This post is a combination of what was supposed to be two different Cartoon Research articles. My yearbook series was supposed to have only three parts. However, getting this Mickey Mouse yearbook took a long time. Between my first article way back in November waiting for what I am sharing now, I wrote four other articles featuring horribly off-model artwork that I hadn’t originally planned to do. Rather than write these as different posts, I decided to combine them all into one.
Mickey Mouse Yearbook Avalon High School 1935
In 1935, high schools were still using Mickey as an honorary mascot. This was another yearbook I found interesting because Mickey basically gives a tour of the entire school. It’s also interesting to note about the mention of the Alice Comedies and Oswald (mistaken for a cat) in the yearbook writing by the staff. Unfortunately, a little bit of it was cut off when the image of this book was taken. The images of this yearbook were provided by Thomas Milton Atkinson, whose father was a student at Avalon this year. The book’s binding is fragile couldn’t take or scan the book to perfection without breaking its binding (and we don’t want that, do we?). There is even a scripted dialogue of Mickey, Minnie, and Horace Horsecollar speaking about the school they are visiting.
Today, Felix the Cat is the oldest high school mascot in Indiana. Logansport adopted Felix in 1926 after a coach brought a Felix the Cat toy to a game. After winning, Felix became the Logansport mascot. Felix was used without any approval, and nobody cared. Back then, using a character as a mascot was simply a compliment. Nobody thought licensing was necessary. It’s also interesting to note what Felix looked like to the students. In this yearbook, it explains the history of Felix at the school. For many years, the mascot’s design looked more like the off-model toy instead of the character. Today, however, it matches the character. I believe that Joe Oriolo has done a lot of artwork for them too.
The Oregon Ducks has had an on and off relationship with Disney since the 1940s to use Donald as a mascot. Much of their history with Disney has been told in many articles. A great showcase of the Oregon artwork by the students can be read here.
Congratulatorys and Other Yearbook Stuff
Various studios would contribute congratulatory pictures in yearbooks to schools. Terrytoons did it for several years in the New Rochelle yearbook. The Disney studio did it nationwide, mainly due to a request. One fascinating image is the drawing done by the studio for Kansas City University. There are various stories about how their kangaroo mascot was born. A lot of them involve Disney. One rumor stated that Walt Disney drew it for the newspaper in 1936 after being asked by friends at the university. That story seems farfetched.