This rather rare Mickey Mouse Telephone was made by the American Telecommunications Corporation for Western Electric in 1976. This particular model was sold, by someone, on January 15th of 1985. I ended up adding it to my personal collection some years later.
There are versions where the rotary dial has been updated to a push-button pad. Such models are more common.
I love that the cord has Hidden Mickeys on it and the name ‘Mickey Mouse’. Most later models and styles of Mickey Mouse telephones had plain, solid coloured cords.
This is not a talking phone. It has more than one volume control. One would be for the ringtone and the other for the receiver volume. There are no battery compartments or speaker holes anywhere on the unit.
Animation and voice chips would not have been common technologies for such merchandise back in the 1970’s.
My wife and I stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort back in 2007 and enjoyed seeing all of the larger-than-life icons throughout the property. Pictured above is the interpretation of the classic Mickey telephone, from behind, and three stories in the air!
With most of the Mickey phones that I have the receivers are either black or red. I do have one with a blue receiver. So it’s special to have a model with such a bright variation!
Who remembers using a rotary dial to make a phone call? Remember doing the second-last number and getting it wrong, and having to go back and start all over again? Cellphone users will never understand the pain!
HISTORY LESSON: On the rotary phone dial, the digits are arranged in a circular layout so that a finger wheel may be rotated against spring tension with one finger. A caller would start from the position of each digit and rotate to the fixed finger stop position, pictured next to the ‘zero’ in the picture above. When released at the finger stop, the wheel returns to its home position driven by the spring at a regulated speed. During this return rotation, the dial interrupts the direct electrical current of the telephone line the specific number of times associated with each digit and thereby generates electrical pulses which the telephone exchange decodes into each dialed digit. Each of the ten digits is encoded in sequences to correspond to the number of pulses, so the method is sometimes called decadic dialing.
Or you could just buy a push-button phone and be lazy.
I’ve never seen such a ‘busy’ bottom to a phone, especially for a phone that does so little.
This is perhaps my favorite Disney-themed phone that I have in my collection. I think it’s because there is a huge version at Pop Century, and that I have a miniature version in the form of a Hallmark Ornament, and an even more miniature version of Mickey using the phone itself.
More detailed looks at individual phones can be had here, here, and here. Don’t worry, I’m sure the line won’t be busy. And Gertrude won’t be snooping in on the old party line. Enjoy!