TLS signed “Roy O. Disney,” one page, 8.5 x 11, on outstanding Walt Disney Productions Ltd., Mickey Mouse Sound Cartoons letterhead, September 2, 1931. Disney writes to Bibo-Lang Inc. In part: “Received your letter of August 27th, and today have received a letter from Robert Teller Sons & Dorner…For your information, a copy of their letter is enclosed. This does not meet the situation as you and I talked in New York. You agreed to relieve us of any responsibility for this printing bill of Robert Teller Sons & Dorner, except that we would remit to you, as fast as received, the outstanding accounts. On our part, in consideration of this we were to permit you to publish, under your proposed license, the Mickey Mouse song, entitled ‘The Wedding Party of Mickey Mouse.’ Until such a time as you make arrangements in keeping with our understanding, I will have to withhold our permission for you to publish this Mickey Mouse song. You have some 20,000 copies of these books on hand. You seem confident of disposing of them during the coming holiday season. Therefore, I do not see why you hesitate to take the responsibility for this printer’s bill and make arrangements with the printer to that effect.”
Stapled to the letter is a carbon of the letter from Robert Teller Sons & Dorner regarding the outstanding balance, quoting a letter received by them from Bibo-Lang which stated “I was at Disney this A.M. and went over the ‘Mickey Mouse’ situation. We owe Teller about $1500. There is about $1000 on Disney’s books, which he will send to Teller as collected.” Also included is a carbon of Disney’s letter to Teller, dated September 2, 1931. Staple to top left, blue pencil circle to letter, mild overall toning, and a paperclip impression to top, otherwise fine condition.
This fascinating correspondence shows Roy Disney working out the payment details for the printing of the first licensed Disney character book, The Mickey Mouse Book, published in 1930 by Bibo and Lang and printed by Robert Teller Sons & Dorner. After seeing success in the sales of some Mickey Mouse notebooks in 1928, Walt decided that merchandising was an excellent new way to raise money for the company and gain publicity for his studio’s characters. They began signing licensing agreements, one of the earliest of which was with Bibo and Lang. At the time of its publication, The Mickey Mouse Book was incredibly popular, and within its first year, four separate printings were done resulting in a total of just under 98,000 copies. The back cover illustration would be also very slightly altered and used on the cover of The Wedding Party of Mickey Mouse sheet music book, to which Roy Disney refers in this letter to the publisher. Wonderful content showing the earliest merchandising dealings of what has grown to be a $30-billion-a-year empire. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.