For those of you that are old enough to remember, the Mickey Mouse Club TV show published a magazine along with the show that lasted 23 issues before it was cancelled. My brother Adam and I recently went to an auction in Phoenix, Arizona and purchased what I believe to be the Mock-Up of the very first issue of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club Magazine. I’m no expert, but here is what I’ve been able to find out from my research on the Mock-Up and my history with it. I’ve added pictures to help you decide for yourself if it is an important historical item.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club Magazine was initiated in late 1955 by Western Publishing (New York) and was produced with the help of Disney staffers. It’s unclear to me if this Mock-Up is from Western Publishing themselves or one of the Disney staffers, but the latter seems more possible as I have a stack of Christmas Cards that the Disney Company only sent to employees that came along with the magazines.
I purchased the Mock-Up along with all 23 issues of the Magazine and a few other Disneyana items at an auction this last
spring and when I looked through the lot of magazines I realized that one was different. The Magazines, along with the Mock-Up appeared to have been archived originally in some way as they have been hole punched to fit in a binder of some sort. All the magazines have matching holes, as if they were put together for storage.
The Mock-Up has light pencil marks throughout where someone wanted to highlight some changes for the final printing and on the cover at the top it has writing in pencil that says, “1st Issue Mock-Up”.
The Mock-Up was also unusual to me in that all the pages are printed one-sided and then glued together to show what the final may look like. The Mock-Up is in all black and white and on several pages, you can see where the text and pictures were made up of several smaller pieces as they show the edges of the paper. These are all indications to me that the Mock-Up was done in the 50’s as it matches the technology we had back then. No desktop publishing or computers were used to piece the first issue together.
I have added several comparison pictures with the Mock-Up and the finished first issue for your review. I hope this is helpful. If this truly is the Mock-Up for the first issue of the Magazine as it appears to be, it represents a singular historical document that should be placed in a museum or archive that can be preserved for future generations. It’s interesting not only for the fact that it’s the Mock-Up of the very first issue but also because it represents the techniques in magazine printing and publishing in the 1950’s.
We’ve tried to get it authenticated by contacting the Disney Archive and on Antiques Roadshow, but it’s such a unique document that it would really have to be looked at by someone involved in the original printing of the magazine or by an expert that is very familiar in how the original magazines were published, so we may never find out. Regardless, it is a fascinating piece of history and we will keep good care of it in our own files until a museum or Hollywood Archive of some sort shows an interest in it. For now, I thought it would be a fun story to share with our readers.