Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vintage Mickey Mouse Pinbacks

My horoscope said that I can expect some changes today, and that I should call a friend who I haven't talked to in a long time, and that travel is in my future, AND that I should do a blog post featuring more vintage Mickey Mouse pinback buttons. Wow, how do those astrologers do it? 

The pin on the left and the one in the middle are from a set featuring various popular comic characters of the day; Popeye, Snuffy Smith, Babe Bunting (who?), Smitty, Felix the Cat, Dan Dunn, and the always lovable Hairbreadth Harry, for example. These are among the most colorful and best-designed pins of the 1930's... the Mickey and Minnie pins are no exceptions. To the right is a pin advertising the Mickey Mouse Club, airing on KVOS-TV in Bellingham, Washington. 

Now for some little guys (all of these are less than an inch in diameter); To the left is one of my favorites, another unusually colorful example. These tin-litho pins can get pretty dinged up, but this one isn't too bad. Next, how about some Mickey Mouse Hose (hoses?), or some MIckey Mouse Undies? You should buy them at Penny's during their big "Back to School" sale.  

At the height of Mickey's popularity, individual theaters produced pinback buttons for kids who belonged to the early versions of the Mickey Mouse Club. In this case, it was the Fox Hollywood Theater. Next is a somewhat generic Mickey pin, though hard to find in this small size. The third pin is an odd one, supposedly associated with the Mickey Mouse Magazine and other Kay Kaymen enterprises. "Spingle-Bell-Chicko" was some sort of cockamamie secret password. And the fourth pin is one that I can find nothing about! J.C. Penny, we already know that you could buy your back to school supplies there. But what the heck was the "Publix-Princess" Mickey Mouse Club?!

Oh yes, there are more vintage Mickey pinbacks to come, if you are interested!


K. Martinez said...

Is that the same Snuffy Smith who sings:

Uh-uh-oh! Great balls o' fire, I'm bodacious!
Uh-uh-oh! Great balls o' fire, I'm a fright!
Uh-uh-oh! Great balls o' fire, goodness gracious!
I'm chop-chop-chop-chop-choppin' with all o' my might-YEA!

Chiana_Chat said...

Do what with who?! O my.

Fox Hollywood Theater might now be the Guinness Book of Records museum; if so, only the facade partially remains.

Pegleg Pete said...

These are great, thanks. That sickly green Mickey in the first batch is a little odd, though. Can't wait to see more!

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, wow, what a blast to the past! I barely remember the Snuffy Smith cartoon, but I vividly remember the melody to that theme song!

Chiana, hmmm, I never thought about that. I actually went to that museum with my niece and nephew two years ago... skip it if you are ever tempted!!

Pegleg Pete, that IS an odd one, which is why I like it.

Thomas Regnier said...

Publix (which later merged with Paramount to become Publix-Paramount) was one of the largest movie theatre chains in the 1920s to the 1930s. It's likely that the pin refers to a theatre named the Princess that was owned by Publix or even just named Publix-Princess Theatre, similar to the Fox Theatre Hollywood.

Major Pepperidge said...

Thomas, thanks for that great info! I've never heard of the Publix chain of theaters before. I was hoping to find the exact theater, but it appears that Publix owned a number of "Princess" theaters. Perhaps they distributed that button at all of them.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez again, I just watched part of a Snuffy Smith cartoon on YouTube (as much as I could stand), it sounds like our old pal Paul Frees does many of the voices, and sings the theme song presumably!

K. Martinez said...

Major, It's amazing how memory files are stored in the human brain only to be recalled many years later. When you mentioned Snuffy Smith that song immediately popped into my head and I hadn't even watched those cartoons or given them a thought in nearly 50 years.

I always enjoy your pinback posts. That KVOS-TV 12 pinback is cool and unusual. Thanks.

K. Martinez said...

Major, Guess I'll have to check it out on YouTube. Like I said, it's been nearly 50 years since I've watched a Snuffy Smith cartoon. I'm sure it won't be the same.

JG said...

I wish I had just one like this. They are fun little objects.


Nancy said...

Minnie should always wear her little flower hat....I miss that.

Pictures of Mickey with a paintbrush always make me think of Walt Disney...

looking forward to seeing more. Thanks for the interesting info on the Publix-Princess theaters :)

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, man, seeing that YouTube video reminded me of just how awful some of those cartoons from the 1960's and 70's were - though I watched plenty of them nevertheless!

JG, you can get some vintage Mickey Mouse pinbacks for $30 or so, now that ebay has shown how common certain varieties are. Of course, I've also seen truly rare versions go for many thousands of dollars.

Nancy, I never thought about it, but you're right, Minnie's flower hat is such a part of her costume.

Nanook said...


Sorry to come so late to the party. Great pins, as per usual.

KVOS was a station licensed in Bellingham, Washington - with much of its audience in Vancouver, B.C. - and was originally affiliated with the DuMont network. As DuMont vanished by 1956, and KVOS became a CBS affiliate, not certain how they aired The Mickey Mouse Club, but who knows.

Caspian said...

I was born in Bellingham, just blocks away from KVOS. Yes, it had/has a large audience in Canada.