Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan, & Bill Roberts (1947)

Fun and Fancy Free is a 1947 animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released on September 27, 1947 by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the ninth Disney animated feature film and the fourth of the package films that the studio produced in the 1940s to save money during World War II. The Disney package films of the late 1940s helped finance Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

This film is a compilation of two stories: Bongo, narrated by Dinah Shore which is loosely based on the short story Little Bear Bongo by Sinclair Lewis, and Mickey and the Beanstalk, narrated by Edgar Bergen which is based on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale. Though the film is primarily animated, it also uses live-action segments to join its two stories. Mickey and the Beanstalk marked the last time that Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse, as he was too busy on other projects to continue voicing the character. Disney replaced himself with sound-effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.

Wilfred Jackson (1931)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Egyptian Melodies is a 1931 Silly Symphonies animated short cartoon produced by Walt Disney and directed by Wilfred Jackson. It follows a brave little spiders journey into the heart of a dark and eerie Egyptian tomb where he awakens several mummies from their slumber who begin to dance as the hieroglyphics come to life.

When a curious spider makes his way into the tomb of an ancient Egyptian, he discovers the strange wall paintings (and Mummies) have come to life for him.

The background animation of the trip through the pyramid was re-used in the Mickey Mouse cartoon The Mad Doctor. And the spider of this cartoon is graphically very close to that of another Silly Symphonies cartoon, The Spider and the Fly.

David Hand (1933)

The Mad Doctor is a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon released in 1933.
It is known as the first appearance of the title character “The Mad Doctor”, or “Dr. XXX”.

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in the United Kingdom, as well as Nazi Germany.

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in England.

The short’s title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in which he was seen on a picture. You can view Tummy Trouble by following this link: https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/04/08/roger-rabbit-in-tummy-trouble/

This cartoon is one of a few Disney shorts that lapsed into the public domain.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. In the film, four human skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard — a modern film example of medieval European “danse macabre” imagery.
It was the first entry in the Silly Symphony series.

The origins for The Skeleton Dance can be traced to mid-1928, when Walt Disney was on his way to New York to arrange a distribution deal for his new Mickey Mouse cartoons and to record the soundtrack for his first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. During a stopover in Kansas City, Disney paid a visit to his old acquaintance Carl Stalling, then an organist at the Isis Theatre, to compose scores for his first two Mickey shorts, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. While there, Stalling proposed to Disney a series of “musical novelty” cartoons combining music and animation, which would become the genesis for the Silly Symphony series, and pitched an idea about skeletons dancing in a graveyard. Stalling would eventually join Disney’s studio as staff composer. Animation on The Skeleton Dance began in January 1929, with Ub Iwerks animating the majority of the film in almost six weeks.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

Happy Halloween!

Outside on a cold windy night that’s fit for neither man nor beast, Mickey Mouse finds himself in need of shelter, and seeks it in a scary house looming nearby.  Upon entering the house, the front door locks itself, trapping Mickey inside. This house is haunted, and is full of spiders, bats, and the sounds of ghosts. Mickey runs into a hallway to escape the scary sounds, but the lights go out. When Mickey lights a match to illuminate his surroundings, he sees a dark figure in a hooded cloak.

Again, Mickey runs, but he is cornered by the figure and several skeleton ghosts. With a single word, the figure orders Mickey to “play” the piano in the room.

Mickey obliges, and he plays music for his skeletal patrons, who dance and celebrate amid the entertainment.

While they are blissfully distracted, Mickey makes a break for it and runs out of the room. Everywhere he turns he finds a dead end – usually with more skeletons. He eventually dives out a window, lands in a barrel of skeletons, escapes, and runs away to his freedom. Phew!

The Haunted House was released on December 2, 1929. It is full of goofy gags and hyjinx, though it is somewhat frightening at its core. It was released by Celebrity Productions, under Pat Powers, as part of the Mickey Mouse film series. The cartoon was produced by Walt Disney Productions, and directed by Walt Disney himself (Walt also provided the voice of Mickey). Disney Legend Ub Iwerks was the primary animator for the short, and Carl Stalling wrote the original music

The Haunted House was the first scary short starring Mickey, but it was not the first scary cartoon released by Disney. That honor belongs to The Skeleton Dance – a Silly Symphony cartoon released earlier in 1929.  In fact, The Haunted House borrowed a bit of animation from the Skeleton Dance.

