Walt Disney and the Founding Mouse

by Michael Potemra


When I was a kid, I saw a short animated film about a mouse who helps Benjamin Franklin at various key points in the Colonial era, and most notably at the time of the Declaration of Independence. I have remembered the movie with great fondness in subsequent years, but had not seen it since — yipes! — circa 1976. Until today: Thanks to a Facebook friend, Colin Fleming, I have discovered that the 20-minute movie, Walt Disney’s Ben and Me (1953) is available in its entirety on YouTube. (Part One is here; Part Two here.)

What a wonderful discovery, just in time for Independence Day. All of us have cause to be immensely proud, on this anniversary of our independence, of the great history of our country — and this sweet little movie is one way we can share that pride with our kids. And don’t even feel that you need to be a kid, or to have kids, to enjoy the movie: The film is visually witty, the Technicolor animation is gorgeous, and all of us, after all, are the children of our great Founding generation, and could do with an uplifting reminder of that.

Happy Fourth to everyone!