Tag Archives: laf
Apocalypse Mickey Redux

Apocalypse Mickey Redux

I was talking to a friend at work the other day; he’d just been to Metreon “theatre” and made some terribly clever reference to the orgiastic confection of cinema fauxstalgia plaster and noise-making machines. Something akin to “movie hell”.

It reminded me of something similarly clever my wife said, years ago, at the same location, in something of the same spirit. It was one of those claw crane games, and the vitrine was filled with many of the same thing: a pile of stuffed Mickey Mouses, but instead of the familiar flesh/black/red pants, they were entirely red and white. A whole pile of them. My wife’s acerbic observation: “apocalypse Mickey”.

Of course I’d snapped a picture at that moment, and wanted to share. I knew I’d used the picture for a test post here, and was navigating in vain when I remembered this WordPress theme’s dastardly effective SEO. So I googled “apocalypse Mickey”, expecting to be the first result (given the uniqueness of the phrase and the aforementioned SEO), but it was actually second, and I was terribly curious what else might actually warrant the moniker.

Wow. Apparently one of the many novel artifacts of WWII were these Mickey Mouse gas masks.

On January 7th, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor, T.W. Smith, Jr., the owner of the Sun Rubber Company, and his designer, Dietrich Rempel, with Walt Disney’s approval introduced a protective mask for children. This design of the Mickey Mouse Gas Mask for children was presented to Major General William N. Porter, Chief of the ChemicalWarfare Service. After approval of the CWS, Sun Rubber Products Company produced sample masks for review. Other comic book character designs were to follow, depending on the success of the Mickey Mouse mask.

The mask was designed so children would carry it and wear it as part of a game. This would reduce the fear associated with wearing a gas mask and hopefully, improve their wear time and, hence, survivability.

I have a fond imagining of T.W. Smith, Jr. pitching this to a panel of stern-countenanced brass at the War Department, Smith at the other side of the room in a rumpled khaki suit: “you know–for kids!”

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Apocalypse Mickey

By way of <testing, testing, “Is this thing on?”>…

(Tagline courtesy my wife)

Read full story Comments { 1 }