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Donít Be A Firebug!


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#1 disneydave

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Posted 04 April 2015 - 11:02 PM

A Careless Fire is Sabotage

 

I came across this very rare image a couple of months ago.

 

blog WD firebug photo.jpg

 

Before stumbling across the photo I had never seen the pictured poster before. The photo’s caption indicated Walt Disney was presenting the art to California State Forester Merrill B. Pratt. Further research indicates Pratt held the position from 1921-1943.

 

The photo’s caption stated the image was snapped in September 1948 but after digging around the California State Archives it appears the art was actually presented in 1942. The 1942 date makes more sense as America was at war with the Empire of Japan, and the character depicted on the poster is definitely a stereotyped caricature of the enemy at the time.

 

Being a collector of Disney World War II artifacts, I find this image very interesting because the Studio rarely presented Japanese, German, or Italian enemy stereotypes in their World War II material.

 

Rare in the Truest Sense of the Word

 

And then imagine my surprise when this item popped up on eBay. I found the listing with one of my many key word searches. Luckily for me, the dealer had the item in some obscure, non-Disney category.

 

blog WD firebug poster.jpg

 

Turns out, I was the only bidder and won the item for the princely sum of $39.99. That's right. One cent under $40.

 

I have never seen a copy of this poster for sale before and have never seen one in another collection. (And I have been collecting Disney World War II items since the mid-1980s.)  I never knew a copy of the poster existed until I saw and snagged the one recently on eBay.

 

The illustration was used by the State of California's Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. I assume the art was only used in California, which means the poster would have had a limited distribution.

 

It's a very cool item on so many levels and for so many reasons and I was extremely happy when the item arrived on my doorstep.


Edited by disneydave, 04 April 2015 - 11:04 PM.


#2 WW2JAKE

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Posted 05 April 2015 - 01:26 AM

out of curiosity. why is the colored version different than the black and white version that they are holding? specifically the color of the letters, the location of the circle in the bottom right corner, and a few other details which appear to be different colors than those that would be in the black and white like his wings? was the one in the black and white the original or something and it was altered? 



#3 Brig

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Posted 05 April 2015 - 03:54 AM

I imagine your max bid had a zero or two on the end of that win price, so you must be ecstatic!

 

Very nice item, Dave, may not be a mickey mouse gas mask, but it must be up there in rarity!



#4 disneydave

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 10:11 PM

Good questions but I have no definitive answers Jake. I assume the one they are holding is the finished art. Perhaps changes were made before the art was sent to the printers. The artist who created this piece of art was colorblind, so the only conclusion I could think of is perhaps the colors he used on the final rendering had to be changed because of this.



#5 disneydave

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 10:12 PM

Thanks Brig! Yes, the poster is the only one I know of so it is ultra rare. There are probably a few more out there but I haven't seen any others. I love it for so many different reasons. Now if I could just fine that darned gas mask!




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