Welcome back to another Disney Stuff.
When you live with a professional graphic artist as long as I have, your life is filled with images. There's always something interesting on the iMac screen or spooling out of the printer (do printers still spool?). Even the rejected designs that end up overflowing from the recycle bin are eye candy for me.
It's a joy to watch my wife's creative process unfold. There's always something different to see and enjoy. Each year around late summer or early fall the Christmas-themed campaigns, Christmas party invites and holiday cards for the various entertainment companies that she designs for can be found around the house.
The holiday cards have always been my favorites. She's always running images and drafts by our daughter and me to get our reactions and impressions. Holiday cards in the entertainment biz are a big deal. They have to be cool. They have to be classic. They have to convey the spirit of the season while still showcasing the heart and soul whatever creative company is sending them. They're not meant for the general public. They're sent to the insiders. It's a special list to be on.
I used to receive them back in my television business days. My favorite card, which I'm desperately searching for in my drawers and files, is from my tenure with Jim Henson Productions. It features a wonderfully simple pencil drawing of Kermit the Frog sitting next to the letter P in the word Peace. Jim himself designed it and it was one of many, many unique cards he designed for the company. I'll find it. There's no way that card has left my possession!
Another creative genius, Walt Disney, used to put his artists in charge of designing the yearly company Christmas card, which brings me to the subject of today's Disney Stuff, the Walt Disney Archives Collection Christmas Cards.
Now, just let me say up front…these are not originals. They are reprints that were a "freebie" from D23. It's one of my favorite things about being a D23 member…the occasional "freebies" or gifts that arrive in that big blue and white cardboard box with Disney twenty-three magazine. I've gotten some very cool stuff from them over the last few years. I've highlighted a few pieces here on MousePlanet before and, luckily, they keep coming. Considering that we're at the height of the holiday season as I write this, I thought I'd take a look at this set of 5 Christmas cards that showed up in my mailbox a while back. To quote from the back of each card;
As the holiday season approached, employees, business partners, and friends of The Walt Disney Company could look forward to the yuletide charm of a beloved Disney tradition-the annual company Christmas card.
This is the oldest card in the set, from 1935. You can see Mickey, and the rest of the Fab Five joined in the snow by Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, The Three Little Pigs and my favorites, Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie.
This card from the following year, 1936, features Micky, Minnie, Pluto and Donald mailing a card to Walt himself.
Showcasing a different style of art than the older cards, the 1956 card depicts Huey, Dewey and Louie watching what every young duck was watching on television in the 50's, The Mickey Mouse Club.
The next card looks like it could have been designed by Disney legend Mary Blair, known for her famous mural in the lobby of the Contemporary Resort. Mary is, of course, even more famous for her design of the classic Disney attraction it's a small world. Mary's famous children of the world can be seen here in the balloon with Mickey.
Two years later, the 1968 card spelled it out quite simply. Walt Disney was all about trying to bring joy to people through his storytelling, his films and his beloved parks. What better word to feature on the face of your Christmas card. This time the children of the world were flanked by a bunch of famous Disney characters and a particular castle that was built in Anaheim.
These treasures are little bits of magic and joy that the Walt Disney Company brought year after year with their annual company Christmas cards. If you've been fortunate enough to receive an original one, consider yourself lucky—and, above all, make sure you hold onto it! These cards are special and can become quite valuable. Mine are just copies and I think they're pretty special.
One day I hope to track me down an original. Until then, I'll enjoy these replicas. They'll have a special place in my holiday decorating from now on. I'll look at them and imagine that I've made it onto Mickey's good list and got my very own Christmas cards from The Walt Disney Company. Maybe someday the mailbox will reveal more than just a replica.
That's not too much to wish for at Christmas…is it?
That's it for Disney Stuff for the year 2012. We've shared some great little bits of Disney treasures over the past year. There's always something new or something old to talk about and I love hearing from all of you.
If you've receoved a Walt Disney Company Christmas Card, or if you have some thoughts about these reproductions, click on the "Discuss this article on MousePad" link below and let me hear your thoughts.
Have a wonderful holiday season, a very Happy New Year and I'll see you in 2013 with more of that great Disney Stuff.
(Send an email to Chris Barry)
Chris Barry lives on Long Island in New York with his wife and three kids. He has had a lifelong love of cartoons, comics and animation. Those who know him well say he has truly, "earned his Disney PhD." Chris has been involved with Television Production for 20 years and began his career working with The Muppets at Jim Henson Productions in NYC. Currently teaching TV Production to high school students, Chris has been writing about many different facets of The Walt Disney Company for several years now.