Mickey's Choo Choo

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : October 1, 1929

Running Time : 6:55

Synopsis

Mickey's running a small-town railroad. He takes Minnie for a wild ride on a humanized train which eventually rumbles out of control.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Clarabelle Cow

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Ben Sharpsteen
Music
Carl Stalling

DVD

United States
Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2
Germany
Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 28: Early Mickey
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 34
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 63
The Mickey Mouse Club : December 5, 1955

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono : Cinephone
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by Celebrity Productions, Inc.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : I admit, at this point, the Mickey musical number shorts are getting a bit old. Every time I think the subject will change to something different, Mickey ends up playing music on some animals or dancing away a tune. Mickey’s Choo Choo is more of the same, but it features some noticeable differences that make it well worth watching.

The first thing I noticed when the short opened is the unique opening. The film opens with a locomotive backing away from the viewer, with Mickey as the engineer. Instead of a black object coming towards the screen and fading to black, it’s instead backing away from the screen and opening up the picture. It’s a neat touch and one that has not been seen before in the Disney shorts.

But the real feature that stands out is Mickey’s design. He was definitely different in Mickey’s Follies, but since he was not featured as much in that short, I didn’t notice it until watching this one. The Mickey from the last two shorts is much more like the Mickey of today. His facial features have some distinct differences, like the eyes, but his body design is now much closer to what modern fans remember. The loose hose like arms and small circle body have been replaced with thicker arms, a more oval shaped torso and his trademark shorts.

Again, it’s not a huge sea change, but it was enough that I noticed the difference here from the original shorts. Mickey’s design would change many times over the years, but this looks to be the first of those changes.

The other thing this short is noticeable for is the use of dialogue. Not just squeaks, one liners or musical numbers, but a full on dialogue between characters. Minnie approaches and has a conversation with Mickey. And the controversy over Mickey’s voice in the earlier shorts should not be an issue here, as it is clearly Walt speaking for Mickey here. The voice is immediately recognizable.

I guess this far into the review I should discuss the story of the short, but honestly, it’s not that important. As is becoming the usual with the Disney shorts of this time, the story does not feature a plot or conflict. The basics are Mickey is getting his train ready to leave the station, and takes Minnie along after a musical number. The train heads over the hills, loses its car, and sends Minnie and Mickey flying through the hills. The short ends when the car crashes and reassembles into a see saw car that they ride back up the hill.

There’s some nice animation work in this short as well. I mentioned the opening, but there’s a few other pieces that stand out. As the car runs down the hill, there are some great shots from behind of Minnie hanging on for dear life as she goes through a succession of tunnels. There’s the same sort of view of a cow being chased by the runaway car, and a similar shot at the end with Mickey and Minnie on the see saw. All are similar to animation from Plane Crazy, but they’re still very interesting and a break from the every day.

I’ve read some comments about the short that said that people disliked the humanized train, which I can understand. I didn’t really have an issue with it, but it does seem out of place in the short. However, the interesting look of Mickey, the use of dialogue and the neat animation makes this a very intriguing short.


From Mac : The Mickey shorts seem to be hitting their stride now. Mickey and Minnie have their look, their voices and they're very much a cute couple (rather than Minnie having to smack Mickey for kisses she hasn't agreed to). One thing that stands out for this one is everything seems very clean – it's a well kept railway station rather than a slightly run down barnyard.

I'm not too keen on humanized objects cartoons, but I don't mind the train in this one since it's pretty typical of the era. However, I'm not too keen on the wheel on top of the car having a face. I mean what kind of a life does it lead just stuck there staring at the sky all day? It's creepy.


From B. D. : Wow... it looks like we've just seen the beginning of the shift away from the barnyard setting of the early Mickey shorts (Gallopin' Gaucho notwithstanding) towards the less-defined settings of the later shorts that carries through to today.

I've always found this to be the most interesting period of Mickey's development - in his very earliest appearances, he had a concrete setting and virtually no supporting cast (basically just Minnie and the new version of Pete, and sometimes Horace Horsecollar or the weird parrot from Steamboat Willie), and over just a few years, he transitioned to having a different setting in practically every cartoon and the familiar supporting cast of Donald, Goofy and Pluto. It's too bad that they never revisited the barnyard, too see what it was like a few years later (and in color!)


