Somewhere today — if not in this country then in one of eighty-eight others — Walt Disneys "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is about to have its local premiére. Most of the local citizenry have known of its scheduled arrival for some time; a few first read of it in last nights paper; the rest, if there are any, cannot fail to notice that something is afoot. For overnight shop windows have become transformed. Yesterday they were displaying dresses, cereals, jewelry, stationery, glassware, and toys. Today, oddly, they all seem to be vending variants of the same commodity, created in the image of a story book princess and a troop of ugly but engaging little men.
To retailers and townsfolk the transformation is novel and exciting, but it is only a reenactment of what happened a few weeks before in Chicago and Trenton, New Orleans and New York, Boston and Cedar Rapids. In fact, the main street of almost any city testifies to the popularity of these new celebrities and to the astute merchandising which is following (but only apparently following) in its wake. For fat pocketbooks and thin ones, for grown-ups and children, there are bracelets at more than $100 and less than 50 cents, dresses for $39,50 and $3,95, books at $2, 50 cents, and 10 cents. Of the last, dealers have already bought more than 7,000,000, There are puzzles, silverware, hats, stationery, peanut butter, phonograph records, umbrellas—the list of lines runs on and on. Some not sold at retail are given away as manufacturers premiums. Certainly "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is the most dramatic example of a new force in merchandising. For the moment Popeye, Mickey Mouse, and Charlie McCarthy are in partial eclipse, but by no means should they be counted unimportant. Every day they, too, are moving their share of foods, alarm clocks, games, and other novelties. The inanimate characters of mass entertainment, in motion picture, comic strips, and radio, have become ranking salesmen. Indeed they have created a new dimension in fashion merchandising.