Friday, December 3, 2021

Walt Disney's "Donald Duck and Santa Claus" - 1952

Today, we have another "Little Golden Book" from my childhood.  This one is actually labeled as, "A Mickey Mouse Club Book," on the cover.

However, the inside of the book has the "Little Golden Book" label.  (This particular book belonged to my older brother and had his name printed in it, along with a date of "DEC. 1965")

A later reissue of this book, had the Little Golden Book label on the interior and the exterior, as seen in this image from ebay.

For some reason, the title page had been ripped out of my brother's book, and the publishing information on the reverse side went along with it.  Fortunately, I did find the images for both pages on ebay:


And here is the story of Donald Duck and Santa Claus, in it's entirety:























The inside of the back cover had a list of more Little Golden Book titles that were available:

The back cover:

Here's an extra holiday item!  My brother and I each had one of these books (from Whitman), when we were kids.  You punched out individual pieces from the pages, and then assembled a large Santa with movable arms and legs.  There was also a three dimensional scene to put together, with a fireplace, a Christmas tree, and a mini-Santa.  The red suits on the two Santas were "flocked" (fuzzy).  We had these for many years, but somehow, all the pieces have disappeared, with the exception of the front cover of one of the books.

According to the price tag (.25 cents!), this was purchased at "The Akron."  The Akron was a very popular chain of stores, which got their start in the late 1940s.  They sold an eclectic variety of items for the home, many of which were imported.  They were around for over three decades, but by the mid-1980s, they were having financial problems.  In 1985, most of the Akron stores were sold off, and became Circuit City stores.

I hope all of you, have a very safe and happy holidays!

23 comments:

K. Martinez said...

Always thought the Little Golden Book series had great storytelling illustrations.

I was going to ask you if you still have all the press-out pieces from your press-out book and you answered it. I loved press-out books as a child.

Thanks for another fun post, TM! Hope you have a safe and happy holiday season too!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, thanks! And I agree with you about the illustrations in the Little Golden Books. They were wonderful and as a kid, they really pulled you into the story. While this particular book just credits the illustrations to "The Walt Disney Studios," I have another Christmas-themed (Disney) Little Golden Book, which credits Bob Moore and X. Atencio for the illustrations. I plan to post that book, too.

As for that large movable Santa and the little living room scene, those things were around forever. Even if they didn't get used as decorations each year, I know they were in a particular drawer in my mom's house for years. I didn't even remember that one of the covers existed, but that is all that I found. I still have a LOT of things from childhood, but I guess it would have been impossible to hold onto everything....sadly!

Major Pepperidge said...

I love these Little Golden Books, they had some of the best illustrations. I see that Al Dempster did these, he was a regular artist for LGBs, not just Disney but I believe he also did Hanna Barbera books as well (Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, etc). The guy was amazing. I know he was a background painter at Disney, and I think he worked on things like Fantasia and Dumbo, and later films too like Lady and the Tramp and Sleeping Beauty.

Looking Al up, I see that he was made a “Disney Legend” in 2006. The article also says that “His painting for the cover of the Alice in Wonderland Little Golden Book is considered by many to be the Mona Lisa of Disney storybook illustration”.

I love Donald’s orange jet, it sort of looks like the Bell X-1 plane that Chuck Yeager flew to break the sound barrier!

I hope Donald learned his lesson about trying to fool Santa Claus.

When my nephew turned perhaps 8, he said that “Santa Claus isn’t real”. But when we showed him the NORAD site that showed Santa’s progress around the world, he’d run into the room exclaiming, “Santa’s in France right now!!”. It was pretty cute.

Thanks, TokyoMagic!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I also love the artwork in the Little Golden Books. I wasn't familiar with the name Al Dempster, but I just looked him up. Now I feel like I should have known that name! I have the "Alice In Wonderland" book you mentioned, and a "Peter Pan" one, too. Those were large books called "Big Little Books," but were by the same company. During one of my trips to Tokyo, the Disney Gallery at Tokyo DL was featuring an exhibit on Little Golden Book artwork. I wish I had been able to take some pics, but photography wasn't allowed in the gallery. I don't think that exhibit ever came to the Disney Gallery in Anaheim.

I also like the look of Donald's jet, and I remember it really "stood out" to me, when reading the book as a kid. It must have looked pretty futuristic, at the time the book was first published. It still does, actually.

I don't remember when I first found out the truth about Santa, but think I believed a little bit longer than most kids. I still believe in Rudolph, though. And the Baby New Year!

MIKE COZART said...

When Western Publishing /Whitman closed up they contacted the Disney Studios and asked if they wanted the artwork back. Disney was all ....”the art work!?? “ it turned out all the artwork used for the various books, puzzles ,activity books Etc that Western Publishing has used to print their products had been saved. There was so much artwork returned to Disney that a specialized division of the Disney Archives was created. The Disney Gallery’s LAST exhibit in its original New Orleans Square location featured the artwork from Western Publishing . There were a few Giclee prints done for sale by Disney art editions including a Retta Scott Cinderella book illustration and a John Hench Peter Pan book illustration of Never Land . On print on dens s there was about 125 available Images of artwork .... even illustrations from MARS AND BEYOND and OUR FRIEND THE ATOM!!! The artwork available for sale ranged from the 50’s to the 80’s .... a series of 1970’s Mary Poppins book illustrations were available . There was Mary Blair , Neil Boyle, Paul Hartley and others .... so much was available for sale. Sadly changes in the Gallery and it’s preparation for its relocation to Main Street was affecting the operations and I think the exhibit was kinda lost on guests .

