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For more than 100 years, from 1902 until 2010, Playthings magazine was the premier authority for the toy and game industry, and Kay Kamen, Walt’s Disney’s merchandising master, knew how to use it.

Kamen, a young man blessed with more than his share of energy and enterprise, started a marketing company in Kansas City, Missouri, specializing in developing products based on movies and negotiating and handling the merchandising contracts involved. It is no surprise that Walt and Roy approached Kamen proposing he undertake his work on their behalf.

That was in 1932. By then Mickey had taken the world by storm and Walt was shattering the black-and-white barrier with "Flowers and Trees." The opportunity was ripe and Kamen knew it. The story is the stuff of fable. He immediately withdrew his life savings and sewed the cash into the lining of his coat for the two-day train ride to Los Angeles. Upon meeting Walt and Roy, he spread the money on their desk and guaranteed them the entire amount plus 50% of the earnings he would generate for them. He quickly made good on his claim, bringing a steady flow of income to the struggling Studio and turning it into one of the world’s great merchandising forces. Among his many feats was the creation of the Mickey Mouse watch, which soon became the best-selling watch in America. Kamen held the exclusive Disney contract he secured that historic day for more than two decades, until his death in 1939 in a plane crash. He was 47.

In those days, there were few outlets through which Kamen could promote Disney. One of the few key venues was Playthings, and Kamen didn’t miss a beat, repeatedly securing the cover of the influential magazine for his client. These three ultra rare sheets are actual proofs printed from the magazine cover plates to be used as handouts at trade shows and conventions. The bright red, instantly recognizable Playthings appearance always caused a stir.  

The first two covers, for the December 1942 and February 1943 issues, heralded Saludos Amigos and are 9-1/4 x 12-1/4". The third, hyping Donald’s Oscar-winning wartime triumph "Der Fuehrer's Face" on the November 1942 issue is 9-1/4 x 9-1/4", printed as here for hand-out with no header. The sheets are mounted on board and in excellent condition. Kamen made sure his name and contact information for licensing agreements were prominently featured, as you can see. Disney, 1942/43.

Category: Publishing
Unsold Lots: Available For Sale
Lot Type: Books/Media
From: Disney Shorts,Saludos Amigos
Character: Donald
Studio: Disney

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