Arnoldo Mondadori signs his first agreement with Walt Disney.

Topolino (Mickey Mouse)

In 1935, after a “long courtship,” Arnoldo Mondadori succeeded in signing a contract with Walt Disney that culminated with the visit by Walt and his brother Roy to the Mondadori villa in Meina.

“Remember that it all began with a mouse.” These were the words the great American cartoonist used to warn his partners and it was from that mouse that Arnoldo Mondadori relaunched Topolino after the forced break in 1942 when the Cultural Ministry prohibited the publication of imported cartoons and blocked the publication of Topolino (which stopped with issue 564). This was an interruption that negatively affected the future of the magazine.

Topolino came back to the newsstands on December 15th,1945 presenting the same stories from the exact point in time where they had been stopped in 1942. In fact, the issue number used to resume the publication was 565. But it succeeded only partially in keeping the relationship with its public alive. The format used was the same, and on the eight weekly pages, among which four colour pages, there were also the adventures of other American heroes from Flash Gordon to Mandrake. But now the public was different.

This called for a radical transformation. On April 16th, 1949, a completely new Topolino was published, transformed into a monthly with a booklet format of 100 pages totally dedicated to Disney stories and with new numbering. The new issue started with number 1, and soon the new Topolino became as popular as it was before the war. However, a new problem arose - the lack of new stories. An autonomous production of stories and illustrations was promoted, and already in October 1949 Arnoldo could personally send to Disney the first episode of Inferno di Topolino, drawn by Angelo Bioletto and based on a screenplay by Guido Martina. This was the birth of a group of Italian authors that will grow in the 50s when Topolino, attracting a bigger public every day, became first a twice-monthly magazine in 1954 and then a weekly in 1960. The long relationship between Mondadori and Walt Disney Company for the publication of Topolino ended in 1988.