Mel Birnkrant's
Celebrating Celluloid
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         In 1994, I was still hiding.  Mouse Heaven had only been seen in small peeks: the most revealing, being in the background of the article on Baby Face in Collector’s Showcase, three years before.  A single showcase or two had appeared in obscure articles, over the years, but never had the magnitude of the collection been revealed to the toy collecting community.  So when Pat and Doug Wengel, two of my favorite people, contacted me, early in 1994, proposing an article on celluloid toys, I thought long and hard, before I agreed.

I had come to know the Wengels in many roles.  They walked the delicate line, between being impassioned and inspired Disney collectors, and astute toy dealers, with a gentleness that was unique.  If this article had been proposed by anyone but they, I would have, most likely, replied “No way!”

One other factor played a major role in my decision to say “OK.”  That was the fact that Doug and Pat had just sold me the most gorgeous celluloid toy that I had ever seen.  And it ended up on the Cover of the magazine. Although the Skating Mickey was, arguably, expensive, I was fully aware, as were the Wengels, that there were other collectors, out there, who could afford to pay more for it than me.  But they chose to offer it to me, anyway.   I considered this a “gift,” an act of generosity.   And I might add, sensitivity, for Pat and Doug truly believed that the toy “belonged”, here, in this collection, here in Mouse Heaven.