Here’s Mickey Mouse as you’ve never seen him before. The 1955 Disney-produced Nash car commercial posted below is as modern as the mouse ever looked. The redesign came courtesy of Tom Oreb, whose original Mickey model sheet is above. Victor Haboush, who did background design on the commercial, told me what happened after the commercial aired:
There was a little kid that used to write Walt telling him to stay away from modern art because it’s Communisitc. So when the commercial came on, he got a letter from this kid, a little malcontent sitting somewhere, and he wrote, “I’m disappointed Walt. I never though you’d succumb. What happened to you?” and Walt went crazy. He stormed down there and outlawed us against using any of the Disney characters in the commercials. I remember at the time everbody was incensed that we couldn’t use them, and it basically spelled the end of the unit. [Companies] were coming for the celebrity; to be able to use Disney characters in their commercials.
(via Disney History)