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Comments by Mister Bighead
I Have No Son
This is one of my favorite "Rocko's Modern Life" episodes. I wonder if Ralph Bighead's foray into wanting to be a cartoonist is autobiographical.The art direction (similar to pen-and-ink children's book illustrations with photographs thrown in) in "The Fatheads", a show within a show, is bizarre as it does not match the art style of Rocko. One thing they have in common is they make as much of sense.The tour Rocko and Filburt are forced through provide much laughs (especially the animators behind glass, the Chameleon Brothers filming the rough animation, and Filburt shopping for souvenirs). This episode does provide humor throughout the entire cartoon, though at the same time, you can relate to Ralph's relationship with his dad who seems to be the opposite of him.
There are two versions of this short: the shorter pilot Joe Murray and his small staff of animators created independently and the one with added scenes to make an 11-minute episode. One point to note is Rocko was originally yellow in the pilot. The episode seen on television has the original animation from the pilot and Rocko was recolored. The original pilot can be seen on the Rocko's Modern Life DVD set as an extra.
As a hobbyist photographer, I enjoyed this cartoon and can relate to Donald's failed attempts at taking pictures. (Okay, so my photographing experiences have not been as crazy as Donald's.) Still, this cartoon proves that taking pictures of wild animals is a difficult task. The funniest scene in the cartoon is the gag involving the skunks.
Mr. Duck Steps Out
Donald makes the move on Daisy again, but this time his nephews interfere. The best and biggest scene is when Donald has popcorn popping inside of him making some sort of a rhythm, and the nephews start playing instruments (and common household items that could be used as musical instruments). The dancing animation and musical score are also wonderful. Even though thing don't end well for Donald at the end of his cartoons, he does get his sweetheart (and he gets covered in smooches) after the torment from his three nephews. Overall, this is a fun and often hilarious cartoon.
I thought this short was enjoyable because of its visual gags and good animation. This was also one of the earliest shorts to feature Mickey and Donald as a duo. (I don't believe Disney made a lot of shorts featuring the two as a "buddy comedy" duo.) Also, elements from this short could be found in later Disney feature films. The act of dog napping is a major plot point of One Hundred and One Dalmatians and a chase scene involving a motorcycle with a sidecar can also be seen in The Aristocats.
Mickey's Service Station
In one of the last black-and-white Mickey cartoons, Pete plays as the bad guy to poor Mickey, Donald, and Goofy who work as auto mechanics. Pete gives the trio only ten minutes (nearly the time of the cartoon itself) to fix the squeaking problem of his car. Of course, one should expect a poor job completed in such a small amount of time. In a series of humorous attempts to find the "bug" which is causing the squeaking problem, each of the mechanics tear apart the car. They also put it all back together at the last minute after the squeaking has been taken care of. The scene that made me chuckle the most has to be at the beginning when Pete accidentally steps on a car horn which happens to be lying on the ground. The horn makes a "raspberry" noise, and he blames it on one of the mechanics.
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
This cartoon is notable for a few reasons. It is the first color Popeye cartoon, it is one of the three two-reeler Popeye cartoons, it was nominated for an Academy Award, and it featured backgrounds in three-dimensions. (A few Ub Iwerks cartoons made in the '30s also used three-dimensional backgrounds.) In the restored version of this cartoon, you can see how rich the colors are. After the title cards and a clever listing of the cast of characters, we are introduced to Sinbad the Sailor (played by Bluto) and his captive animals and creatures through a catchy introduction song. Once Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Wimpy arrive on Sinbad's island, Sinbad kidnaps Olive Oyl. As Popeye arrives to save the day (yet Wimpy is focused on following a duck he is trying to eat), we are treated to a classic battle between Popeye and his foes. The first two are humorous as he brings back Rokh the Mighty Eagle as a giant cooked bird after both being thrown in the distance and he sees double as he fights Boola, the babbling two-headed giant. The last battle is classic fighting between Popeye and Bluto (or in this case, Sinbad), and the latter is hung on top of a tree like a flag. Not only this cartoon is entertaining as Popeye cartoons usually are, it is an important film for artistic and technical reasons.
