Friday, August 29, 2008


By 1931, Walt and his crew had really gotten into their groove. They were producing quality cartoons and constantly updating their animation techniques as well as their artwork and storytelling.

When Mickey's Orphans was released on December 7, 1931, the audience loved it! They were touched by Mickey and Minnie's compassion toward the dozens of orphan kittens despite their destructive nature.

In this short, directed by Burt Gillett, a stranger leaves a basket on Mickey Mouse's doorstep in the harsh, cold, snowy winter night. Mickey finds the basket and brings it inside only to find that there are dozens of kittens in the basket!

Instantly, the kittens start playing in their destructive, yet innocent behaviour. But Mickey loves them through all of this, and even dresses up as Santa to bring them all presents!

In the end, everything is destroyed, even their beautiful Christmas tree!

There is not much in the way of plot in this movie, which is the way of many of these old cartoons. The interest is reliant on visual gags and fun music which this short provides.

Mickey's Orphans was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject (Cartoon) in 1932, the first year the category existed! It was up against It's Got Me Again, a very early Looney Tune, and the Silly Symphony, Flowers and Trees (also directed by Burt Gillett) which went on to take the Oscar.

As a Christmas themed cartoon, this one sort of leaves you wanting the kittens to have learned something about Christmas spirit. But instead, the cartoon ends with the kittens destroying Mickey's Christmas tree leaving Mickey and Minnie flabbergasted. Not quite the happy ending most specials try to convey.

You can watch Mickey's Orphans on the first disc of Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White, Volume One

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