Friday, February 04, 2011

Soldier, Do You Have a Light?

Earlier this week we unveiled our second wave of Disney-designed World War II insignia in the 2719 Hyperion Exhibition Hall.  As we have noted, we found the emblems and their identifications inside issues of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.  Another notable use for the designs was on matchbooks.  According to author Walton Rawls in his book Disney Dons Dogtags:
"There were at least two series of matchbooks featuring Disney-designed military insignia, one of which, produced by the Maryland Match Company for the National Match Company, runs to twelve or more and appears to have been intended for use by the units themselves.  The other series, produced by D.D. Dean and Sons, is clearly an advertising gimmick for Pepsi-Cola and runs to forty-eight separate matchbooks."
The Maryland Match Company series actually included twenty-four designs in total, and were distinguished by their bright yellow color.  Both series duplicated many of the designs published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.

According to Rawls, Disney granted the United States Government "exclusive and perpetual right and license" to reproduce and use the designs, but it appeared that they did not want any commercial endeavors to extend beyond military channels.  It remains a mystery how Pepsi-Cola secured licensing for their matchbooks under these particular circumstances.

Matchbook images from