Bizarre Mickey Mouse Gas Mask Found in Home

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Mickey Mouse looking scared

Credit: Disney

A strange World War II-era gas mask has been found in a home in the United Kingdom, bringing public attention to one of the more bizarre Mickey Mouse products ever produced by the Walt Disney Company.

Mickey Mouse looking shocked
Credit: Disney

Workers clearing out a house in Erdington, Birmingham, discovered the 82-year-old tin container, which held a child-sized gas mask and was decorated with jolly pictures of Disney’s iconic mascot, Mickey Mouse. Reportedly, the can for the gas mask was intended to comfort children in wartime who might need to be protected from a deadly attack.

However, to modern eyes, just putting an eerie, single-eyed, pint-sized gas mask in a container with Mickey Mouse on it does not really help things. In addition to the main character himself, the gas mask container is also decorated with several junior anthropomorphic mice, all of whom appear very cheerful.

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Reportedly, this Mickey Mouse item was manufactured in 1941 as part of the Happynak Series, officially licensed by the Walt Disney Company. The container also has the original owner– Stanley Wills of Rosary Road, Erdington- etched inside.

Mickey Mouse in a hat
Credit: Disney

The container is set to be auctioned off at Richard Winterton Auctioneers. A valuer, Jon Price, explained: “It was thought using Mickey Mouse as a role model would make the thought of wearing a gas mask less scary for children. It is believed only a relatively small number of these tins were produced as the Government decided all metal was needed for the war effort.”

Astonishingly, the Happynak gas mask was not the only child-friendly (relatively speaking) protective equipment manufactured during World War II. Famously, Walt Disney himself designed a gas mask for American children that was intended to mimic the character. Apparently, the masks were designed to calm down scared children, but we will let you judge for yourself how that might have gone:

According to the Washington Post, “About 1,000 Mickey Mouse respirators were eventually produced, but the civilian gas mask — for children or adults — was not really a notable presence on the home front during World War II.”

Now, they primarily exist as curios and remnants of wartime efforts to try to use the Disney brand as a way to make children feel safe.

Related: Disturbing Mickey Mouse 9/11 Images Trend, Disney Stays Silent

Steamboat Willie original art, with Mickey at the wheel
Credit: D23

Mickey Mouse is generally not used as design material for gas masks, but he remains an indelible part of the Walt Disney Company. However, the House of Mouse will begin losing various early versions of the character to the public domain in 2024, and it seems that Disney is planning on beginning to minimize his role as the official mascot of the company. At the very least, there probably will not be any more gas masks of him.

Does Mickey Mouse protective equipment for children terrify you? Can you think of any other scary Disney memorabilia? Let us know in the comments below!

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