also be found in the book. Scattered amongst the black and white portraits of young, royal children is the following image, labeled "Baby Mickey Mouse."

The two color plates are marked, "By Permission Walt Disney-Mickey Mouse Ltd."

Walt Disney portrait

Didier Ghez, who runs the Disney History blog, posted a note recently from his friend Mark Sonntag regarding the University of Missouri's online photo archive. Sonntag said there were several photos of Walt Disney in the Baron Missakian collection.

Being the inquisitive type I had to visit the University's site to see what they had. Of the images posted, this was my favorite. Despite owning a very large library of Disney related books, I have never seen this picture of Walt Disney before.

UPDATE - February 15, 2008

I totally forgot that this photo of Walt was featured on the cover of the book Walt Disney's Missouri. I don't have a copy of the book yet but plan on buying one.

Two of this blog's readers pointed out my mistake. Mark Sonntag's comments can be found in the comments portion of this post while Ross Anderson emailed the following message:

"You mentioned in the blog that you had not seen the photo of young Walt before. It is on the cover of "Walt Disney's Missouri", by Brian Burnes, Robert Butler, and Dan Viets. These are the principals behind Thank You, Walt Disney, the foundation that is refurbishing the McConahy Building in Kansas City, where Laugh-O-Grams started. The photo is replicated as the frontispiece and identifies it as having been taken by Baron Missakian, husband of Laugh-O-Grams bookkeeper (Nadine Missakian) in 1922. The book is an excellent resource for Walt's life in Missouri. It was published by Kansas City Star Books in 2002."