From Kevin C. : One of my "go-to" Mickeys when I want to visit my favorite cartoon character in my favorite period. I love the "white void" they live in and I love those "Z" axis shots when our little friends pull us into their pen and ink world with nothing on the horizon except a few black lines and the vast, uncharted spaces of Disney and Iwerk's TALKING CARTOONLAND!
From Joe McDougal : I am normally a big fan of Mickey Mouse (even though my favorite characters are Woodlore and Humphrey), but this cartoon was pretty crappy. I think it would've been better if the train didn't have human characteristics. Another scene is the ending where Mickey and Minnie are riding on the railroad tracks with that little push cart at the end and they go up and down like a seesaw. Minnie moons the audience as she goes up (with her panties still on thank God). Normally I am pretty ticked off when they cut scenes out, but in this case, I'll make an exception.
From Jerry Edwards : After Mickey and Minnie sing and dance, Mickey takes Minnie on a ride atop the boxcar of his anthropomorphic train. The boxcar breaks loose on a hill and crashes into a tree. The boxcar demolishes and transforms into a sidecar, which Mickey and Minnie ride off on. This is one of my favorite early Mickey cartoons, mainly due to the personality of the locomotive. One scene I like is Mickey feeding it coal, which it eats like a dog. Then Mickey is shown feeding an actual dog. This is one of the 47 cartoons that Disney colorized - most of them early black and white Mickey cartoons. I don't generally care for colorization, but I felt the bright colors added a great deal to the personality of the locomotive.
From Ryan : This was a wonderful Mickey short even though I did not care much for the humanized train. I guess I'll have to accept the fact that this was made in 1929 when that type of stuff was typical in cartoons. While Mickey takes a lunch break and opens a can of spaghetti using a dog's teeth, he plucks the noodles and plays "Humoresque." Minnie joins him and plays it on her violin. Later they take a ride on the train. I noticed that some of the animation was quite similar to Plane Crazy where a cow is being chased (except this time by a train instead of a plane). I have seen this short on "Ink and Paint Club" in its original black and white version and on "Mickey's Mouse Tracks" in its black and white version as well. However, on the "It's Gotta Be the Shorts" marathon, it was colorized. Usually, if a short has been colorized, it appears that way on kiddie shows like "Mouse Tracks."
From Jeff Wiener : I just love watching the early Mickey cartoons. The animation is crude to say the least but that really is a part of their appeal. These early shorts feature lots of funny gags which consist of Mickey doing strange things to the anatomies of other animals with whom he comes into contact with. The scene where he pulls the dog's teeth out and uses them as a can opener is priceless. I also like the bit where the train belches after eating a mouth full of coal. The ending of the short, where we see a close up of Minnie's underwear as they travel off into the distance is very 'expressive' in my opinion. These types of gags were soon discarded as Disney animation developed and became more refined. However, these elements were retained in other contemporary characters from other studios, such as Bosko and Flip the Frog.
From Bill : Although this is not one of my favorite Mickey shorts, it is still important in the early development of Walt and Ub Iwerk's style and treatment of the early Mickeys. Even though the animation is considered "primitive", it is this type that endears these early shorts to us today. I thought the part where Mickey feeds his anthropomorphic train coal and then shares his lunch with a dog after using the dogs false teeth for a can opener was funny. And the part where the train just can't get up the hill and grabs a tree was another classic gag. I try not to get too critical on the early Mickey shorts. After all, this was done in 1929 but is still as funny today as it was back then. And though the gags used many might consider "crude", remember; it's a cartoon that was meant to entertain.
From Gijs Grob : Mickey drives a very flexible and anthropomorphized locomotive. Minnie comes along, playing the violin. They both ride the train, but on a very steep hill the wagon gets loose and falls backwards with Minnie on it. This sequence contains some nice rollercoaster-like perspective gags. This cartoon contains the first dialogue in a Disney cartoon, but there's hardly any plot.
From Steven : This was a nice Mickey cartoon. There was some ugly animation in some scenes but it's still a good cartoon. It also has a great musical score by Carl Stalling. Warner Bros. slightly remade this cartoon with Bosko in 1930's "Box Car Blues." Overall a great cartoon.
From Rae-Lynn Abbott : This classic is my grandson's all time favorite, he watches it on u tube over and over . I would love to have a copy on dvd.

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