Ben and Me

Ben and Me is a 1953 American animated two-reel short subject produced by Walt Disney Productions and released theatrically on November 10, 1953.[1] It was adapted from the children's book written by author/illustrator Robert Lawson and first published in 1939. Though both book and film deal with the relationship between a mouse and American founding father Benjamin Franklin, the book, with illustrations by Lawson, focused more heavily on actual historical events and personages, and included incidents from Franklin's French career at Versailles.

Ben and Me
Mini-Classics Artwork
Directed byHamilton Luske
Produced byWalt Disney
Story byRobert Lawson (novel)
Bill Peet (screen story)
Winston Hibler
Del Connell
Ted Sears (adaptation)
StarringSterling Holloway
Charlie Ruggles
June Foray
Hans Conried
Bill Thompson
Narrated bySterling Holloway
Music byOliver Wallace
Animation byWolfgang Reitherman
John Lounsbery
Cliff Nordberg
Marvin Woodward
Hugh Fraser
Eric Cleworth
Ollie Johnston
Hal King
Les Clark
Don Lusk
Harvey Toombs
Jerry Hathcook
George Rowley (effects)
Layouts byAl Zinnem
Hugh Hennesy
Thor Putnam
Backgrounds byAl Dempster
Thelma Witmer
Dick Anthony
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
November 10, 1953 (1953-11-10)
Running time
21 minutes
CountryUnited States

The short received an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Subject, Two-reel.[2] It was released in VHS format under the Walt Disney Mini-Classics label in 1989 and was later released on DVD as a short film in the "Disney Rarities" volume of the Walt Disney Treasures collection. It was also released on DVD in 2012 under the Disney Generations Collection.

This short was also notable for being the second release on the Buena Vista Distribution label, with the first being Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, released on the same day. On its release, Ben and Me was packaged with the True-Life Adventure documentary The Living Desert. When Disney's regular distributor RKO Radio Pictures resisted the idea of a full-length True-Life Adventure, Disney formed his own distribution company to handle future Disney releases.[3]

In DTV, the short was set to Stevie Wonder's For Once in My Life.


In present day, two tour groups are simultaneously visiting a statue of Benjamin Franklin. The human tour group in front of the statue discusses Franklin's life and achievements, while the leader of a mouse tour group which is standing at the top of Franklin's hat reveals the contributions of a mouse named Amos to Franklin's career.

In 1745, Amos, the eldest of twenty-six siblings living in the Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania decides to leave his family - thus relieving them of another mouse (mouth) to feed - and find work somewhere. After no luck, and while trying to take shelter from a freezing and snowy night, Amos befriends Benjamin Franklin in his printing shop. Eventually Amos aids in Franklin's publishing, inventing, and political career. Amongst Amos' contributions were making bifocals, inspiring Franklin to build the Franklin stove and suggesting how to fix a major problem with it, and encouraging Franklin to print an event-oriented newspaper which Amos names the Pennsylvania Gazette.

After Ben's experiments with electricity endanger Amos' life, especially in Ben's kite experiment, Amos leaves Ben, ignoring Ben's pleas for him to return, and moves back in with his family.

Years later, Franklin is sent to England as part of a colonial attempt to reason with the king. But the mission is a failure. Franklin tells the crowd when he gets off a boat that "The King was unreasonable. He wouldn't listen." Amos, hearing this and seeing the confusion and anger of the colonists—realizes that he could help, but he initially refuses. Amos and Franklin finally resolve their disagreements in the midst of the American Revolution, and Amos and Franklin play a key role aiding Thomas Jefferson with the drafting of the United States Declaration of Independence.



  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 153. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7.
  2. ^ Ben and Me on IMDb
  3. ^ Mosley, Leonard. The Disney Films. Bonanza Books, 1978, pg. 115.
  4. ^ Korkis, Jim. "Jim Korkis on Disney's "Ben and Me"". Cartoon Research. Retrieved May 26, 2020.

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