Watch the Long Lost Anti-War Short “Mickey Mouse in Vietnam”

Slate's Culture Blog
June 21 2013 4:28 PM

Watch the Long Lost Anti-War Short “Mickey Mouse in Vietnam”

mickey_vietnam_2
A still from "Mickey Mouse in Vietnam"

In 1968, Milton Glaser and Lee Savage made a very short, totally silent, anti-war film called “Mickey Mouse in Vietnam.” “It was for a thing called the Angry Arts Festival,” Glaser told Brian Galindo of BuzzFeed this week, “which was a kind of protest event, inviting artists to produce something to represent their concerns about the war in Vietnam and a desire to end it.”

The film, which has long been so hard to find that rumors circulated about its demise, was uploaded to YouTube earlier this year. According to one of the stories about its seeming disappearance, Disney “tried to destroy every copy they could get their hands on, with only a handful of prints said to exist/survive, in very select hands,” as Kevin Jagernauth of IndieWire put it this week. But the truth appears to be less dramatic: Glaser says that while there was “talk about Disney suing us … I think the consequence of that—everybody realized—would have been negative for Disney and would have no benefit. And obviously no profit was made out of the utilization of the character or the film, so nothing ever happened.”

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Why did the film disappear, then? The filmmakers’ “intent was to do it expressly for this one event, and that was the end of it,” Glaser says. He and Savage went on “to other ideas and other things,” and Savage died many years ago. “We certainly continued an ideological resistance to war, but we never followed it around or tried to promote or did anything once it was finished.”

Glaser, famous for designing the “I ♥ NY” logo and for co-founding New York Magazine, seems glad that the movie has resurfaced again, thanks to the Internet, and has caught on. “Well, that’s what you hope for, isn’t it?” he says to Galindo. “You hope in doing these things that they become visible and public, and up until now there was not a very effective mechanism for that type of occurrence.”

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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