Mickey's Amateurs

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Mickey's Amateurs
Mickey Mouse series
Mickey's Amateurs.jpg
Mickey Mouse invites Donald Duck to recite "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Directed by Pinto Colvig
Erdman Penner
Walt Pfeiffer
Produced by Walt Disney
Voices by Walt Disney
Florence Gill
Clarence Nash
Pinto Colvig
Music by Oliver Wallace
Animation by Art Babbitt
Les Clark
Al Eugster
Ed Love
Stan Quackenbush
Ralph J. Sommerville
Marvin Woodward
Tom Palmer
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • April 27, 1937 (1937-04-27)
(USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 8:24 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Preceded by Moose Hunters
Followed by Modern Inventions

Mickey's Amateurs is 1937 animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by United Artists. Originally entitled Mickey's Amateur Concert during production, the cartoon depicts an amateur talent show hosted by Mickey Mouse. It was co-directed by Pinto Colvig, Erdman Penner, and Walt Pfeiffer, and features original and adapted music by Oliver Wallace. The voice cast includes Walt Disney as Mickey, Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, Florence Gill as Clara Cluck, and Pinto Colvig as Pete and Goofy.[1][2][3]

Plot[edit]

Mickey Mouse is hosting an amateur talent show in front of a live audience for radio, in which he may terminate unworthy performances by ringing a gong. In the first scene, Mickey's gong ends Pete's rendition of "Asleep in the Deep".

Next, Mickey introduces Donald Duck, who first presents an apple to Mickey in an attempt to win him over preemptively. But Donald's recitation of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" ends badly as he forgets the words. Mickey rings the gong and Donald is removed from stage. Just as Mickey is announcing the next act, a disgruntled Donald returns to take back the apple.

The next act, as introduced by Mickey, are "the two Claras: Cluck and Belle." Clara Cluck sings a clucking version of "Il Bacio", a waltz by Luigi Arditi, accompanied by Clarabelle Cow on piano. Despite several blunders, the performance is the first to avoid the gong.

Next, Donald returns to stage uninvited wearing a disguise and carrying a violin case. Upon reaching center stage, Donald throws off the disguise and pulls a submachine gun from the case. He holds Mickey and the audience at gunpoint, determined to finish his recitation. But he again forgets the words. When the audience laughs at him, he opens fire. Donald is quickly removed from stage.[4]

For the show's final act, Mickey introduces Goofy and his "50-piece band" which turns out to be a multi-instrumental device on wheels. Goofy begins with "In the Good Old Summer Time" and moves on to "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". But the tempo and intensity of the song destroys the machine in an explosion. Goofy emerges from the wreckage and sheepishly admits "It busted!" Donald breaks out of Goofy's bandmaster hat and quickly recites a word-perfect recitation of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and delivers a vengeful "Nya!" at the audience. But just then, the "iris out" effect which ends the cartoon closes on his neck. He struggles to keep it open but it finally closes. This is a rare instance of a Disney cartoon breaking the fourth wall.

History[edit]

Mickey's Amateurs pokes fun at "amateur hour" radio shows which were popular entertainment in the 1930s and '40s. Perhaps the most famous example is the Major Bowes Amateur Hour in which the host, Edward Bowes, was known to strike a gong to stop an amateur performance. Mickey Mouse's repeating of the words "Okay, okay" in the film was recognized by audiences at the time as a parody of Bowes.[5]

The film was also inspired by the 1934 Disney film Orphan's Benefit. This film also featured a stage show with acts interspersed by Donald attempting a poetic recitation.

Reception[edit]

The Motion Picture Herald published a review of Mickey's Amateurs on June 19, 1937 saying in part "The subject must be seen to be appreciated and enjoyed. The fun it offers defies description."

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mickey's Amateurs at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Mickey's Amateurs at the Big Cartoon DataBase
  3. ^ Mickey's Amateurs at The Encyclopedia of Animated Disney Shorts
  4. ^ Some released versions of the film omitted this scene which was determined too violent. The most recent release however is of the film in its original version.
  5. ^ Motion Picture Herald. June 19, 1937.