Walt Disney (1942)

Disney animators tour South America and present four animated shorts inspired by their trip.

Saludos Amigos is a 1942 American live-action animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th Disney animated feature film. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. At 42 minutes, it is Disney’s shortest animated feature to date.

Directed by Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Norman Ferguson, and Bill Roberts.

Story written by Homer Brightman, William Cottrell, Richard Huemer, Joe Grant, Harold Reeves, Ted Sears, Webb Smith, Roy Williams, and Ralph Wright.

In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. This was being done because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockefeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.

The film itself was given federal loan guarantees, because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).

The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America. Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludos Amigos “did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years”.

The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America’s most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney’s comic characters.

Ub Iwerks (1935)

Balloon Land is a 1935 animated short cartoon film produced and directed by Ub Iwerks as part of the ComiColor Cartoons series. The cartoon is about a place called Balloon Land, whose residents are made entirely out of balloons. The villain in the cartoon is the Pincushion Man, a character who walks around Balloon Land popping the inhabitants with pins.

Starring Billy Bletcher as the Pincushion Man and Leone LeDoux as the Balloon Alarm Babies.

Ub Iwerks was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney and won numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

The ComiColor Cartoon series is a series of 25 animated short subjects produced by Ub Iwerks from 1933 to 1936. The series was the last produced by Iwerks Studio; after losing distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1934, the Iwerks studio’s senior company Celebrity Pictures had to distribute the films itself. The series was shot exclusively in Cinecolor, a two-color process.

Most of the ComiColor entries were based upon popular fairy tales and other familiar stories, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Old Mother Hubbard, The Bremen Town Musicians, and The Headless Horseman.

Wilfred Jackson & Walt Disney (1935)

The Band Concert is an animated short film produced in 3-strip Technicolor by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. It was the 73rd Mickey Mouse short film to be released, and the second of that year. The Band Concert was the first Mickey Mouse film produced in color.

The Band Concert was directed by Wilfred Jackson and featured adapted music by Leigh Harline. The only speaking character in the film is Donald Duck who is performed by voice actor Clarence Nash. The film remains one of the most highly acclaimed of the Disney shorts. The story is about a small music band conducted by Mickey Mouse which struggles through a distraction-filled public performance.

Although The Band Concert did not receive any Academy Award nominations, it has nonetheless become one of the most highly acclaimed Disney short films.

“None of the dozens of works produced in America at the same time in all the other arts can stand comparison with this one.”

Gilbert Seldes, Esquire Magazine

The Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was such a fan of The Band Concert that he saw it six times in the theater and later invited Walt Disney to his home in Italy.

“one of the best cartoons ever made anywhere… There are nuances of expression in Mickey’s character throughout this film that had seldom been explored in earlier shorts. The pacing is also entirely different from the standard Mickey Mouse comedies of the early thirties. Instead of trying to pack in a thousand gags a minute, The Band Concert takes its time and builds to a crescendo.”

Leonard Maltin, Film Critic

Ub Iwerks (1935)

Flora and fauna come out to celebrate the beginning of summertime, but old Man winter just doesn’t want to let go yet.

The sun gathers its strength to shine bright and melt the ice of Winter so that Spring may begin. However, Old Man Winter is unwilling to go quietly. He tricks the groundhog into believing that he has seen his shadow so that Winter can be prolonged. The other creatures of the forest ban together to ward off Old Man Winter, with fauns and centaurs leading the battle.

Ub Iwerks was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney and won numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

Animated by Steve Bosustow, Jimmie Culhane, Al Eugster, Grim Natwick, & Berny Wolf.

