Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Plowboy - June 28, 1929

8th in Mickey Mouse's series of shorts is 1929's The Plowboy. The toon gets back to Mickey's and Minnie's country roots and features the pair working on a farm.

The Plowboy also features Horace Horsecollar in his second cartoon appearance (his more primitive version was seen in The Barn Dance). Horace's design has changed minutely in this short with the addition of his bowler hat, giving him that rough-and-tough wise guy look. Yet even though he has gained more personality, Horace is still portrayed as an animal rather than a "person" like Mickey; this would change in future toons.

Minnie is dressed in her farm bonnet singing away while playing her one-stringed guitar (or perhaps it's meant to be a ukelele). The ukelele was previously seen in Steamboat Willie when Minnie was running to catch the boat. It's nice to see the Disney animators get some use out of the prop.

Though ultimately this cow will become her in later toons, I hesistate to call her Clarabelle because she lacks so much personality. Whereas Horace is presented with so much vigor and clear attitude, this cow is nothing more than just a cow. A similar cow appeared in Plane Crazy, but that cow was even more generic than this one. In any case, I thought it would be important to at least document that very primitive forms of Clarabelle are present in these early shorts.

The toon really begins to gain momentum once an angry bee decides to have a little fun by stinging Horace directly on the rump.

What follows is an interesting shot that is basically the reverse version of the POV shot from Plane Crazy. Horace, aching with pain, runs toward the camera with a helpless Mickey in tow.

A funny and rather bizarre gag is seen when a goat, chicken, and pig get spooked by Horace and run into a tree. Strangely the animals all blend together to form a "gochig".

In the end Horace manages to break Mickey's plow on a rock, leaving the poor mouse with no way to finish his work.

Always the thinker, Mickey decides to use a helpless pig as a living plow in order to finish his work. It seems Mickey is not yet above animal cruelty.

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