Mickey Mouse’s Finances

It is established fact that I rarely make it through a book or article without some kind of interruption or distraction. Usually these are mundane interruptions: chores have to be done; dinner has to be cooked; children have to be put to bed. But sometimes, they make for delightful distractions.

Take last night, for instance. I sat in bed determined to make significant progress on Walt Disney: Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler. I’d been slacking off in my reading lately, and nothing was going to move me from this task.

I read perhaps three paragraphs before I came to an interesting footnote concerning some early Disney contracts in the late 1920s or early 1930s. I like footnote. Sometimes, I like them more than the book itself. This was a juicy one, packed with financial information about contracts. I got to the end of it and there was a citation to an article in Harpers called “Mickey Mouse’s Financial Career1.” The article appeared in the May 1934 issue of the magazine.

It so happens that I subsribe to Harper’s. I began subscribing several years back after reading E. B. White’s One Man’s Meat collection, which originally appeared in Harper’s in the late 1930s and early 1940s. And it so happens that, as a subscriber in good standing, I have access to Harper’s complete 170-year archive.

I considered my position of just a minute early, when I was determined not to let anything distract me from making progres on the Disney biography. It seemed that my position had changed. I went to Harper’s website, found the article, and proceeded to spend the next 25 minutes reading and enjoying it. It was well worth the distraction.

When I started the article, I promised myself that I would return to the book just as soon as I finished. When I finished the article, however, I was tired. It was after 10 pm, which is past my normal bedtime, so I set all book and articles aside, and went to bed.

Today, I will most certainly make good progress on the Disney biography. I think.

  1. This link requires a subscription to Harper’s but I figured I’d include it because I was sure someone would ask.



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