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January2007
HOME The Mortimer Mouse Club Murder at the Library of Congress What Does RSS Stand For? And the Kluge Prize Goes To … And the Blind Shall Read “The Leonardo of the Comic Book” What's This Dog Doing with His Nose in a Cone? Why, He's Listening to His Master's Voice.
The Mortimer Mouse Club

Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? M-O-R-T-I-M-E-R M-O-U-S-E. It doesn't have quite the same ring, now, does it? When Walt Disney discovered he had lost the rights to his previous character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to Universal Pictures, he created the mouse with the big black ears. Modeling his new creation after the "wistfulness of (Charlie) Chaplin," Disney originally named his mascot Mortimer. He ultimately changed the name to Mickey after his wife Lillian objected to what she believed was a "sissified" name.

Animation cel showing Mickey Mouse dressed in a red robe from the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence of the animated film "Fantasia." Caricature shows S.L. Rothafel ("Roxy") conducting an orchestra while Arturo Toscanini looks on in disdain

It would seem Disney had a penchant for initially giving some of his most beloved characters cringeworthy monikers. Imagine a world in which the Seven Dwarfs were Burpy, Tubby, Biggo Ego, Flabby, Chesty, Dirty and Baldy.

The Library of Congress exhibition "Cartoon America: Highlights from the Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature" features several animation cels from such Disney classics as "Fantasia," "Bambi" and "Dumbo," as well as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," one of Wood's favorite films. Other highlights include examples of widely recognized comic strips such as "Cathy," "The Family Circus" and "Peanuts."

The drawings in the exhibition represent the primary collecting interest of Wood, who was not only a connoisseur of popular graphic art but also was an award-winning cartoonist himself. His collection of some 36,000 original cartoon drawings is held in the Library's Prints and Photographs Division.

Also home to the Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon, the Library holds some 2,085 drawings, prints and paintings related to the art of caricature, cartoon and illustration.

Like "Cartoon America," the Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection is funded by the Swann Foundation. The Swann Foundation showcases the collections of the Library of Congress in rotating exhibitions and promotes the continuing Swann Foundation program in the study of cartoon, caricature and illustration, while also offering a provocative and informative selection of works by masters from the past and present.


A. Animation cel showing Mickey Mouse dressed in a red robe from the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence of the animated film "Fantasia." 1940. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction Nos.: LC-DIG-ppmsca-12837 (digital file from original drawing), LC-USZC4-13060 (color film copy transparency); Call No.: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2001:055-4 [item] [P&P]

B. Impossible Interviews – No. 15. S.L. Rothafel versus Arturo Toscanini. SUMMARY: Caricature shows S.L. Rothafel ("Roxy") conducting an orchestra while Arturo Toscanini looks on in disdain. Roxy was the colorful movie theater impresario who built the Roxy Theater, while Toscanini was the respected conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The caricature was an illustration for the "Impossible Interview, no. 15" in which Roxy derided Toscanini for the dullness and stiffness of his classical music and suggested that he liven things up by adding a ballet, soloists and amplifiers in the balcony. 1933. Prints and Photographs Division: Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-DIG-ppmsca-03351 (digital file from original). Publication may be restricted. For information see "Miguel Covarrubias"; [http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/res/253_cov.html] Call No.: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2001:055-4 [item] (A) [P&P]