Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Disney Navigates An Urban Jungle

The Disney Crowd Evidently Had This Thing About Cow Udders --- Can Someone Explain?

Mickey Still Raw and Ready In Traffic Troubles (1931)



In a Chaney-Like Show Of Versatility, Peg-Leg Pete
 Also Plays a Character With Both Limbs Intact
I call these early ones "ramshackle Mickeys," because he's still the go-getting rodent of crude beginnings not yet re-routed to adventure formula that would better sustain seven minutes in Disney-sanctioned "story" terms. Walt was forever after narrative strength in addition to character for his moving sketches, post-'32 or so shorts paying a price in terms of lost spontaneity, or better put, endearing shagginess, that kept Traffic Troubles in rougher company of rival cartooning keyed to low comedy and little enterprise beyond. Mickey the urban hack driver is relief from barnyards he usually occupied (although TT finishes, as usual, down on the farm), and overworked Peg Leg Pete looks to be playing dual roles here. Traffic Troubles was Disney as distributed by Columbia, so cash advance permitted less seeking after perfection that would characterize later subjects, maybe a good thing for ones who enjoy 30's cartooning in spit-and-glue terms.

The Pig Merely Happened By --- and Look What Mickey's Done To Him ...

... But Mickey Admonishes His Taxi For Biting
Another That Is Parked Too Close.
Among primitive acts on view: Mickey going hard on a passing pig he uses to inflate a blown tire --- yes, there was cruelty within Disney's animal kingdom. Walt was for music, but liked less paying for it, so staff used P.D. themes or composed originals. Best of latter could boost otherwise vanilla shorts --- did cleffing  Frank Churchill get all the Disney credit he had coming? (not on main titles ... only Walt's name appeared there) Traffic Troubles has a sprightly theme that Mickey whistles in concert with accordionist Minnie. When I watched again to do notes, it was this I enjoyed best. Animator David Hand, not long with Disney when he drew on Traffic Troubles, said in a years-later interview with Michael Barrier that Walt made him do over and over a scene of Mickey struggling with his taxi, until finally it was "wild" enough to please the boss. Was early Disney after a stops-out style later tamed by art and its genteel rewards?

6 Comments:

Blogger Reg Hartt said...

These "ramshackle" Mickeys represent the mouse at his peak of popularity.

When we read books like THE DISNEY ART OF ANIMATION it is important to remember that many of the films spoken of most highly in its pages are ones audiences did not care that much about.

In improving the technical aspects of their craft the Disney artists lost something much more important;the pulse of the public.

By the way RUNAWAY TRAIN et al (AMERICAN TREASURES FROM NEW ZEALAND) just arrived. Lives up to my expectations. Great fun. Thanks.tomy expectations

1:48 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Donald Benson considers the corporate progress of Mickey Mouse:


Another factor, frequented noted, is that Mickey's popularity with kids brought parental pressure. So to reassure grownups -- and to protect a fast-growing merchandise empire -- Mickey had to be a consistently positive role model.


Responsible Mickey set the stage for the rise of Donald Duck. Mickey became a straight mouse, usually Pluto's master once the Duck and Goofy got their own cartoons. Then came the 50s, when he went from being an imaginary character to an imaginary celebrity. He'd talk directly to kids on TV, and at Disneyland he'd sign autographs and pose for pictures. Other characters did as much, but it became Mickey's full-time gig.



The comic strip version of Mickey, now in a series of handsome books, followed a slightly different path. Like Donald Duck in comic books, Mickey Mouse in the daily funnies found himself having longer, more elaborate adventures totally removed from his animated activities. Somewhere after WWII the strip reverted to basic gagging, locking Mickey in as a suit-wearing suburbanite to match his corporate spokesman persona.

4:09 PM  
Blogger KING OF JAZZ said...

Mickey could not have been more colorless circa 1957! Boring!

9:28 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

My 17 year-old daughter has been a Mickey fan her whole life, especially his early incarnations. But everything in that still featuring the pig scares her.

11:03 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Chris U. sends along a link to a really clever video parody based on "Taxi Driver" and Mickey Mouse. Thanks, Chris!


Hi John,

The references in your recent post regarding udders and animal cruelty in early Disney shorts reminded me of this wonderful Bryan Boyce "homage":

http://vimeo.com/37154658

If any of your readers have not seen it before, I'm sure they will enjoy it (of course, like everything else, it's most fun when viewed with an audience!).

Keep up the great work with your blog. I read it every day.

Best,

Chris U.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Columnist Terry Ramsaye reported in the MOTION PICTURE HERALD of February 28, 1931: “Mickey Mouse, the artistic offspring of Walt Disney, has fallen afoul of the censors in a big way, largely because of his amazing success. Papas and Mamas, especially Mamas, have spoken vigorously to censor boards and elsewhere about what a devilish, naughty little mouse Mickey turned out to be. Now we find that Mickey is not to drink, smoke, or tease the stock in the barnyard. Mickey has been spanked. It is the old, old story. If nobody knows you, you can do anything, and if everybody knows you, you can’t do anything – except what every one approves, which is very little of anything. It has happened often enough among the human stars of the screen and now it gets even the little fellow in black and white who is no thicker than a pencil mark and exists solely in a state of mind.”

4:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016