‘A Disney character in every home in America’

Keith Gluck, The Walt Disney Family Museum:

Then one day in 1932, Walt received a phone call from an affable fellow named Herman “Kay” Kamen, a Kansas City advertising man. He had a vision of putting a Disney character in every home in America. Intrigued by his energy, and already dissatisfied with his current deal, Walt invited Kamen out to California to hear his proposal. During the meeting, Walt and Roy quickly learned that not only did he have great ideas, but they were also all on the same page in terms of only allowing high quality merchandise to be stamped with the Disney name. On July 1, 1932, Kamen signed with Disney. The contract outlined a 50/50 split of the profits, a deal with which both sides were highly content.

Kamen wasted little time realizing his vision. Soon Mickey and Minnie could be found in department stores everywhere, adorning such products as: napkins, wallpaper, books, phonographs, all types of clothing, hairbrushes, toys, and much more. Mickey products extended beyond the store shelves as well, thanks to annual, then biennial, merchandise catalogs published by Kamen.

I thought Reggie Fils-Aimé’s comment sounded familar.

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