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Disney, Texas Jack, & Antiques Roadshow

In a recent episode of PBS's "Antiques Roadshow," a piece of Americana sparked the imaginations and nostalgia of viewers as an original Mickey Mouse comic strip was unveiled. The artwork, with its fine lines and charismatic rendering of the beloved cartoon character as a Wild West cowboy, was revealed to be the handiwork of Walt Disney himself. Notably, the piece bore a whimsical sign-off from Disney: "Hello - Howdy - Texas Jack - Sincerely - Walt Disney," a salute to the enduring symbol of the cowboy and the spirit of the Wild West. This 1937 treasure, a snapshot of animation history and Western lore combined, was appraised at an impressive value of between $15,000 and $20,000, a testament to the lasting appeal of Disney's creations and the iconic figure of Texas Jack Omohundro.

Walt Disney's choice to sign off with "Hello - Howdy - Texas Jack" alongside his name on an original piece of Mickey Mouse comic strip artwork is a telling nod to the enduring legacy of the cowboy and the American West. In 1937, some 57 years after Texas Jack Omohundro's death, his name still carried the essence of the cowboy ethos and the untamed spirit of the Wild West. The iconic Mickey Mouse depicted as a cowboy reflects Disney's understanding that the cowboy, embodied by figures like Texas Jack, was an archetype ingrained in American culture.

Omohundro was more than just a cowboy; he was a performer, a scout, and one of the earliest cowboy stars of the American stage alongside his contemporaries, "Buffalo Bill" Cody and "Wild Bill" Hickok. His life was a tapestry of adventure, from guiding cattle drives across treacherous territories to performing in Wild West shows that captivated audiences with the myths and legends of frontier life.

The fact that Disney, a master storyteller and animator, would evoke Texas Jack in a comic strip attests to the cowboy star's influence. It was a symbol understood by audiences then as it is now—a shorthand for the adventure, independence, and rugged individualism that the West represented. This choice by Disney underscores the lasting impact of Texas Jack on American pop culture, symbolizing the spirit of a bygone era that still captured the public's imagination in the 20th century, and continues to do so today.

Mickey Mouse from the Buffalo Bill's Wild West show at Disney Paris.

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