Floorboard Follies

1950 Cactus

Little Red Mouse, Disney, and Fascist Pigs

Finlay photo by Bernard F. Rogers

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.

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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).