Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

Synopsis of Toy

Who’s the leader of the club that kick-started character merchandising and turned Disneyana into a multi-billion-dollar industry? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

It’s good to be the mouse. Star of cartoons, comic strips and comic books, idol of the silver screen, one of the most-recognized faces (and set of ears) on the planet… Mickey Mouse conquered the toy world just as quickly and surely as he did every other medium, turning everything he touched into a treasured plaything and an instant collector’s item.

After his 1928 appearance in the first-ever sound cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” Mickey Mouse went on to become one of the biggest stars in the movies. Created by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks, Mickey had a face every kid could love, and love him they did. Starting in 1930, the kids were able to take a little bit of that love home with them. Charlotte Clark designed the first stuffed Mickey doll that year, and the first Mickey Mouse Book took the round-eared rodent into the publishing world around the same time.

By 1932, Mickey was the star of his own newspaper comic strip, and Walt Disney decided to maximize his star creation’s potential by signing a merchandising arrangement with Herman Kay Kamen. Throughout the decade, Mickey and best girlfriend Minnie appeared on everything from tea sets to sleds to flashlights, banks, sand pails, figurines, night lights, pocket watches, puzzles, games, toothbrush holders, dolls and more. A deal with Lionel Trains led to the famous Mickey and Minnie wind-up handcar in 1934 (along with future favorites like the Lionel Circus Train and 1977’s Mickey Mouse Express), and that same year, Mickey became the first licensed character to appear on a cereal box, gracing the front and back cardboard of Post Toasties.

Mickey’s popularity in the toy world never dimmed in the ensuing decades, as fellow Disney characters joined the mouse on products large and small, simple and ornate. The term “Disneyana” was coined to describe this abundance of licensed merchandise, and the ranks of Disneyana collectors eventually grew so large that conventions were held. Mickey’s line of toys and other products became a huge business, drawing in thousands of Disneyphiles well out of their kid years, many willing to pay top dollar for a lost memento of their childhood or the missing capstone to their collection.

But none of this collectable-collecting frenzy should overshadow the reasons behind it. Kids loved (and still love) that ever-popular mouse, and though his look and design may continue to evolve, there’s no mistaking that smile, that high-pitched laugh, and most of all, those famous ears.

Release History of Toy

1930 - first Mickey Mouse stuffed doll
1930 - first Mickey Mouse Book
1934 - Mickey and Minnie wind-up Lionel handcar

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