Sunday, March 6, 2022

March Miscellany: Mickey Mouse Modeling Dough Kit - 1972

Well, for the last month or so, I have been distracted by doing some genealogical research, instead of working on blog posts.  I have a bunch of half-finished posts, but nothing that is all set to go.  So, I thought I would do something different for the month of March.  I'm going to post multiple times throughout the month, just like I used to do many years ago.  The posts will be shorter than usual, and will be about miscellaneous items or subjects.  Here we go with the first post of the month!

This Disney modeling dough kit was a present, given to me for my 8th birthday.  Most of my childhood presents were a surprise to me, but I remember actually picking this one out.  It was purchased at "Gemco," which was similar to a Target or Walmart store.

I'm guessing that they felt the need to slap "Walt Disney World" on every side of the box, since the park was only a year old at the time. 


One side of the box lists it's contents.  For years, I still had the brightly colored plastic containers that the modeling dough came in, and even the wooden "sculpting stylus."  However, those eventually got tossed out.

 The instructions:

Fortunately, I saved the actual molds!  The front of the box stated that the kit included a mold of Mickey Mouse, and three of the following characters;  Donald Duck, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Pluto, Goofy, and Cinderella.  My kit included the latter three.

I also saved the plastic work mat, which was included with the set:

The following year, I received another set of character molds.....this Disney "Shaker Maker" set, which I posted previously in my Sears Christmas Catalog & Toy post, from two years ago.

Please check back throughout the month of March, for more miscellany!

 **** Post Update! (3-10-22) ****

Meet The World commenter, "Melissa," has reminded me of some items I made years ago, in a high school ceramics class.  I have photographed them, and I'm including them here in this post update.

These flat "Mickeys" were made using a cookie cutter, which I had purchased at Disneyland.  They were supposed to be Christmas ornaments, but they ended up being too heavy to hang on a tree.  I'm not sure why the one on the left was not finished.  It looks like I had painted it, but then wiped the paint off.  The one on the right has "yellowed," over time.  I remember that any ceramic items we were painting, rather than "glazing," the teacher had us finish up with a clear coat of some kind of varnish or shellac.  It's that coating that has turned yellow with age.

This three dimensional "Mickey" head was also made in my high school ceramics class.  It had been stored away, out of sight, for many years.  I came across it a few years ago and decided to put it out on my porch.  I knew that the elements would probably take their toll on it, but I felt that was better than just continuing to keep it hidden away.  I was right, the sun and dampness have not been kind to it, but I suppose I could always repaint it.


Melissa said...

Oh, wow! Wowee-wow-wow! I would have loved this sort of present as a kid! The artwork on the box is just great; bright and engaging, with a fun color palette. A couple of the Mickey faces look the teeniest bit off-model to me, but maybe that's just because I'm less used to seeing his face head-on like that. The swimwear designs on the work mat are pretty cute, too.

If you ever get a few free minutes with nothing else to do, I'd love to see how one of the molds comes out. You'd have to use a different medium than the original dough, of course, but I'm sure lots of other things would work.

I'm reminded of the slip casting unit we did in my Grade 7 art class; the mold I chose was an obvious Mickey Mouse knockoff of dubious artistic value, but I was excited about it. Unfortunately, some other kid poked his face in while they were in the drying process after coming out of the molds. There was no time to start over, so I had to just finish the faceless figure. I think the teacher gave me a good grade out of pity, LOL!

Thanks for sharing this great memory.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I didn't pick up on it, but you are right. A couple of those Mickey faces are just a little "off."

I've wondered if these or the molds from my "Shaker Maker" set, could be used to make chocolate figures. I supposed they could, but the chocolate would probably have to be just the right consistency, for pouring up a mold. This set is over at my mom's house, but if I get a chance, I just might try to use the molds for something.

Your 7th grade art class story is heartbreaking, and reminds me of when I took a ceramics class in the 11th and 12th grades. We had a room where we stored our projects when we weren't working on them. There were times when some a**h*l* punched someone's project with their fist, while it was still soft and malleable. I remember the teacher giving a really angry speech on more than one occasion, about what he would do to someone if he ever caught them doing that.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I forgot to mention that I made a Mickey Mouse head in ceramics class, but without a mold. It's sitting on my porch, right now! I should take a pic of it and post it. I also used a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter (from Disneyland) to cut out a flat Mickey head out of clay. It was sort of like a Christmas ornament, but I think it was too heavy to hang on a tree. I'll have to hunt that down and photograph it!

