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In 1968, Lee Savage (father of Adam Savage, of MythBusters fame) and Milton Glaser (best known as the creator of New York's iconic "I ♥ NY" logo) collaborated to produce a short, silent animated film titled Mickey Mouse in Vietnam. It was created, primarily, as a form of protest towards the then-ongoing Vietnam War.

The underground, anti-war short ran just over a minute in length and (unofficially) starred Mickey Mouse, depicted as a happy-go-lucky recruit travelling to the war-torn country of Vietnam via boat. Upon his arrival, Mickey is almost immediately shot in the head, at which point he falls to the ground, blood trickling from the bullet wound as the film fades to black.[1] Shown exclusively to associates of Savage and Glaser from 1970 onward (bar the odd film festival screening), the short is rumoured to have attracted the unwanted attention of Disney's themselves, such to the point that they are said to have attempted to obtain and destroy as many prints of the film as was possible (this however, has never been proven and is generally considered false).

Mickey Mouse in Vietnam quickly faded into obscurity, where it remained for several decades, finally re-emerging momentarily via the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2010. In addition to the existence of the copy held by the Sarajevo Film Festival, it was also discovered that The Film-Makers' Coop in New York held a copy of the short as part of a 38 minute, 16mm collection reel titled For Life, Against the War (Selections)[2] and while the reel was technically available for rent, rental was restricted solely to relevant organisations (such as film festivals and museums); this made it very difficult to actually come across an opportunity to see the short, the closest thing being a brief series of online screenshots, the majority of which were originally published in the 1998 French book Bon Anniversaire, Mickey! (ie. Happy Birthday Mickey!).

Much to everyone's surprise, in April of 2013, a YouTube user by the name abadhiggins miraculously discovered, ripped and uploaded a copy of the silent short (albeit with System of a Down's "Soldier Side (Intro)" dubbed over the top of it), where it quickly gained traction, garnering the attention of both Glaser and Adam Savage (son of the late Lee Savage), who gave interviews and blog posts (respectively), on the short's re-discovery.[3][4] Perhaps most incredible of all is that, when abadhiggins was contacted regarding additional background information, it was revealed that he had purportedly discovered the relic in a scrap-film bin of sorts (presumably at an unnamed college or similar) and had, in fact, likely saved it from almost certain destruction.

For whatever reason, (likely fear of copyright-related penalties), abadhiggins has since removed his original upload, though a flood of mirrored versions have since appeared on various websites, one of which can be viewed above.

References

  1. MousePlanet Disney Cartoons That Aren't Disney article, in which the short is detailed; 28 Nov '07. Last retrieved 24 Sep '14.
  2. The Film-Makers' Coop's page on For Life, Against the War (Selections). Last retrieved 29 Aug '14.
  3. Buzzfeed article on the short, including an interview with Milton Glaser; 20 Jun '13. Last retrieved 29 Aug '14.
  4. Adam Savage's Tested blog post on the short's re-discovery; 22 Jun '13. Last retrieved 29 Aug '14.

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