Pam’s Pictorama Post: I never understood the importance of Pluto until we got a very nice disk of early Mickey Mouse cartoons issued a few years ago. (In fact I think I had Pluto and Goofy somewhat merged in my mind – what was Goofy all about anyway?) As Kim says, Pluto appears in the series and there is a whole new life to it. Suddenly I became a Pluto fan! Still, that doesn’t mean I meant to go out and start collecting Pluto toys. However, not long after, when I saw this hot Dean’s Rag Company Pluto go on auction (Morphys I think, maybe Hake’s) a few years ago I decided that I would scoop it up if I could get it for the right price – and here we are. Pluto, a lesser Disney character, was a bargain and now mine.
In the second photo I wanted to show his wonderful label on the bottom side – Dean’s Rag Company always does a nice job with that – and you get to see his paw pads and the nice leather collar he wears this way. He is a very well constructed toy and there is something very Pluto about him – the magic of the folks at Deans, in my opinion one of the greatest toy makers ever. Founded in 1903 Dean’s has been in continuous operation ever since, although they make only teddy bears today. Their first product was cloth books, marketed with a hygienic toy label. I scooped the following quote from wanderingbooknut.weebly.com talking about Dean’s:
Pollocks Dictionary of English Dolls, The colours were fast, the produce certified as hygienic. The pages could be washed without damage, and sucked with impunity: perfect, in fact, for children who, in the words of the rag book’s originator, “wear their food and eat their clothes”.
The other Pluto came into my collection in an interesting way. I was watching American Pickers and Frank found one on a pick. As I occasionally do when there’s a really cool toy on their show, I looked it up on eBay and that night there was this nice, if slightly battered, example. Bam! On a whim, he was mine. He does rollover – somewhat laboriously in his case, and I do like to return to my wind-up toy roots occasionally.
Last, but not least, I have included an example of a 1931 Pluto and Mickey cartoon. Enjoy!
Pam’s Pictorama Dog Post: Like mice, I guess if you collect cats, some dogs slip into the collection over time. While this is far from all my dogs (future dog posts to follow – particularly Pluto who I have a soft spot for) it is a little enclave of Bonzo and related pieces.
The Bonzo with the fly on his tummy (my favorite) was purchased at an absolutely delightful toy fair that is held in Atlantic City a few times a year. I have been lucky enough to persuade my long-suffering husband to attend with me several times (roundtrip in a single day on the gambling bus – um, interesting) and this was found there. I couldn’t remember if the bulldog with the fly on his nose was purchased with Bonzo, but Kim reminded me this morning that he was not. He may have been an eBay purchase, but he has a price mark on his bottom which makes me think I found him elsewhere. Bonzo has a mark I cannot read, but it appears European and the other dog is unmarked. Both insects are metal and attached with little wires through a hole for that purpose. Wonderful because it allows them to tremor a bit and the texture difference creates a strange sense of reality.
The other two dog pieces were bought at a flea market (I think with a Donald Duck which I can’t find…) and they are marked from Japan. Not my usual taste but they seemed to need a home with a shelf where they would be appreciated.
The Valentine is a canny reprint with a copyright of 2000. There’s a tab on his head and his eyes go cock-eyed. I found it somewhere and gave it to Kim one year. (Frankly, I had forgotten the origin, but is inscribed on the back.) Having spent years looking for great stuffed cats, I can tell you, there are a lot of great dog toys out there. So far I have resisted them for the most part, but there’s something about Bonzo and his compatriot look-alikes that I will stretch a point for. And Norakuro too, of course – but he looks like a wonderful fat cat.
As a bonus, here is a link to a Bonzo cartoon – duped to the point of almost invisible, but it does give you a sense of his spirit!
Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: The sincerity of the dog in this photo made me love it. He’s guarding the kittens while Mom cat herds them along – looks like a great place to be a pet, perhaps a small farm. A naughty looking spotty fellow getting licked by Mom and, of course, an excellent all black kitty. (Blackie’s forefather?) Dogs seem to cast themselves in this role of ensuring that there’s no monkey business going on – the cop on the beat of the domestic animal world. It is an interesting thing about collecting photos like I do though. There are times when I am struck by the fact that this was just someone’s pets and they were just taking a picture of them. Somehow it was a really appealing photo, and transcended being no more than John Doe’s cats and dog. It has survived, presumably outlasting the photographer, and found its way to stand on its own, to me via eBay to live in my collection for the price of a few dollars before it passes onto the next person. I am pleased to have given it a home – at least for now.