Burt Gillett (1937)

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Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

Spend this Devil’s Night with Mickey and the gang as they attempt to eradicate three ghosts from an abandoned haunted house. Lonesome Ghosts is a 1937 Disney animated cartoon, released through RKO Radio Pictures on December 24, 1937, three days after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its debut. It was directed by Burt Gillett, written by Dick Friel, and animated by Izzy Klein, Ed Love, Milt Kahl, Marvin Woodward, Bob Wickersham, Clyde Geronimi, Dick Huemer, Dick Williams, Art Babbitt, and Rex Cox.

This short marked the first use of one of Goofy’s catchphrases, “Somethin’ wrong here!”.

David Hand (1933)

The Mad Doctor is a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon released in 1933.
It is known as the first appearance of the title character “The Mad Doctor”, or “Dr. XXX”.

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in the United Kingdom, as well as Nazi Germany.

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in England.

The short’s title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in which he was seen on a picture. You can view Tummy Trouble by following this link: https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/04/08/roger-rabbit-in-tummy-trouble/

This cartoon is one of a few Disney shorts that lapsed into the public domain.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

Happy Halloween!

Hobo Moon Cartoons aims to preserve the beloved Halloween classics of yesteryear for future generations to enjoy!

The Skeleton Dance is a 1929 Silly Symphony animated short subject produced and directed by Walt Disney and animated by Ub Iwerks. In the film, four human skeletons dance and make music around a spooky graveyard — a modern film example of medieval European “danse macabre” imagery.
It was the first entry in the Silly Symphony series.

The origins for The Skeleton Dance can be traced to mid-1928, when Walt Disney was on his way to New York to arrange a distribution deal for his new Mickey Mouse cartoons and to record the soundtrack for his first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie. During a stopover in Kansas City, Disney paid a visit to his old acquaintance Carl Stalling, then an organist at the Isis Theatre, to compose scores for his first two Mickey shorts, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. While there, Stalling proposed to Disney a series of “musical novelty” cartoons combining music and animation, which would become the genesis for the Silly Symphony series, and pitched an idea about skeletons dancing in a graveyard. Stalling would eventually join Disney’s studio as staff composer. Animation on The Skeleton Dance began in January 1929, with Ub Iwerks animating the majority of the film in almost six weeks.

Ub Iwerks (1929)

Happy Halloween!

Outside on a cold windy night that’s fit for neither man nor beast, Mickey Mouse finds himself in need of shelter, and seeks it in a scary house looming nearby.  Upon entering the house, the front door locks itself, trapping Mickey inside. This house is haunted, and is full of spiders, bats, and the sounds of ghosts. Mickey runs into a hallway to escape the scary sounds, but the lights go out. When Mickey lights a match to illuminate his surroundings, he sees a dark figure in a hooded cloak.

Again, Mickey runs, but he is cornered by the figure and several skeleton ghosts. With a single word, the figure orders Mickey to “play” the piano in the room.

Mickey obliges, and he plays music for his skeletal patrons, who dance and celebrate amid the entertainment.

While they are blissfully distracted, Mickey makes a break for it and runs out of the room. Everywhere he turns he finds a dead end – usually with more skeletons. He eventually dives out a window, lands in a barrel of skeletons, escapes, and runs away to his freedom. Phew!

The Haunted House was released on December 2, 1929. It is full of goofy gags and hyjinx, though it is somewhat frightening at its core. It was released by Celebrity Productions, under Pat Powers, as part of the Mickey Mouse film series. The cartoon was produced by Walt Disney Productions, and directed by Walt Disney himself (Walt also provided the voice of Mickey). Disney Legend Ub Iwerks was the primary animator for the short, and Carl Stalling wrote the original music

The Haunted House was the first scary short starring Mickey, but it was not the first scary cartoon released by Disney. That honor belongs to The Skeleton Dance – a Silly Symphony cartoon released earlier in 1929.  In fact, The Haunted House borrowed a bit of animation from the Skeleton Dance.

Ub Iwerks (1930)

Flip the Frog is the featured performer at an outdoor nightclub in the forest.
He entertains the woodland creatures with his dancing and piano-playing.

