A 1968 anti-war film created by Milton Glaser has been making the internet rounds this week. The retro 16mm production features a very unofficial Mickey Mouse cartoon shipping off to serve in the Vietnam War, where, rather unfortunately, America's favorite rodent meets his fictional demise.
The story goes that Glaser, known for designing the iconic I ♥ NY logo, created the video with director Lee Savage for The Angry Arts Festival that year. The short protest animation was produced without the knowledge of Walt Disney, and had slipped under the popular culture radar in the decades after its debut. It resurfaced at last year's Sarajevo Film Festival and later on YouTube and Reddit.
The black and white footage is certainly not your average Disney storyline. "Mickey Mouse is a symbol of innocence, and of America, and of success, and of idealism, and to have him killed, as a soldier is such a contradiction of your expectations," Glaser explained in an interview with Buzzfeed last week.
But Glasner's creation is not the first time a Disney character has been co-opted to send a political message. Throughout the 1940s, one of Micky Mouse's close pals, Donald Duck, starred in a series of anti-Nazi propaganda shorts, meant to garner more support for American WWII efforts. With titles like “Der Fuehrer’s Face" and "Commando Duck," one of the films even won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, according to Open Culture.
Watch the various Disney-inspired war films above and let us know your thoughts on Glasner and Savage's project in the comments.