Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome To Silly Symphonize

There's a new blog out there celebrating another facet of Disney animation: Silly Symphonize! A sister site to Mickey Mouse Follies, Silly Symphonize focuses on the Silly Symphonies cartoon series produced by the Walt Disney Company from 1929 to 1939. Full of details and photos from each cartoon, the site promises to give you info about this groundbreaking animated series.

Stop by and enjoy :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Grocery Boy - February 11, 1932

56th in the Mickey Mouse short film library is the gem The Grocery Boy. This toon stars Mickey as a grocery boy delivering food to sweetheart Minnie. Pluto also tags along and causes quite the disturbance.

The toon opens with Grocery Boy Mickey preparing a basket of food for one of his loyal customers. He and pal Pluto delightfully weigh potatoes.

Suddenly the phone rings. On the line is a very agitated Minnie Mouse wondering where on earth her groceries are.

Mickey assures his love that her food is on the way, and just for good measure he "gives" her a kiss through the telephone. By this time, Mickey's and Minnie's relationship has been firmly established by their films together. It's funny and cute to see Mickey act like a love-sick teenager.

Minnie immediately hangs up the phone, appalled by Mickey's crass behavior. Of course, any girl can't help but smile after being given a kiss by Mickey Mouse.

As Mickey hurries over to Minnie's house (it's literally about 3 houses over), Minnie prepares herself for her boyfriend's arrival by putting on her face. The gag used her is great as Minnie pulls a puff out from her...chest.

Minnie is in love with Mickey, but she still enjoys being the diva every now and again. Once Mickey delivers the food, Minnie decides to give him the cold shoulder.

Believing Minnie really does want him to leave, Mickey reaches for what he thinks is the door handle only to find the ironing closet. As the ironing board crashes down on his head, the iron itself smashes his face flat.

Distraught over Mickey's injury, Minnie rushes to her lover's side. Her kiss upon Mickey's head bump allows it to magically disappear.

With their love banter over, Mickey and Minnie can start making dinner. As Minnie stirs the cake mix, Mickey peels beans while the pots on the stove bubble over-- all to music of course!

As the mice are busy, hungry Pluto spots the turkey just sitting in the oven. Minnie immediately catches the dog eying the meal, and her screams cause Pluto to run for his life with turkey in mouth.

The chase is on as Mickey runs after Pluto to save the turkey from certain destruction.

Pluto manages to get the tablecloth wrapped around his body, and as Mickey hangs on for dear life a bust of Napoleon knocks off its pedestal and onto the Mouse's head.

The Grocery Boy is part of the banned toons "From the Vault" because of this scene where the Napoleon head bust becomes a blackface character after Pluto crashes into the furnace.

Finally Minnie and Mickey manage to corner Pluto under the dining table. But the pup gets the upper hand as he pulls the turkey from Mickey's hands. At the same time, Minnie accidentally causes the table to expand, and the beautiful cake she made splats onto Mickey's head.

In the end, the dinner doesn't matter as long as these two lovebirds are together.

The Grocery Boy is a simple story with a lot of heart. The toon greatly showcases Mickey's and Minnie's personalities, and it's always fun to watch the two fall even more in love with each other.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Duck Hunt - January 1, 1932

The Duck Hunt is the 55th film in Mickey's cartoon series. The toon stars Mickey and his best pal Pluto enjoying the thrill of hunting in nature.

The film opens with the Mouse and his pup walking cheerfully and briskly out in the woods. Just look at that beautiful animated reflection on the water.

This toon is full of sight gags such as the inclusion of Pluto's fleas. As Mickey and Pluto march through the forest, so do the fleas from Pluto's back.

Soon the hunters come upon a group of ducks playing in a nearby pond; however, the ducks cleverly manage to make themselves scarce once they sense danger approaching by becoming harmless lily pads.

Luckily Mickey has a plan to lure the unsuspecting ducks into his trap. As he waits in the reeds, he sends Pluto out into the pond with a decoy duck.

Curious of the new stranger, the ducks come out of hiding; one is even brave enough to get close to the decoy.

Meanwhile, Mickey sees his chance and aims his gun; unfortunately, nothing happens when he presses the trigger. Annoyed, the Mouse shakes the weapon vigorously, causing it to fire into the air above.

The bullets manage to hit a tree's branch, which promptly falls into Mickey boat and onto the gun. Unaware he now has a twisted weapon, Mickey shoots and causes a massive hole in his boat.

For a few seconds, it looks like curtains for our hero. Luckily, the pond is only 2 feet or so deep, allowing the Mouse to stand! Still unaware of his broken gun, Mickey again fires. This time the gun breaks in half and flies off.

