BEN AND ME (1953)
Article #1736 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-15-2005
Posting Date: 5-14-2006
Directed by Hamilton Luske
Featuring the voices of Sterling Holloway, Charles Ruggles, Hans Conried
A mouse helps Ben Franklin with his inventions.
Sometimes I wonder exactly what criteria goes into the selection of entries in some of the source books I use for compiling my hunt lists for this project. This Disney short is included in John Stanley’s Creature Features Strikes Again Movie Guide, which, for the most part, omits shorts. One would think that he would only make an exception for a short in which the fantastic aspects are particularly prominent, and though I don’t in any way question that the short is indeed a fantasy (talking mouse = fantastical creature), I don’t think it’s particularly more a fantasy than any number of other animated shorts (most of which also including talking nonhuman critters) that he does not include. Maybe he just really likes this one.
I can understand liking this one, though; it’s a charming and enjoyable short, featuring some very familiar voices and some fine animation. My wife suggested that there may be further fantastic content in the fact that it presents an alternate history of sorts, but even within the bounds of the story, the alternate history really registers no historical impact. I was wondering how much impact Amos the mouse had on Franklin’s legendary weakness for the feminine sex, but the short even touches upon this aspect (subtly, of course), and pretty much gives Franklin lone credit for that part of his story.