I used to get some kind of Christmas punch out book before Christmas as a kid - I loved them! I remember one that was a Gingerbread People Town .... but my most favorite was a Mr. Magoo “a Christmas Carol” with Mr. Magoo as Scrooge. For a few years I would set the display ( it was the scenes from the animated tv film ) my favorite was the feast table with “rasselberry dressing” . Because they were paper and because I played with them , they didn’t last too long. My mom told me she bought me those Christmas punch out sets because I always wanted to play with the Christmas ornaments or other toy-like Christmas decorations.

I remember the AKRON : it was a cross between a Pier 54 and a early Aaron Brothers .... I remember as a kid the furniture and decorations they sold looked like things in Rhoda’s apartment!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I didn't remember an exhibit of Disney/Western Publishing artwork in the Disney Gallery. But if it was the very last exhibit in the old location, maybe I never saw it. Wow, so Disney didn't even know about the artwork, but Western Publishing handed it all over to Disney? It sounds like once Disney parted with original artwork like that, they either didn't care or they weren't very careful about making sure they got it back, at some point. Western Publishing should have just given it out to any of their employees as some sort of severance bonus.

I love "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol," and it's soundtrack! My brother and I used to watch it every year. It's too bad that you don't still have the pieces/scenes from that book.

Yes, The Akron was sort of like a Pier 1 or even a Cost Plus. I never thought about it before, but yeah, the stuff they sold would have been perfect in Rhoda's apartment. Who knows, maybe some of the decor did actually come from The Akron!

MIKE COZART said...

Yes!! I meant Pier 1 not Pier 54 ...... “ Car 54” . I also recall lots of decor for sale at The Akron reminded me of some of the decorations of It’s. A Small World .... I remember seeing these colorful banners you could buy and hang them from ceilings ..... they were of dragoons ... several styles ... almost like kites .... but they were just decor for sale. This would have been around 1973-1974. The Akron we used to go to was it a specialty shopping center - I’m not sure how to describe it ... it wasn’t a shopping strip nor a Mall ... but almost like a modern Walt Disney World Village .... all of the shops were of 2-3 different size buildings grouped together in clumps of 4-6 units .... there was a center plaza with a modern gazebo pavilion and pathways to the shopping clumps .... EXCEPT for two larger buildings done in the same style as the others was Akron and a (Albertsons Market) the only other shops I remember was a MINI CITY ( toys & hobbies) , a Radio Shack , a cake decorating store , a dress shop and a restaurant that only sold pie and desert .... there was also a mix of offices .... the shopping center is still there and looks almost exactly the same but the entire complex is a church and church school. It’s across from the big 1961 Shopping Center , Grossmont Shopping Center ( soon to be mostly torn down)in La Mesa Ca . It was on the opposite side of the freeway where the famous Ford Dealership showroom was that was a reduced size copy of the Ford Magic Skyway building from the New York worlds fair ... it was just torn down around 2019 .... but the dealership is still there.

So currently on Art On Demand at Disneyanna on both terminals there is still the storybook art menu - but it only features about 1/4 the selection the original exhibit offered for sale. There are 3 Mars And Beyond pieces , about a Dozen Alice In Wonderland , some dumbo from the 50’s and Dumbo from the 60’s or 70’s , Cinderella and others ... a few have options like full as the artwork was or with the space separations were printing would later go.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I didn't even notice that you typed "Pier 54"! I guess I just read it as "Pier 1" because I knew what you were talking about!

I still have some items that my family purchased at The Akron. My grandmother had a large glazed (white) elephant. It stands on the ground and has a flat area on it's back, so it can be used as an end table. I have that now, and my aunt has a matching one, that was purchased at the same time. We also have some rattan/wicker baskets that came from the store, which were really well made and have held up all these years. I also have a reproduction of an antique mechanical coin bank (cast iron). They had a lot of those for sale at one point, back in the 1970s.

I can't believe that someone had a smaller replica of the Ford Magic Skyway building, and tore it down as recently as two years ago. Wait a minute.....I guess I can believe it, because THEY RUIN EVERYTHING!

MIKE COZART said...

Yeah as soon as the San Diego Modernism group and the SAVE OUR HERITAGE ORGANIZATION began to try and protect the Ford Rotunda ... the dealership’s new owners quickly bulldozed it!! Very sad .