Melissa said...

I'd love to see a picture of that Mickey head! So cool that you hung on to it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I forgot to photograph it, today! I will make myself a reminder note. In the meantime, I wish I could find the "flat" Mickey Mouse heads that I made in ceramics class.

Susie said...

I wish I had one of these! so cool!

Chuck said...

These are super-cool, TM! Could you maybe use Play-doh to show an approximation of what these look like?

Melissa, I'm sorry to hear about your Grade 7 art project. Some kids are just jerks.

I remember planning to make a ceramic version of the Disneyland Haunted mansion in 7th grade Art. It would have been pretty crude, with all four sides essentially being a bas-relief approximation of the east porch. My teacher talked me out of it because a) she was concerned that I'd have trouble keeping the sides and base square through the firing process and b) I'd already done a Haunted Mansion-themed piece of artwork earlier in the course and she wanted me to explore a different subject.

I ended up making a crocodile-shaped pencil holder, although I don't think I was consciously referencing the Jungle Cruise. Unfortunately, the holes, which were the exact diameter of a standard #2 pencil when I turned it in to be fired, shrank during the drying process and it has never actually held a pencil. My dad still has it on his desk, right next to the basket I made from a kit at Scout camp. Oddly, the basket is now full of pencils.

K. Martinez said...

"We had a room where we stored our projects when we weren't working on them. There were times when some a**h*l* punched someone's project with their fist, while it was still soft and malleable."

There's always some anti-social creep who gets off ruining things for others. Who knows? Maybe that punk's parents punched him in the face with their fists when he was malleable.

Anyway, I love this post. You have amassed so much cool Disney collectibles from the 1970's (my favorite decade).

Hard to believe the Mickey Dough Modeling Dough and Molds set is 50 years old now just like WDW. It looks amazing for its age.

There's even Cinderella's Castle from WDW featured on the box which contains the Shaker Maker Disney Walt Characters Set. Gotta have that cross promotion even way back then.

Thanks, TokyoMagic! Looking forward to more this month.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, Play-doh probably would work. As I recall, the dough that it came with was very similar. As long as you put it back in the sealed container, it would last a very long time and not harden.

Your idea for a ceramic Haunted Mansion sounds cool. We did have a project like that in ceramics class, where we had to make a house or some sort of building or structure. I asked my teacher if I could make a "Matterhorn," instead. He said it was okay, because after all, it was a structure and not a real mountain. I still have that, too, but it's in my mom's garage. I should probably go check on it.

Funny, I made a ceramic alligator, too! That was in 3rd grade. Someone came to our class and gave us tutorials on making alligators and elephants out of clay. Then we had to choose one and make it. I think these were presents to give to our moms for Mother's Day. My alligator still exists, too, but he was never able to hold anything!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, yeah, sometimes I stop and think about kids that acted up like that. There could have been a reason like that for their behavior.

Wow, fifty years. You are right, they are almost as old as WDW. I do remember a lot of cross promoting going on back then, when WDW was new. Back in November of 2020, I posted pages from a 1973 magazine with "How to" instructions on making Disney character cakes. The cakes were strictly just Disney characters, like Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, etc., but they felt the need to title it, "Let's take a trip to Walt Disney World!"

TokyoMagic! said...

Susie, ooops! Sorry, I did not mean to skip over you! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa (and any other interested parties!), I photographed the ceramic "Mickeys" that I made in high school, and I have added the photos to this post!

Andrew said...

Wow, so cool! I especially like your high school art projects. I made a small ceramic Mickey head in 6th grade, but the paint job is horrendously shameful compared to your impeccable artistic skill.

It's completely different, but seeing the molds reminded me of a wax Mold-A-Rama machine. Did they have those on the West Coast? I have a few from Florida and Busch Gardens.

I remember you mentioning your Matterhorn model a few years ago in the post where I shared my 7th-grade EPCOT windchimes. It would be great if you tracked it down and got a picture to share.

Thanks for the post, TokyoMagic! I am looking forward to any other posts that you decide to to put up during March.

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, I don't know about "impeccable," but thank you so much for that compliment! I was always trying to figure out how I could make something Disney-related, in my art classes.

