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This Morbid Piece of Mickey Mouse Memorabilia is Now Worth Thousands

Mickey Mouse gas mask
Credit: Disney

In late 1939, the world was on the verge of the Second World War, but Walt Disney was on top of the world. He had just released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), and he was working on Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940). But all that came to a screeching halt on December 7, 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Like every American, Walt Disney focused his full attention on the war effort, doing what he did best: making movies. The Walt Disney Animation Studio went to work for the US Government, producing 20 war-related animated short films. Disney also produced another 68 hours of educational war films for the United States.

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

Walt Disney shows off the Mickey Mouse gas mask. Credit: Washington Post

Before, during, and after the War, the Walt Disney Company made significant profits from licensing Mickey Mouse for various products. Mickey Mouse was on everything from lunch boxes to lampshades, stuffed animals to garden gnomes. There are currently more than 1,000,000 Mickey Mouse-related items selling on eBay.

But there is one piece of Mickey Mouse memorabilia that is both morbid and difficult to find. There is a World War 2 Mickey Mouse gas mask that Walt Disney had a hand in designing. Like most things with Mickey on it, this gas mask sells for thousands of dollars if you can find one. It is both scarce and a chilling reminder of the War’s effect on everyone, including children.

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

Credit: Walt Disney Family Museum

One mother, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Walt Disney, was in Washington DC to meet with Col. George JB Fisher, Chief of the Civil Defense Division. America was less than 30 days removed from a surprise attack, and the military was fully expecting another attack on US soil. The goal of the Civil Defense Division was to ensure that every American had a gas mask should an attack occur.

This is where Walt Disney would come in. Walt designed the outside of the mask to look like Mickey Mouse. The thinking was that if children saw Mickey during an attack, it would calm them down. The mask was produced by the Sun Rubber Company, which had, before the War, made children’s toys.

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

Credit: David Bossert.Com.

There were 1,000 of the Mickey Mouse masks produced and mostly given to members of Congress so they would allocate funds for a large production run of the masks. Supposedly, even President Franklin Roosevelt received one. But Congress never approved funding, and the masks were never needed in America.

Walt also designed masks with the faces of Pluto and the Three Little Pigs. They are quite possibly the scariest thing you will ever see, and thankfully never went into production.

But the Mickey Mouse gas mask was only distributed to certain VIPs and is now incredibly rare. So, if you happen to come across one while cleaning out your grandparents’ attack, hold onto it. That mask is worth thousands to the right collector. Happy hunting Mickey Mouse fans.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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