Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Barnyard Concert - April 10, 1930

The Barnyard Concert is Mickey's 16th cartoon and is also historic in its own way. This toon was the first to showcase the Mickey Head with a sunburst behind it; with the advent of color in later years, this opening would go on to become one of the character's most popular cartoon trademarks.

The toon also showcases a brand new title card design. Comparing the new title card with the old one used for the toon Jungle Rhythm, it's easy to tell the major difference: Mickey and Minnie's design. The original title card used the designs for the mice seen in Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho, which is strange since by Steamboat Willie both characters were redrawn with pupil-less eyes.

The Barnyard Concert opens with Mickey passionately conducting his orchestra made up of various farm animals.

One thing I really enjoy is the fantastic animation of Mickey. His movements and facial expressions are so fluid that you really can tell the Disney animators have started to refine their craft.

Making an appearance as a flutist is Clarabelle Cow. Like Minnie, Clarabelle is seen sometimes with and sometimes without her flowered hat. We have yet to see Clarabelle in any form of clothing, like Mickey and Minnie, and I have to say that I'm excited to find out which cartoon marks that debut.

Also naked as can be is percussionist Horace Horsecollar, who seems to be using one of Clarabell's cousins as a musical instrument.

Because this toon has a very limited story (the animals just play music and nothing more), it is very gag-driven. One of the funnier gags is this one of a pig trumpeter who keeps losing his wig.

Another clever gag centers around another pig trumpeter who keeps playing the wrong, sour note. A frustrated Mickey tries to figure out the problem, and upon closer inspection it is discovered that a fly pretending to be a note is the cause of the confusion.

It must have been hard on the storymen to constantly think up fresh gags, which is why recurring gags are sometimes seen. This one of Mickey pulling the tails of piglets harkens back to Steamboat Willie.

The Barnyard Concert is certainly not one of Mickey's best shorts; it's just an ok cartoon. The film probably seems familiar to most people because it bears much resemblance to 1935's The Band Concert, Mickey's first color cartoon (and one which I suspect is a remake of this toon).

No comments: