Hallmark has had a license to create Disney ornaments for years, but in 2012 they started a new series of ornaments focused exclusively on Mickey Mouse's shorts. In addition to releasing the first in the series this year, they also released Traffic Troubles, a limited edition piece focusing on one of Mickey's old black and white adventures.
I have to admit that I had to pull out my DVD of the short to watch it again. The short finds Mickey working as a taxi driver with a run down old car. Several things go wrong with the car as he tries to get two fares, the second one being Minnie, to their destinations.
This ornament features Mickey driving his taxi. The back of the car is enclosed, so we can't tell who is back there, but Mickey is sitting up front with his hands on the wheel. The front of the car has eyes in the headlights and a small smile at the bottom of his grill. Yes, the car in the cartoon is alive, and this ornament captures that as well. Mickey is sculpted to look like his 1931 self, so not quite the way he looks today, but also not as rough as he was in 1928. When you look at the back of the car, you see the license plate from the cartoon (O-Heck) and details on the canvas covering for the passenger section. And all four wheels have patches on them, which is accurate as well. The wheels actually turn, and the patches make for a rough ride for Mickey and the car.
Also, did I mention that the ornament is in sepia tones? The original short was in black and white, and that's reflected here. While Mickey is truly black where he should be (ears, arms, etc.), the car is mostly shades of gray. The canvas top is darker than the body. Ironically enough, the wheels are white.
Assuming you don't have the wheels sitting on the patches, the ornament will sit flat. And you can roll it and play with it if you really wish, although I wouldn't recommend it as a toy for kids. I'm sure Mickey would break easily if you weren't careful with it. The ornament is best used for its intended purpose, hanging on the tree.
You'll find the hook for hanging on the top of the taxi near the sign in front. The ornament is perfectly balanced, and if there's a lean or dip anywhere, I sure can't find it.
As a fun added detail, you can find the name of the cartoon and release year painted on the bottom of the car. It's a little easy to see, although in the middle of tree branches you probably won't notice.
You'll want to be sure to put this one on a sturdy branch because it is heavier than it looks, but not so bad that it won't stay on a medium or larger sized branch.
I don't know if Hallmark is officially considering this a companion piece to their new Mickey's Movie Mousterpieces series, but I know I am. It fits perfectly with the idea of featuring Mickey is a scene from one of his classic shorts. The only reason I am not completely certain is that this ornament was sculpted by Don Palmiter while the official series piece was sculpted by Ken Crow. Maybe they'll both be working on the series? Only time will tell. All I know was I wanted to add this to my collection.
And I wasn't the only one. Fortunately, I had one set aside for me because by the time I was able to go ornament shopping in the afternoon on the day of release, all the stores I went to had sold out of this one. Frankly, that surprises me because being in black and white, I figured it wouldn't be that popular.
I guess there are enough Disnerds like me out there to make it popular. An ornament themed around a particular Mickey Mouse short is a must have. And it really is great. The detail is wonderful, and the sepia colors are perfect. Obviously, Don really studied the cartoon as he was sculpting this because all the little details are perfect. I love it.
So if you happened to miss the Traffic Troubles ornament, you'll want to be sure to track one down. It will have a proud place in my Disney ornament collection.
Looking for the short? It was part of Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2.
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Amount Paid (US$): 14.95