Animated by Ub Iwerks, Fred Kopietz, and Tony Pabian

Backgrounds by Fred Kopietz

Fiddlesticks is a 1930 Celebrity Producitons theatrical cartoon short directed and animated by Ub Iwerks, in his first cartoon since he departed from Walt Disney’s studio. The short features Iwerks’ character Flip the Frog. It is the first complete sound cartoon to be photographed in color.

Fiddlesticks was the first film in the Flip the Frog series. The sound system was Powers Cinephone, the same system used for Disney’s Steamboat Willie in 1928.

The unnamed mouse in the cartoon bears a striking resemblance to Mortimer Mouse, the original concept behind Mickey Mouse, both of whom were first animated by Ub Iwerks.

Ben Sharpsteen (1937)

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto relax in sunny Hawaii in this classic 1937 Walt Disney cartoon!

Hawaiian Holiday is a 1937 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon stars an ensemble cast of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy while vacationing in Hawaii. The film was directed by Ben Sharpsteen, produced by John Sutherland and features the voices of Walt Disney as Mickey, Marcellite Garner as Minnie, Clarence Nash as Donald, and Pinto Colvig as Goofy and Pluto. It was Disney’s first film to be released by RKO, ending a five-year distributing partnership with United Artists.

Picture Book 1936

Komatsuzawa Hajime (1934)

Very little information exists pertaining to this short animation.

Mickey Mouse is represented here as something completely different:

Pure American imperialist evil.

At least he does in this 1934 animated propaganda cartoon Omochabako series dai san wa: Ehon senkya-hyakusanja-rokunen (Toybox Series 3: Picture Book 1936) by Komatsuzawa Hajime. It’s a convoluted title, but pretty simple in plot. An island of cute critters (including one Felix the Cat clone) is attacked from the air by an army of Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) riding bats and assisted by crocodiles and snakes that act like machine guns. The frightened creatures call on the heroes of Japanese storybooks and folk legends to help them, from Momotaro (“Peach Boy”) and Kintaro (“Golden Boy”) to Issun-boshi (“One Inch Boy”) and Benkei, a warrior monk, to send Mickey packing. The not-so-subtle message: Mickey Mouse may be your hero, America, but our characters are older, more numerous, and way more beloved. Our pop culture is older than yours!

Walt Disney (1928)

Hungry Hobos is a silent animated short released by Universal Studios in 1928. The short features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Peg Leg Pete as the title characters.

Having been lost since before World War II, the short was rediscovered in 2011 in the Huntley Film Archives, and was later purchased by the Walt Disney Company. It was then restored and re-debuted at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2012 as part of a special animation shorts program presented by leading film historian and restoration expert Serge Bromberg. The restored version was officially released as a bonus feature in the release of the Walt Disney Signature Collection edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on Blu-ray.

The history of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is that he was created by Walt Disney but had the rights of the character swept out from under his feet by producer Charles Mintz. However, never being one to give up easily, Disney went back to the drawing board and with help from animator Ub Iwerks created the ever-beloved cartoon character Mickey Mouse, which later became Disney’s signature character and helped him finally gain the recognition he had been after all along.

Tara Billinger & Zach Bellissimo (2021)

Rawhide and Snag aren’t always the best sheriffs of the strange land known as “The Gulch”, when crossing off their wanted poster list leads to the two in hot water, they must fight for what they care about most, while going up against a rogue’s gallery of bizarre characters.

Created by Tara Billinger (Mickey Mouse shorts) & Zach Bellissimo (Victor & Valentino, Rick & Morty), this hand drawn, 2D animated, adventure, fantasy pilot is a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016. Five years in the making, the creators hired talented industry professionals and prolific freelancers to fulfill their vision. Along with well known voices you’ve probably heard before (E.G. Daily of Powerpuff Girls and Danny Cooksey of Xiaolin Showdown) and an insane surf rock soundtrack by Kreeps (Red Dead Redemption), the world of Long Gone Gulch is full of thrills, chills, laughs, and many surprises.

Walt Disney (1929)

The Haunted House, also known as Phantom House or simply Haunted House, is a Mickey Mouse short animated film first released on December 2, 1929, as part of the Mickey Mouse film series. The cartoon was produced by Walt Disney Productions and distributed by Celebrity Productions.