I can see why these molds would make you think of the Mold-A-Rama machines. And now that you've brought it up, I wonder if hot wax could be used on these? I won't attempt it, just in case it was to melt the plastic molds. I remember there being only a few Mold-A-Rama machines here in So. Cal., when I was a kid. There was at least one at Marineland of the Pacific. I think there was at least one machine at the Los Angeles Zoo. And there were two machines at Universal Studios. The Universal machines made either a full figure of Frankenstein, or a Frankenstein bust. I had one of each, but I don't think those survived, because I have not seen them for many years. :-(

I know right where that ceramic Matterhorn is. I just have to go over there and photograph it. I'll try and make an effort to go do that!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Hey, Andrew, I was just at the Volo Museum last week—where those original 1964 NYWF Disney Mold-A-Rama’s are located. I don’t have time now but, over the weekend, I’ll comment more about them. TokyoMagic, I also want to comment about everything on this fun post. I’ll be back...

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! You are very "crafty"! I love your Mickey Mouses, and DEFINITELY want to see your Matterhorn.

There's also sort-of a Jungle Cruise theme in the comments - elephants and alligators. I made (and still have) my ceramic elephant, from around 6th grade. His trunk broke off at some point, but I glued it back on. For some dumb reason, I painted/glazed him brown - so he unintentionally turned out to be a shiny Mastadon.

Melissa, your [sad] story about your faceless-figure Mickey Mouse made me think of my visit last year to Volo Museum (that Andrew linked in the comments above - where they have some of the original 1964 NYWF Disney Mold-A-Rama's on display). I was also at that museum almost two weeks ago, but it was last year when I paid to mold some Disney figures in those 1964 Mold-A-Rama's. That darn Mickey Mouse mold wasn't working right, and my MM ended up with the front of his face missing - the wax wasn't filling up into all of his head. I had problems with Donald Duck, too. One time his head stayed in the mold, leaving me with a body oozing VERY hot wax. After a number of tries, I finally ended up with some good wax figures, and got reimbursed for the "bad" ones.

TM! I hope you post that Matterhorn, soon. Am looking forward to seeing it...and thanks for this fun post!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, thanks! I like the story of your "brown elephant," that turned out to be a Mastodon!

I would have totally paid to get some wax Disney characters from those vintage Mold-A-Rama machines! I'm glad that you kept trying until you got some decent ones, and I'm also glad to hear that you got your money back for the "failed" attempts!

I will try to get my Matterhorn photographed, sometime soon. And I will post here in the comments, once the photos are added to the post.

MB said...

When I saw your post, I recalled that I had the “mold dough” set in the early 70s. I always remember the Cinderella mold looked very odd, and I thought it was supposed to be the Fairy Godmother as she looked like an old lady. Thanks for sharing.

TokyoMagic! said...

MB, you are right! I didn't photograph it, but the reverse side (outside) of the Cinderella mold, makes her face look very fat and very old. I'm not sure why that is, since the other characters don't look any different on the outside of their molds. Maybe it's because her head and facial features were so small and delicate, that those fine details didn't transfer well to the exterior of the mold. At least the finished Cinderella figure, did turn out looking like Cinderella!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mickey Dough, I thought you meant MONEY. Get it? I crack myself up. I don’t know if I ever went to a Gemco, but I have a Gemco toothpick holder. The finest glass and plastic! Was Mickey Dough basically Play-Doh? I didn’t have a cool ceramics class that would let us make things like Mickey heads, it seems like the teacher was mostly worried about anything that might be easily converted into a bong. I did eventually sculpt a Mickey out of Sculpey, I had dreams of making a cast of it, and carefully painting it and aging it so that it would pass as a never-before-seen masterpiece from the 1930s. But… I got lazy. Big surprise.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, from what I can remember, the dough was just like Play-Doh. It only hardened if it was left out for a period of time, in the open air. Otherwise, it remained soft inside the plastic containers.

It's funny that you mentioned the Mickey that you were going to cast, paint, and then "age." My ceramics teacher suggested "aging" the three dimensional Mickey head that I made. He had some sort of brown material in a tube, sort of like paint, I guess. I applied it to a cloth and smeared it all over Mickey's face. Then I took a clean cloth and wiped most of it off while it was still wet, but little remnants of it remained in the depressions and crevices, giving it that "aged" look. I wasn't really happy with the way it turned out, so I ended up repainting the face. Unfortunately, as this piece gets "weathered" by sitting outside, some of that "antiquing" material is bleeding through the white paint.