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The Hand Behind the Mouse

[Click here to go to my Commentary page on The Hand Behind the Mouse, Leslie Iwerks's biography of her grandfather, Ub Iwerks.]

From Don Peri, a researcher and writer who has interviewed many Disney veterans: I agree with a good deal of what you said about The Hand Behind the Mouse. I did enjoy learning more about Ub Iwerks, a man I have always admired. But I also felt that at several points in the book an effort was made to build Ub up at Walt's expense. I don't think that does justice to either man. Ub certainly had many accomplishments on which his reputation can stand. I was particularly bothered about the claims made on Ub's behalf concerning the origins of Mickey Mouse. I am aware of only two primary sources, Walt and Ub. They each had their own version of what happened, and neither is here to debate the issue. All other versions are secondary at best. I like to think they collaborated on the development of Mickey, with Ub drawing the first cartoons and Walt supplying the personality that catapaulted Mickey out of the barnyard. I don't see any hard evidence to refute this idea. Thanks, Mike, for providing such a thorough review of this book and the other recent additions to animation history.

[Posted July 2003]