The film follows Mickey Mouse trapped in a haunted house and forced to play music. It was directed by Walt Disney, who also provided the voice of Mickey. Ub Iwerks was the primary animator and Carl Stalling wrote the original music.

The Haunted House borrowed animation from Disney’s first Silly SymphonyThe Skeleton Dance, which was released earlier in 1929. The Haunted House was Mickey’s first cartoon with a horror theme and led the way to later films such as The Gorilla Mystery (1930), The Mad Doctor (1933), Lonesome Ghosts (1937), and Runaway Brain (1995).

Walt Disney (1933)

The Mad Doctor is a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon released in 1933. It is known as the first appearance of the title character “The Mad Doctor”, or “Dr. XXX”.

The short’s horror overtones made it unusual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Some theaters refused to show it, believing it to be too scary for kids. At one time, for this reason, it was banned entirely in the United Kingdom, as well as Nazi Germany.

The short’s title character had a cameo in the Roger Rabbit short Tummy Trouble, in which he was seen on a picture. You can view Tummy Trouble by following this link: https://hobomooncartoons.com/2019/04/08/roger-rabbit-in-tummy-trouble/

This cartoon is one of a few Disney shorts that lapsed into the public domain.

Walt Disney, David Hand, & Ed Love (1937)

When a jealous Donald Duck tries to sabotage Mickey’s magic act, he ends up becoming the victim of many of his magic tricks. In the end, Donald shoots the fireworks from Mickey’s flare gun but accidentally causes the entire stage collapse on top of them.

Walt Disney (1934)

Image result for donald duck 1934

Today is the classic Walt Disney character’s birthday, and I wanted to pay tribute and give a special shout out to my favorite Disney cartoon character of all, Donald Duck. He has inspired me to create my own band of cartoon characters with personalities and passions in which I have captured in animations of my own. Thank you and have a very happy Birthday.

Donald was created by Walt Disney when he heard Clarence Nash doing a peculiar voice while reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Nash described the voice as a goat; Walt, however, insisted that it was a duck. Nash was hired on the spot, and with a voice in place, a stage was needed to put this new duck character to the test. The solution came in the form of Walt’s experimental Silly Symphonies cartoon series. Donald made his first appearance in The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934. In the cartoon, Donald and his friend, Peter Pig, lie their way out of helping the titular little hen tend to her corn. Donald’s appearance in the cartoon, as created by animators Art Babbitt and Dick Huemer, is similar to his modern look; the feather, and beak colors are the same, as is the blue sailor shirt and hat, but his features are more elongated, his body plumper, and his feet bigger. His iconic voice, done by its originator Clarence Nash, is also the same. Notably, the manner of speech in which the characters’ voices are based on their respective animals is used for every character, rather than being a trait belonging solely to Donald. Donald’s personality is not developed either; in the short, he merely fills the role of the unhelpful friend from the original story.

The Wise Little Hen

Starring Donald Duck – June 9th, 1934

Bert Gillett, director of The Wise Little Hen, brought Donald back in his Mickey Mouse cartoon, Orphan’s Benefit on August 11, 1934. Donald is one of a number of characters who are giving performances in a benefit for Mickey’s Orphans. Donald’s act is to recite the poems Mary Had a Little Lamb and Little Boy Blue, but every time he tries, the mischievous orphans humiliate him, leading the duck to fly into a squawking fit of anger. This explosive personality would remain with Donald for decades to come. Although Orphan’s Benefit was Donald’s second appearance, the film was the first to significantly develop his character. Many of Donald’s personality traits first seen in Orphan’s Benefit would become permanently associated with him, such as his love of showmanship, his fierce determination, belligerence, and most famously his easily provoked temper. The film also introduced some of Donald’s physical antics, such as his signature temper tantrum of hopping on one foot while holding out one fist and swinging the other. This was the creation of animator Dick Lundy, who termed this Donald’s “fighting pose.”

