That little red Fiat 500 was a first-year Model A (produced from 1936 to 1948), the smallest car in the world at the time. Italians (like those in this shot in Rome’s Mussolini Stadium) dubbed the midget coupe Topolino (“little mouse” in Italian).
Topolino was also the name of this very famous mouse. Yep, that’s their name for Mickey.
But evidently, cartoons didn’t set well with Fascists back when that photo was taken. Per theguardian.com, “Comics were seen as a vehicle for the values of the Anglo-Saxon democracies … and Mickey Mouse was the last of the American cartoon heroes to be banned because he was a particular favourite with Mussolini’s children; they were among the very few Italians who were able to defy their father with impunity.”
The controlling craziness went so far as to forbid use of “speech balloons” in any comics at all. Who knew the life of a Fascist cartoonist was so hard?
For your further edification, according to hellogiggles.com, Donald Duck goes by “Paolino Paperino” (not pepperoni), Daisy Duck by “Paperina,” and Goofy is “Pippo,” yet for some reason Pluto is still Pluto and Minnie still Minni (close enough).
Flipping through my festive 1949 LIFE, I noticed this ad for Puerto Rican Rum. My first thought was how I remember the texture of glasses like that on my fingers. You never see those at the department store homeware section any more. My second thought was how odd it seemed to get “something different, something gay” for your two friends, Tom and Jerry, including a personalized mug. Are they supposed to share it? What are the chances that Tom and Jerry even fell in love? And once the bickering starts, won’t this mug be the first casualty in a heated dish-breaking episode?
To me, Tom and Jerry are a cat and mouse. And I wasn’t sure which came first, the chicken or the egg. As it turns out, it was the drink, devised by British journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s, not the cartoon debuted in 1940. Have you ever drunk a Tom & Jerry?
For research purposes, I wikipedia’d the cartoon animals, just to make sure they weren’t lovers. I was under the impression they hated each other. It said, “both characters display sadistic tendencies, in that they are equally likely to take pleasure in tormenting each other,” but that wasn’t any help. I continued to read the list of characters:
Mammy Two Shoes, who appeared in Push-Button Kitty
Fluff, Muff and Puff
Uncle Pecos, who plucked one of Tom’s whiskers off to replace broken strings on the guitar
Meathead, a brown, mangy alley cat who wears a red toupee
I’m pretty sure I met half these people in college at downtown dance clubs. Well, maybe not Mammy Two Shoes. Evidently, she wore layers of skirts and her face was rarely shown.
I don’t get it. So confused. Guess I”ll pour a jigger of rum and catch up on some Tom & Jerry reruns.