This cartoon was later remade and released in 1941. Rather than to write a review on this cartoon, I would like to do something different. I'm going to compare this version with the later 1941 version.-The 1934 version was in black-and-white and the 1941 version was in color.-Most of the animation seems to be reused, but the character designs were updated. The only character that hasn't changed was Clara Cluck.-The musical score at the opening titles of the 1941 version has not changed indicating the soundtrack has been reused. Speaking of the opening titles, the original had the title spelled "Orphan's Benefit" and the later had it spelled "Orphans' Benefit".-When the curtain is raised in the 1934 version, it has "Asbestos" written on it. The remake does not have any writing on the curtain. Speaking of curtains, the background curtains have differing patterns depending on what version you are watching.-At the beginning and during the "Little Boy Blue" recitation, Donald becomes angry and does an imitation of then-celebrity Jimmy Durante. In the original, his nose changes to resemble the celebrity he's impersonating. The nose does not change in the remake.-Goofy wears a shirt under his jungle clothing during the ballerina dance in the 1941 version.-Clarabelle also wears a bow and shoes in the 1941 version.-Later in the cartoon, when Donald notices the orphans do not make fun of him by blowing their noise during the recital, he throws a brick. The brick is thrown in different directions in each version.-At the very end, Donald says "aw, nuts" in the original. He says "aw, phooey" in the remake.Even though the 1941 version is pretty much an identical remake of the 1934 version, I still noticed a few differences and I wanted to point them out. Of course, though, there were probably some I missed.
This cartoon was a remake of the 1934 black-and-white Mickey cartoon of the same name. Rather than to write a review on this cartoon, I would like to do something different. I'm going to compare this version with its original 1934 version.-The 1934 version was in black-and-white and the 1941 version was in color.-Most of the animation seems to be reused, but the character designs were updated. The only character that hasn't changed was Clara Cluck.-The musical score at the opening titles of the 1941 version has not changed indicating the soundtrack has been reused. Speaking of the opening titles, the original had the title spelled "Orphan's Benefit" and the later had it spelled "Orphans' Benefit".-When the curtain is raised in the 1934 version, it has "Asbestos" written on it. The remake does not have any writing on the curtain. Speaking of curtains, the background curtains have differing patterns depending on what version you are watching.-At the beginning and during the "Little Boy Blue" recitation, Donald becomes angry and does an imitation of then-celebrity Jimmy Durante. In the original, his nose changes to resemble the celebrity he's impersonating. The nose does not change in the remake.-Goofy wears a shirt under his jungle clothing during the ballerina dance in the 1941 version.-Clarabelle also wears a bow and shoes in the 1941 version.-Later in the cartoon, when Donald notices the orphans do not make fun of him by blowing their noise during the recital, he throws a brick. The brick is thrown in different directions in each version.-At the very end, Donald says "aw, nuts" in the original. He says "aw, phooey" in the remake.Even though the 1941 version is pretty much an identical remake of the 1934 version, I still noticed a few differences and I wanted to point them out. Of course, though, there were probably some I missed.
As most Disney fans and animation buffs would know, Plane Crazy marks the first appearance of both Mickey and Minnie Mouse. As the title indicates, the premise of this short is "plain crazy". Even from his early appearances, Mickey had a bit of an established character which is quite different from what most people are familiar with. Rather than being the nice, suburban every-man he became in later years, this short depicts him as a barnyard animal that always got into trouble. He tears apart a car to make an airplane for him and Minnie to ride. Unfortunately, Mickey has no idea how to operate it leaving his sweetheart hanging for dear life and she later comes to the point where she just jumps out of the plane. This cartoon, being 86 years old at the time I write this comment is still entertaining to this day because of the funny gags and an interesting look on the early days of Mickey.