Orphan’s Benefit

Starring Donald Duck – August 11th, 1934

Donald continued to be a hit with audiences. The character began appearing in most Mickey Mouse cartoons as a regular member of the ensemble with Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto. Cartoons from this period, such as the 1935 cartoon The Band Concert — in which Donald repeatedly disrupts the Mickey Mouse Orchestra’s rendition of The William Tell Overture by playing Turkey in the Straw — are regularly hailed by critics as exemplary films and classics of animation. Animator Ben Sharpsteen also minted the classic Mickey, Donald, and Goofy comedy in 1935, with the cartoon Mickey’s Service Station. After the success of Mickey’s Service Station, Donald would often be grouped with Mickey and Goofy in several shorts, where the trio’s laughable flaws would cause mayhem to befall upon them.

Mickey’s Service Station

Starring Donald Duck – 1935

Donald was redesigned in 1936 to be a bit fuller, rounder, and cuter, starting from Moving Day (1936). He also began starring in solo cartoons, the first of these being Don Donald, released on January 9, 1937. This short also marked the first appearance of Daisy Duck (here called “Donna Duck”), as well as Donald’s car, 313. Daisy went on to become Donald’s longtime love interest and a recurring co-star in his cartoons, mirroring the relationship between Mickey and Minnie.

Don Donald

Starring Donald Duck – January 9th, 1937

Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, would make their first animated appearance a year later in the 1938 film, Donald’s Nephews, directed by Jack King (they had earlier been introduced in the Donald Duck comic strip). It is around this period that Donald began to surpass Mickey in popularity, both in the favor of audiences and even the animators, who found it increasingly difficult to create new and entertaining shorts for Mickey to star in. According to Jack Hannah, there were several cartoons developed specifically for Mickey, but when the gags became too “rough”, the story was changed to star Donald instead.

Donald’d Nephews

Starring Donald Duck – 1938

Thanks for the laughs, Donald!

Walt Disney & Ub Iwerks (1927)

Trolley Troubles is a 1927 animated short subject film, produced by Charles Mintz and George Winkler and directed by Walt Disney. Since Poor Papa, the cartoon is noted for being the first appearance of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character that Disney and Ub Iwerks created for Universal Pictures and Charles B. Mintz.

In January 1927, Winkler Pictures head Charles Mintz told Disney and Iwerks to create a cartoon character they could sell to Universal Pictures. Universal wanted to re-enter the cartoon business and needed a character of it’s own. Disney began working on both the character and the films shortly after he moved his studio to Hyperion Avenue.

Disney opted to make the character a rabbit at the suggestion of Carl Laemmle, Universal’s founder. Universal’s publicity department chose the name of the character by drawing it out of a hat filled with slips of paper with different names on them. An early press release from Universal Weekly called the character “Oswald, the Welsh Rabbit.”

The first Oswald cartoon, Poor Papa, was poorly received by the Universal executives and Mintz. Universal initially did not distribute it to theaters. Disney and Iwerks created a younger and neater Oswald for their next cartoon, Trolley Troubles. It was well-received and Universal released it to theaters on September 5, 1927. Universal continued to push advertising for the character.

As time passed, Disney feared that Mintz would forgo renewal of the contract, partly due to Iwerks informing Disney that George Winkler, at the behest of Mintz, had been going behind Disney’s back during pick-up runs for Oswald reels and hiring away his animators. Eventually, Walt traveled with his wife Lillian to New York to find other potential distributors for his studio’s cartoons, including Fox and MGM, prior to meetings with Mintz. As Walt later recalled, he placed two Oswald prints under one arm and—feeling “like a hick”—marched “one half-block north” on Broadway to MGM to visit Fred Quimby and showcase his studio’s work on the series. During this period, Walt and Lillian attended the premiere of the Oswald short Rival Romeos, which debuted at the Colony on 53rd and Broadway.

