Historic Mickey Mouse Shield: Mickey's Coat of Arms

Posted on Wed, 06/27/2018 - 14:29
Ickmay Ousmay

Ickmay Ousmay

A 1932 article in McCall’s magazine reported that painted on one door in red and gold is a shield bearing Mickey’s coat of arms. The mystic words “Ickmay Ousmay” are inscribed on this heraldic emblem and they puzzled studio visitors a good deal. But guests who recall a jargon almost universal among children grin and translate the gibberish into ‘Mickey Mouse.’ This was the language whereby dark secrets were kept from inquisitive adults.”

Passing on The Mickey Mouse Shield

In early 2012, Disney historian David Lesjak was researching and authoring a publication about the Disney studio on Hyperion Avenue in Los Angeles. He found McCall’s article, and searching for more information, discovered the owners of this special artifact that survived the destruction of Walt’s Hyperion Avenue studio buildings, and introduced them to Diane Disney Miller.  After negotiations with the Walt Disney Family Foundation, Eric and Thomas Curtis, the owners of the Mickey Mouse coat of arms, planned to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum and meet with Diane to pass on the treasure.

Ickmay Bio 2

Mickey Mouse Greeting Visitors

Eric and Thomas Curtis’ father, Thomas Stanley Curtis, had purchased the Hyperion buildings from Walt and Roy Disney in 1943, and the animation studio became the home of his optical company, Thomas S. Curtis Laboratories. When Mr. Curtis passed away in 1964, the family sold the property. Eric recalls the whimsical Mickey Mouse coat of arms on one of the doors greeting visitors when entering the main building, and reviewing plans of Disney’s Hyperion studio, he pointed out the location. It was Walt’s office (and, later, Roy’s).  Most of the studio’s doors had been painted over, but through the years, “Ickymay Ousmay” (Mickey Mouse in Pig Latin) was saved from the painter’s brush. Eric reported the crest was cut from the door by a co-worker and presented to him prior to the property’s sale. (Walt’s Hyperion studio buildings remained intact for two more years, but were demolished in October 1966.) 

In November 2012, Eric and Thomas came to the museum to pass on the Mickey Mouse coat of arms to Diane, so it could be preserved and presented to the many visitors at the museum.

Suspicions of How The Crest Came To Be

Walt’s desire to develop the art of animation impelled him to hold art classes for his employees. Disney artists have long been known for their sense of humor. Could this crest have been their playful response to being “sent to school”—a school perhaps called the “Ickymay Ousmay School of Cartooning”? You can now view this installation in the Awards Lobby at The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Visit Us and Learn More About Disney’s Amazing History 

Originally constructed in 1897 as an Army barracks, our iconic building transformed into The Walt Disney Family Museum more than a century later, and today houses some of the most interesting and fun museum exhibitions in the US. Explore the life story of the man behind the brand—Walt Disney. You’ll love the iconic Golden Gate Bridge views and our interactive exhibitions here in San Francisco. You can learn more about visiting us here.