I also would like to point out that the first-person perspective used when Mickey was flying the plane (to make the viewer feel he or she was actually riding the plane) was well animated for its time. The technique was also used in the earlier Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon "Trolley Troubles". The technique would also be used in Disney's animated feature "Aladdin" many years later during the scene in which the title character rides the magic carpet in the Cave of Wonders. (That time, however, CGI was used to make that scene possible.)
The Gallopin' Gaucho
The best scenes would have to be the dancing at the beginning and the sword fight at the end. Both scenes have good animation. I also found the drunk ostrich funny.
The Barn Dance
This cartoon is loaded with great gags. I also enjoy the romantic rivalry between Mickey and Pete. Similar to "Get a Horse", a tribute to the black-and-white Mickey cartoons made by Disney decades later, Mickey woos Minnie with an old-fashioned horse-operated vehicle while Pete woos her with a brand-new automobile. Pete even repeatedly honks the horn while Mickey finds a nearby duck and makes it quack repeatedly. I also like the scene in which Mickey's feet grow as he steps on top of poor Minnie at the barn dance. This is a great visual exaggeration of somebody who is bad at dancing. I actually feel sorry for poor Mick after Pete takes off with his sweetheart at the dance before the cartoon closes. Though I do find his crying facial animation funny, and this animation would be used for several other black-and-white Mickey cartoons.
The Opry House
As you can see in "Steamboat Willie", Mickey demonstrates a talent for playing music. This becomes a trait for the character in both later black-and-white and color Mickey cartoons. I enjoyed the scene in which Mickey plays the piano. The piano and the stool come to life to both torment Mickey during his performance and to bow to the audience after the performance is over. Also, when I first saw this short, I thought the shimmy dancer was Minnie. I was shocked to find out it was Mickey all along.
When the Cat's Away
This short is inspired by the phrase "When the cat's away, the mice will play." The cat in this case is not Pete, it is what could possibly be a skinnier relative of his. (The cat's name is Tom Cat.) The mice include Mickey, Minnie, and a bunch of their look-alike buddies. Even though the mice usually portrayed in the Mickey shorts are usually human-sized, the mice in this short are actually on scale to their real-life counterparts. (Mickey and Minnie even have to hop on piano keys in order to play the instrument. Mickey is also afraid of a mouse trap larger than him.) The cartoon is loaded with gags I enjoyed. I liked how Mickey uses a sliced roll of cheese to make the player piano play a tune. (The parrot from "Steamboat Willie" also makes a reappearance to badly sing to the music, and then he falls into a spittoon.) Another gag I liked was three mouse making a record player of themselves. This short does not have much of a story, but I still found it entertaining.
In this short, Mickey is a farmer. In the beginning, Mickey does his chores to the accompanying music (He must have knew about whistling while you work long before Snow White.), and it worked out nicely. I enjoyed the two big scenes that make this cartoon enjoyable including Mickey milking Clarabelle and Horace (who makes his debut in this short) running amok after he gets stung by a bee. My favorite gags include Minnie dumping a pail of milk after she is disgusted by Mickey's kiss and three barnyard animals combining into this weird creature after they run into a tree. To wrap up my thoughts on this short, you'll have a lot of fun watching it. I sure did.
The Karnival Kid
This is the first Mickey cartoon to use an extensive amount of dialogue as well as lip sync. Mickey even speaks his first words ("hot dogs"). However, he does not have his familiar high-pitched voice in this short. (I've read Carl Stalling, who also was the music composer, did his voice in this short. I'm not sure about it though.) In this short, Mickey is a hot dog vendor at a carnival. The hot dogs happen to be alive and behave like real dogs, and Mickey even trains them. In the second half of the cartoon, Mickey serenades Minnie, who lives at the carnival as a shimmy dancer, with the assistance of two cats. This portion of the cartoon is similar to the later Tom and Jerry cartoon "Solid Serenade". In conclusion, this cartoon has a lot of gags and it happens to be one of my favorite black-and-white Mickeys.
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