In the spring of 1928, Disney traveled to New York City in hopes of negotiating a more profitable contract with his producer Charles Mintz. But as economic problems were apparent at the time, Mintz figured Disney should settle for a 20% cut, although large turnarounds were promised if the studio’s finances showed considerable growth. While most of his fellow animators left for Mintz’s studio, Disney decided to quit working on the Oswald cartoons. On his long train ride home, he came up with an idea to create another character and retain the rights to it. Walt recalled most of what had happened in an interview and some stories claim the copyright to the character had been “lost” to Winkler/Universal.

Disney and Iwerks would go on to develop a new cartoon in secret, starring a new character called Mickey Mouse. The first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be filmed was Plane Crazy in the summer of 1928, but it was produced as a silent film and held back from release. The first Mickey Mouse film with a synchronized soundtrack, Steamboat Willie, reached the screen that fall and became a major hit, eclipsing Oswald.

In early cartoons, Oswald was very similar to the early incarnations of Mickey Mouse, that being the mischievous but well-meaning character made popular among cartoons in the 1920s. He was energetic, inventive, adventurous and almost always caused trouble, but found his way out through cunning and wit. Oswald loved to play and make others laugh, but despite his flaws, he has morals and always tries to do the right thing. His personality traits were something never seen at the time, as most cartoon stars had no personality, and he favored the new “emotion” gag over slapstick.

In his current revival, Oswald is portrayed as more aggressive, serious, and short-tempered than Mickey, though he does have a sense of fun and humor. Oswald is not welcoming towards strangers and even comes across as spiteful towards people he doesn’t trust. He is very brave, but overconfident, which makes Oswald impulsive and bordering to the point that Oswald can be ignorant and ultimately fumble. Ironically, despite having the moniker of “lucky,” Oswald is prone to bad luck as much as good luck, which has led him into many unfortunate situations often caused by his own overconfidence — he can only escape from these by his own good luck.

Despite his less-appealing traits, Oswald remains fundamentally good-hearted. He is motivated by a love for adventure and heroism. A recent interview with Disney historian David Gerstein has highlighted the difference between Mickey and Oswald in terms of personality:

You might say that Mickey’s personality is a bit less inherently funny, but you still have just as much fun with him by putting him in incredible jams. Oswald … let’s put it like this: imagine Mickey if he were a little more egotistical or fallible, or imagine Bugs Bunny if he talked the talk but wasn’t as good at walking the walk.

Oswald has also been shown harboring a strong jealousy towards his “replacement” for effectively stealing his life. Some materials indicate this relationship outside of spin-off material; pictures were approved by Walt himself that depicted Mickey and Oswald meeting for the first time and support these sentiments.

With luck on his side, Oswald is willing to take risks and will attempt to do what’s best for his family and friends. Though he doesn’t appear to be, Oswald can be quite friendly if he wants to. His love for Ortensia is just as strong as Mickey’s love for Minnie.

Chris Bailey (1995)

Featuring animation by animator Andreas Deja. It was first released in 1995 and played along with A Kid in King Arthur’s Court and A Goofy Movie in 1996. It would be the final original Mickey Mouse theatrical animated short until Get a Horse! in 2013.

Runaway Brain is a 1995 animated comedy-horror short film produced by Walt Disney. Featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, the short centers on Mickey attempting to earn enough money to pay for an anniversary gift for Minnie. 

Although receiving a controversial reception among audiences, the short was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 68th Academy Awards.

In an attempt to convince Minnie that he hasn’t forgotten to buy her an anniversary present, Mickey Mouse ends up promising to take her to Hawaii. Funds being short, he applies for a job as lab assistant to the sinister Dr. Frankenollie, who happens to be searching for a donor to provide his monstrous creation with a brain.

To watch the Runaway Brain in its entirety, follow the link: https://www.bilibili.tv/en/video/2000123000

David Hand (1936)

Mickey’s Polo Team is a 1936 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. The cartoon features of game of polo played between four Disney characters, led by Mickey Mouse, and four cartoon versions of real-life movie stars — Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Harpo Marx, and Charlie Chaplin. It was directed by David Hand and was first released on January 4, 1936. The film was inspired by Walt Disney’s personal love of polo.

Animated by Art Babbitt, Johnny Cannon, Paul Hopkins, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick, & Bill Roberts