Mel Birnkrant's Celluloid Collection, page 2

The wonderful material called "Celluloid" appeared in our lives, for only, a brief moment. But, during that short time, it made two Marvels possible: first and foremost, the "Movies," which changed the world we live in, and second these fragile and delicate celluloid toys, which in some respects are as fleeting and insubstantial as the images celluloid made it possible to cast upon the silver screen.

For, in spite of all of its advantages, Celluloid had serious disadvantages as well. Not only was it fragile, but worse still, it was highly flammable and could burst into flames at the slightest provocation. This eventually led to the banning and phasing out of the production of celluloid toys. Acetate soon replaced celluloid in film, but no replacement was ever found to duplicate the feather light gossamer charm of the Celluloid Toy.

Left: This marvelous Henry windup stands 8" tall. He seems to be contemplating a trip while a five-fingered Mickey looks on.
Top right:
Two Betty Boop Hula Dancers, one is complete with her original box.
Bottom right:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs figures, manufactured primarily for the English Market. Note the exquisite detail of their facial expressions.

A spectacular 8 inch Donald walks and quacks while the 3 pigs nod their approval.
And, some German celluloid Mickeys and Felix look on.

Walking the Doggie. Split platform action permits Mickey to glide gracefully
while playful Pluto trots along.

A common toy with a rare box. It looks like the Big Bad Wolf
is trying to blow the pigs off the trapeze!

Mel Birnkrant and friend. Mel has been collecting since 1959.
Mickey is a glorious ventriloquist doll with articulated mouth, tongue and teeth.

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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