Bhutan Stamps: 60th Anniversary of Mickey Mouse

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. But no matter how isolated they may be, they love Mickey Mouse! And in the year of the 60th Anniversary of Mickey Mouse, that being 1989, they issued a set of stamps to commemorate the event.

1928 to 1953 was the span of the original theatrical Shorts featuring Mickey Mouse as the star, but usually with one or more supporting characters. Donald Duck was to supplant the mouse as the leading box office earner eventually, but in his day, Mickey roared!

Posters for Shorts

This set of stamps feature reproductions of the original promotional posters for various Mickey Mouse Shorts. The one above is a generic image that would have been displayed outside of a movie theatre for extended periods of time in place of swapping out posters for each new Short. Laziness is the mother of profit.

Barnyard Olympics – 1932

This Short starred several characters as they participated in Olympic-like games including boxing and diving. Mickey himself participates in the main event, a cross-country multi-sport race similar to a Triathlon, except it includes row boating instead of swimming. Of course, we need conflict, so another participant in the race tries to sabotage Mickey’s chances of winning.

Disney often exploited free promotional opportunities, so this Short was released to coincide with the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Just as a side note, ‘Barnyard’ antics featured in many Mickey Mouse Shorts, including a dance, a battle, a concert, a broadcast, then ending with the Olympics.

Society Dog Show – 1939

Mickey enters Pluto in a high society dog show, but gets kicked out. Go figure. He later re-enters Pluto in the “trick dog” category and puts a pair of roller skates on him. Meanwhile, Pluto falls in love with Fifi, a Pekingese also entered in the show, and saves her when the building burns down.

Notice that Pluto is given the ‘Lucky 13’ number for the show!

Sorcerer’s Apprentice Segment – 1940

Mickey’s star was fading by the end of the 1930s as Donald Duck became more popular, as mentioned earlier. So Walt tried to boost his old pal with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment in his highly experimental theatrical movie Fantasia. The story was based on Goethe’s 1797 poem “Der Zauberlehrling”. Mickey Mouse, the young apprentice of the sorcerer Yen Sid (yes, that’s ‘Disney’ spelled backwards), attempts some of his master’s magic tricks but does not know how to control them.

Although this role didn’t do much for Mickey back in the days of its release, it has become iconic now! Mickey wasn’t washed up entirely though, and did continue in Shorts up to the mid-50s, but with fewer and fewer entries each year.

The Mad Dog – 1932

Mickey gives Pluto a bath, but the dog doesn’t like it and jumps out of the tub. Pluto then accidentally swallows the bar of soap and starts hiccupping bubbles. In a panic, Pluto starts running through the city, all the while hiccupping bubbles. People in town panic when they see Pluto foaming at the mouth, and assume he has rabies. Pete, the town dogcatcher corners Pluto in an alley at gunpoint. Mickey pleads with Pete for Pluto’s life, but to no avail. Finally Mickey throws a cat down Pete’s pants to distract him, while he and Pluto run home.

So apparently, Pluto wasn’t really mad, just a little distempered. Ill tempered? How about a little miffed?

A Gentleman’s Gentleman – 1941

Pluto acts as Mickey’s personal valet. The dog serves Mickey breakfast in bed and then is sent by Mickey into town to buy a newspaper. Yes, they could make a Short out of just about any premise!

The denominations on the stamps go from 1ch to 10ch. The currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum which is divided into 100 chhertum. Hence the short form ‘ch’ on each stamp. Why the Shorts aren’t arranged from oldest to newest as the stamp denominations go up is a mystery.

Only Mickey and Pluto appear on the stamps for some reason. Maybe to keep the focus primarily on Mickey being as it was his anniversary Bhutan was trying to feature.

You can see many more Disney-themed stamps from my collection by typing the keyword ‘Stamps’ in the Search box at the top of this blog.

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