Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Traffic Troubles - March 17, 1931

Mickey's 26th cartoon is the highly entertaining Traffic Troubles. The toon features great animation, fast-paced music, and a solid story.

Traffic Troubles features Mickey as a cab driver in the big city, a change of pace for this countryside critter. It was an interesting choice to give a face and personality to Mickey's cab, a characteristic also given to Mickey's train in Mickey's Choo-Choo. The technique gives life to a normally lifeless object and provides for more comic relief. Mickey's taxi here is like a mute Benny the Cab from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

It's not too long before Mickey finds his first customer of the day.

Because the customer is rather rotund, it's a hassle trying to load him into the cab. Mickey finally succeeds, but only after causing a major traffic jam.

The traffic jam does not go unnoticed by the street constable, played by Pete. After reprimanding Mickey, Pete sends the Mouse on his way.

The streets are jam-packed with various critters in cars. Sharp-eyed viewers will of course spot Horace Horsecollar in a quick cameo.

Like I said, it was a good choice to allow the cab to have a personality. The addition of facial expressions gives these scenes so much more life.

A great gag I enjoy occurs due to the many bumps in the road. Mickey notices his fare calculator keeps malfunctioning, adding more and more money to the cab cost. He's delighted, until another bump causes the fare to jump down to a measley $0.60! The look on the Mouse's face is priceless.

Even that $0.60 looks good after an extremely large road bump causes Mickey's customer to go flying out of the cab, leaving the Mouse with no profit. Of course you have to admire the irony that this well-to-do swine ends up covered in filthy mud.

With an open cab, Mickey is then able to pick up a frantic Minnie. Along the way, the two entertain themselves with some tunes.

Unfortunately, the cab comes to a screeching halt once its back tire is unexpectedly blown out. The license plate gag here is my favorite in the whole toon.

Mickey manages to find a nearby pig to use as a makeshift pump; however, the pig pump idea is nothing more than a bunch of hot air.

In enters Dr. Pep, a character also played by the talented Pete (notice how Pete dons his peg-leg for the part). Seeing a potential customer in Mickey, Dr. Pep gives the cab a free sample of his very own Snake Oil.

The Snake Oil has a horrible effect on the cab, causing it to sputter and spew about. Soon it bolts from the road and into the countryside.

The cab drives through the grass so quickly that it fails to notice the large rock in its path. Soon Mickey and Minnie are on a crazy ride inside a warped cab atop a terrified cow.

The resulting camera chase is very thrilling and funny. It is very similar to the cow chase in 1929's Plane Crazy.
The spooked cow manages to break through the back of a barn, emerging with frightened chickens in tow.

The chase finally comes to an end when the cow runs headfirst into a silo, and the screen is momentarily filled with feathers.

As the feathers settle, everyone seems to be ok; however, Mickey's cab is no more, reduced to a pile of shambles.

Traffic Troubles is definitely an entertaining and funny cartoon. As a side note, the film is available for viewing inside Disneyland's Main Street Cinema.

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