DAY ONE-by Paul F. Anderson

To me, nothing seems to go together as well as Walt Disney and Christmas. The Yuletide season is my favorite time of year, and, of course, Walt Disney is my life’s work. Put the two together, and I am in absolute bliss (by both Webster definitions of this word). Therefore, I am pleased to present to those visiting the Institute, our DHI Twelve Days of Christmas (with apologies to the good folks in England and Frederic Austin). In keeping with the Institute’s mission statement, I hope to present twelve Disney/Christmas essays that feature a heretofore little known (or unknown) facet of history. I have written several essays here on the Institute’s website about Walt’s sense of charity, and his desire to give not only to any good cause that came along, but also to the communities in which he lived. The first day of Christmas in our twelve days, is just that–another sparkling example of Walt giving back to Kansas City. As I have written before, with today’s sensibilities this may seem small, but to those in Kansas City that were fighting the Great Depression, this was a sense of hope, charity, and happiness (all embodiments of Christmas). The above illustration was most likely done especially for the Kansas City Star (the few historians I have shown it to, have not seen it prior to this apparent first appearance). It came without a date, but through dating the material it came with I believe it is from December 1937 (a chance that it is from December 1938). It feature’s Mickey’s nephews (Morty and Ferdie Mouse) obviously thrilled at the visit of Santa Claus (who looks suspiciously like Donald Duck). Pluto is the keeper of the the Christmas stockings. The caption read: “Celebrators! Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto, famous Walt Disney characters, readying for Santa’s advent.” (Obviously they must have been a bit confused by the appearance of two Mickeys.) Merry First Day of the Disney History Institute’s Twelve Days of Christmas.

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