Step into my Time Machine, and we will travel back to 1973. This was the year that Mickey Mouse celebrated his forty-fifth birthday. To celebrate this insignificant occasion, a grand and glorious exposition of vintage Mickey Memorabilia was mounted, in the most unlikely of all places, Bamberger's Department Store, in the heart of what was then one of America’s most troubled cities, riot wracked Newark, New Jersey.
Because, I happened to be there in person, and, in fact, it was my own young Mickey Mouse Collection that was on display, I took a lot of pictures. I believe it is my obligation to share them, along with my memories of the occasion, with the hundreds of millions of unfortunate individuals who missed the exposition. I am also pleased to say that both the photographs, and the memories, remain as fresh and vivid, today, as they were when the show first took place.
An account of the way this historic exposition came about, and what persuaded me to participate in it, the world’s first public display of Vintage Mickey Memorabilia, along with the many preparations that led up to it, the original catalogue, and colored slides of the exhibit will be revealed in the following pages:
All photographs © Mel Birnkrant. Some of the images © the Walt Disney Company