Living with Comic Characters

Snapshots from the Birnkrant Family Album, page 2


One of many kitty corners that litter the Birnkrant home. Here friendly FELIXES "frolic" and shake their little tails on the catwalk.

At left, a cornucopia of early comic character toys, candy containers and articulated dolls.
Top right, "OSWALD THE LUCKY (to be here) RABBIT." He represents the earliest known Disney-inspired merchandise.
Bottom right, a sensational CHARLIE CHAPLIN carousel figure in polychromed wood and cast iron.

Left, this big "LITTLE KING" prototype painted tin and wood windup is seven inches tall. Right, the fabulous Hestwood marionettes: Pluto, Horace, Mickey, Clarabell, Minnie, and Donald strut their stuff for an audience of stuffed Mickeys.

Eighteen beautiful BROWNIES atop an elegant elephant! We dont' know if the awesome terra cotta sculpture was related to politics when it was created in the 1890's, but we do feel it would definitely be a major "candidate" for "World's Best Brownie Item" today.

In 1902 the popular comic character HAPPY HOOLIGAN became the latest puppet to join the troupe of Gus White's Punch and Judy Comic Family. He was ultimately the last.

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Acknowledgement: Mel Birnkrant is a toy designer and inventor. The toys he collects serve as an inspiration and play a major role in the items he creates. The authors, Doug and Pat Wengel, enjoy collecting early images of Mickey and his friends. They are also dealers in vintage character collectibles.  

All photographs Mel Birnkrant
Some of the toys the Walt Disney Company