Monday, October 03, 2022

"Mickey: The Story Of A Mouse"

At the same time 'cancel culture' vultures are circling Disney's 'Mickey Mouse', comparing the original cartoon character to a 'Jim Crow' minstrel, the new documentary "Mickey : The Story of a Mouse", streams November 18, 2022 on Disney+:


"Commercial animation in the United States didn’t borrow from blackface minstrelsy, nor was it simply influenced by it, " writes author Nicholas Sammond in the book "Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation".

"American animation is actually in many of its most enduring incarnations an integral part of the ongoing iconographic and performative traditions of 'blackface'. 'Mickey Mouse' isn't like a minstrel. He is a minstrel."

Sammond insists the cartoon short "Steamboat Willie", the debut of Mickey Mouse in 1928... a classic example of the popular singing 'black minstrel' of the time.

In another cartoon short, "Mickey’s Mellerdrammer" (1933), 'Mickey' and girlfriend 'Minnie', wear the white gloves worn by black servants, performing their version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with a cast of cartoon animals in blackface. 

Instead of burnt cork, Mickey uses an exploding firecracker to apply his blackface, polished off with his 'Al Jolson' impression of "Mammy".

Click the images to enlarge...