I totally remember those reproduction coin banks at the Akron!! I had several reproduction cast iron fire wagons and a train that cane from there. My dad’s father was a fire chief in North Carolina and he had several real 1890’s fire horse drawn wagon toys that were pretty nice - the kind that had little wheels under the horses so a child toll the wagon across the floor. These were antiques but when we visited I wanted to play with them but was not allowed. A few consecutive visits to California from my grandparents , my grandma would buy me a cast iron reproduction fire wagon .... there was a pumper and a hook and ladder fire wagon ..... on the third visit she was going to have me get a third fire wagon .... it was like a patrol wagon carrying the firefighters to the fire ... but I explained I had enough fire wagons .... I remember my grandma said to pick another out then and she was trying to get me to pick a ice wagon but I opted for a train . They must have carried these cast iron toys for a long time because they came once a year and I had three. Also the ones in was getting from the Akron were pretty crude compared to the very detailed REAL antiques fire wagons my grandpa had!

One time at the Akron they had all these decorative candles and my mom let my sister and I each pick a candle . We couldn’t decide so she let us pick two each .... my sister picked a giant pink crayola crayon and a red and white mushroom - I selected a giant yellow crayon and a tiki. There were instructions that when you light the tiki for the first time you make a wish ..... if wax “tears” came out of the right eye your wish would come true — if from the left eye; your wish would not be granted. I remember the tears coming out of the eyes but I don’t remember if my wish was granted or what the wish was for ... I do remember my mom placing a sheet of Reynolds wrap aluminum down under the tiki in case there was gonna be a overflow of wax tiki tears !!

Melissa said...

Mike, you brought back a memory I had totally forgotten - the "emergency" candles we kept in our kitchen drawer were all shaped like crayons, and they came in a box shaped like a crayon box. I remember being so disappointed when I tried to color with them but they didn't leave a mark on the paper. I had figured wax was wax!

The Donald book is a real treasure. He probably used the coal to fuel his jet plane.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, that has been done in other cities, as well.....where an owner quickly disposes of a building, before it can be designated a landmark. I've even seen them do it on a Sunday, when they thought nobody would be able to get the paperwork from a judge, to temporarily stop the demolition.

Now that you have mentioned it, I do remember The Akron carrying other cast iron toys, besides the coin banks. My mom had bought my brother and me plastic reproductions of antique mechanical banks, at Lucky's grocery store. Mine was an elephant and you placed the coin in it's trunk and pushed on it's tail. It would then toss the coin into an opening on it's back. My brother's bank was Uncle Sam. You placed the coin in his hand and pushed a button on the base. A suitcase/bag at his feet would open up and his arm would lower, as he dropped the coin into the bag. Shortly after we were given these plastic reproductions, The Akron started carrying the cast iron reproductions of both banks, plus many other designs.

Your "crying" tiki candle sounds pretty neat!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I remember seeing those candles shaped like crayons (and mushrooms, like Mike mentioned), back in the day. Candles seemed to be very popular in the seventies. In fact, the mall we used to go to, had two different candle shops. I guess, candles have become popular again, but not the ones that come in special shapes. I remember there were some back in the seventies, that looked like food, such as a banana split or an ice cream sundae, and even a hamburger and fries. The ice cream ones were put into glass dishes, to make them look even more realistic.

Melissa said...

I had totally forgotten about those ice cream candles in the glass dishes!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa and Mike, I just now remembered that while scanning some old Disney News Magazines a few months back, that I had come across this article from a Spring 1972 issue. It's about the Main Street Candle Shop at Disneyland, and it includes photos of the candles that looked like ice cream sundaes and hamburgers. I remembered the ice cream candles in the glass dishes, but I forgot about the ones that looked like ice cream cones!

Scroll down to the very last image:

Main Street Candle Shop - 1972

Melissa said...

Bell, Book, and Cheeseburger! I love it!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, yes....the wonderful classic film, starring Kim Novak and the Hamburglar! ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! Right before this post came out, I had been to an antique mall by my house, and noticed quite a few Little Golden Books from the past, for sale. I took a little time to glance through some of them. Nice memories.

These books are delightful. I especially love the one illustration of Donald, above, where he's walking on the sidewalk towards Mickey and Minnie - he's adorable.

Thank you for sharing from your collection!

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I like that one image of Donald, too. I like the way he is coming up off the ground and his hat is floating in the air, above his head. The drawings in these books really were special when I was a kid, and remain so, even now.

I'll be sharing more Little Golden Books in the future!

Stu29573 said...

The book is great! I have a couple of non-Christmas Disneyland Little Golden Books.
Your punch out Santa reminds me of a decoration we had when I was a kid. It was a fold out Santa head (with that crinkly accordian paper) that went around a large lamp shade. Very cool, but I'm sure it fell apart decades ago!

TokyoMagic! said...

Stu, I remember those "accordion paper" decorations. We had some Halloween ones. I remember a black cat, for sure. There was a second one, but now I can't remember for sure, what it was.....a witch, perhaps. Those older holiday decorations were the best!

I hope you post your "Disney" Little Golden Books, at some point!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Merry Christmas, TokyoMagic!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you, Sue! Merry Christmas to you, too!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Happy New Year, TokyoMagic!

Looking forward to another year of your fun posts!