The broken gun lands on the decoy duck, exposing its true identity. Angered, the real duck calls for an attack.

At once, a gaggle of ducks dives from the sky, picking poor Pluto up and out of the pond by his ears.

Mickey rushes to help Pluto, but his efforts to ground the pup are useless against the strength of the ducks.

The vicious ducks cause all sorts of terrible things to happen to the Mouse. Mickey runs into a flock of geese...

...he is brutally punished as he repeatedly is beaten by a windmill...

...and is dragged across a roof, breaking every tile and eventually running into a chimney.

Finally Mickey is able to stop the duck's attack by wrapping his legs around a weather vane. The ducks manage to twist the Mouse and his pup around and around until the two are thrown off into the sky.

As the pair hurtles towards the ground, perhaps the funniest gag in the film appears when Pluto's fleas parachute off his butt. Hilarious!

All ends well though when Mickey and Pluto safely land in a pair of long underwear. Pluto's fleas also manage to survive the drop as they too land safely back on their host. All together a great cartoon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mickey's Orphans - December 9, 1931

54th in Mickey's cartoon series is Mickey's Orphans. Just in time for Christmas, this toon takes on a holiday theme. This toon is special due tot he fsct it is the Mouse's very first Christmas-themed film.

The film opens dramatically on a hooded figure out in a chilling blizzard. On her arm she carries a covered basket. She soon comes upon a small, lighted house and peers inside the inviting window.

Inside the home are none other than Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto. As Minnie plays Christmas tunes on the organ, Mickey trims the tree jovially while Pluto sleeps by the warm fireplace.

Satisfied with what she sees, the stranger drops her basket on the doorstep and disappears into the night. The present is soon discovered by Pluto and Mickey; the pair are pleased to find a kitten under the blanket. Let's pause here to take in the irony of a pair of mice taking care of a baby kitten...

But wise Pluto soon discovers that the basket doesn't hide just one kitten but an entire litter! The young cats are out of control as they swarm upon Mickey, Minnie, and their humble abode.

The litter descends upon the house, playing with and breaking everything in sight. But even with all this destruction, they still remain to be so cute!

Two kittens set their sights upon poor Pluto. No wonder the pup is no fan of pesky little felines.

One kitten even causes the pet bird grief. Remember how this bird has made various appearances since 1928's Steamboat Willie?

As pesky as these critters are, there is one cute scene when a kitten asks Minnie for a special something. Based on the animation, it looks as though the kitty needs the bathroom pronto. But...

...he actually just wants to satisfy his sweet tooth. Minnie gives him a delicious candy cane straight from the Christmas tree, and the kitten does a great impression of Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character.

Wanting to entertain and surprise the litter, Minnie whispers something to Mickey. The Mouse leaves hurriedly with a grin and a twinkle in his eye, returning moments later, with a bag of toys and a very special "reindeer".

The bag of toys is just too enticing to the kittens, and they rush Mickey Claus. Strangely, the bag is full of dangerous objects such as hammers and saws.

One kitten is brave enough to venture up to Mickey and ask, "are you Santa Claus?" Mickey shyly nods yes, only to get a face full of spit from the nasty little feline. As if that isn't enough, the brat pulls Mickey's beard and runs away, leaving the Mouse dazed and confused.

The other cats turn their evilness on Pluto the "reindeer" by attacking him with a toy cannon. The tables are hilariously turned however when Pluto gains the upper hand... or rear.

Then again the blame could be given to Mickey for giving the destructive cats toys like cannons and toy guns. Tsk tsk.

A seemingly harmless toy construction digger turns into a tool of evil in the hands of a kitten. As one kitten plays up the cuteness factor in order to distract Mickey, his cohort dumps hot coals into the Mouse's shorts. The result is not pretty.

Finally, it comes time to reveal the biggest surprise of all: the tree! Minnie dutifully announces the unveiling by bugle, and Mickey draws back the curtains to reveal a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

All at once the kittens rush the tree and pluck every last ornament from its branches, including the pine needles!

As the litter runs away screaming and laughing, Mickey and Minnie are left gazing at their bare Christmas tree. Perhaps the two ponder how it's possible for hours of decorating to be destroyed in mere seconds. Or perhaps the pair wonder what sort of mother taught her children to act so violently.

One thing's for sure: the kittens must go!

Mickey's Orphans is today certainly an entertaining film, and critics back in 1932 also agreed. The short was nominated for an Academy Award at the 5th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony. The film lost to another Disney short: Flowers and Trees.