Short Subject aka "Mickey Mouse in Vietnam" (found unofficial animated short film; 1968)

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Mickey sarajevo.jpg

Screenshot originally supplied by the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Status: Found

Date found: 22 Apr '13 (original version) / 31 Jul '18 (complete version)

Found by: abadhiggins (original version) / CDCB2 (complete version)

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 Short Subject. It has been more commonly referred to as Mickey Mouse in Vietnam. The short was created, primarily, as a form of protest towards the then-ongoing Vietnam War.

Plot

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 abruptly ends.[1]

Availability

Shown exclusively to associates of Savage and Glaser from 1970 onward (bar the odd film festival screening), the short is rumored to have attracted the unwanted attention of Disney's themselves, much 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).

Short Subject quickly faded into obscurity, where it remained for several decades, finally re-emerging momentarily at 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) and while the reel was technically available for rent, rental was restricted solely to relevant organizations (such as film festivals and museums); this made it tough 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! (i.e.,. Happy Birthday Mickey!).[2]

Findings

Much to everyone's surprise, in April of 2013, a Youtuber by the name of "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. Perhaps most incredible of all is that, when abadhiggins was contacted regarding additional background information, it was revealed that he had purportedly discovered the short in a scrap film bin of sorts (presumably at an unnamed college or similar) and had likely saved it from simply being thrown away or destroyed.

Possibly due to fear of copyright-related penalties, abadhiggins has since removed his original upload, though a flood of mirrored versions has since appeared on various websites.

Five years after the original short was found, YouTuber CDCB2 discovered a VHS copy of the short that had the original soundtrack intact (as well as previously missing opening and closing titles) and uploaded it on July 31, 2018.

Gallery

The original copy of the short.
The VHS copy of the short (with soundtrack and title plus the end cards.

External Links

References