Poster

The Fire Fighters

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : July 25, 1930

Running Time : 7:13

Synopsis

Mickey, Horace, and a motley crew of firemen charge to a burning hotel, where Mickey ultimately rescues Minnie from the flames.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Horace Horsecollar

Credits

Director
Bert Gillett
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Les Clark
Norm Ferguson
Dave Hand
Tom Palmer
Ben Sharpsteen
Wilfred Jackson
Jack King

Cut Scenes

Mickey milking a fireplug like an udder. Also a scene with a building on fire with people jumping out of the windows. These scenes have since been reinstated.

Laserdiscs

United States
Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 1
Japan
Mickey Mouse : The Black and White Years
Mickey Mouse: A Star is Born

DVD

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

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 28: Early Mickey
The Mickey Mouse Club : February 13, 1956

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

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 Columbia Pictures, Inc.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Mickey’s latest short, The Fire Fighters, is a great use of the character in his new role as the loveable loser. The bravado filled Mickey of the early shorts would not have worked in this cartoon, but Mickey as the hapless fire chief works really well.

To be fair, this is really a remake of Alice the Fire Fighter, the 1926 short that featured a team of Julius clones tackling a burning hotel building and rescuing Alice. Replace Julius with Mickey and Alice with Minnie and the storyline of the shorts are pretty much the same. The difference here are the strides that the Disney animation team have made in the four years since the Alice short was made.

For one thing, the gags are outstanding in this short. From the beginning scenes of Mickey and his fire team asleep in the firehouse to the climactic rescue sequence, there are gags every few seconds that are very funny. There are some classics, like Mickey inhaling and drawing a spider closer to him as he sleeps.

One of my favorites was the end of the alarm sequence, after all the crew has awakened and slid down the fire pole (really an ostrich). The camera pans over to a long bed, where we see the ladder waking up and watch it go through the paces to get on the truck. Animating the ladder as a character is a touch of genius, and very funny.

The gags don’t stop there, as Mickey and crew get to the fire site, but can’t get the hydrant to work. It merely dribbles water out. So, Mickey turns it into a cow’s udder shape, and “milks” the water out. But, Mickey isn’t the best fire fighter in the world, and spills the water on the way to throw it on the building, not once, but twice! It’s a hilarious turn of events.

Mickey’s personality is great in this as well, showing his frustration with the hydrant or the fear of whether he’ll be able to save Minnie or not. He really is a character here, not just a collection of drawings, and that’s the way he’s been evolving throughout this period.

The short ends with a familiar gag, of Mickey falling to earth, using large bloomers as a parachute while he cradles Minnie. It’s a great visual, and it’s been used many times by the Disney team, but it’s still a nice, sweet gag. The twist here is that when they reach the ground, Mickey and Minnie poke up through the legs and have a kiss.

The Fire Fighters doesn’t have any major animation advancements or turning points in Disney history. It does, however, have a tight narrative and a load of great gags. That makes it a winner in my book!


From Mac : I love this one! It's just non-stop action and gags. Mickey doesn't even stop to play anything like a musical instrument (although everyone has a bit of sing-song on the way to the fire). Of course music is still used to good effect, really adding to the excitement of the race to the fire and the attempts to put out the flames. It's used to good comic effect as well – I especially love it when Mickey climbs and climbs the fire ladders and the musical conclusion as Mickey and Minnie float down to safety before singing each others names and kissing in time to the tune. Funny stuff!
From Jack Dawkins : One thing I must say is this. I am glad that the Disney people reinstated the scene where Mickey milked the fire hydrant like an udder, but I just have to wonder this in the first place. Why would Disney edit out the scene in the first place? What is so offensive about that? I guess they came to their senses and realized that it was just a comic gag rather than an offensive act or perhaps there were so many viewers complaining to them that they surrendered and just reinstated it.
From Jerry Edwards : Fire chief Mickey saves Minnie from her burning house after a series of episodes involving the fire house and answering the alarm. This is a fun cartoon - just full of gags. My favorite gag is - after the firemen are shown climbing out of bed to the fire alarm - the firemen's ladder is also shown climbing out of his own bed and running to join the firemen. Another fun gag is, when the fire hydrant has almost no water pressure, Mickey "milks" the hydrant like a cow. My point of view concerning comments already made about the censorship of this cartoon. From my experience with Disney censorship over the years and my contacts with Disney employees (and ex-employees), sometimes the "censorship" is NOT ON PURPOSE. In general, several versions of a cartoon exists - edited for various reasons, often just to fit a TV show or similar other showing. The Disney employee who decides what copy to use often is not knowledgeable enough to even realize that there are several different copies. So sometimes a "censored" copy is shown due to ignorance, not on purpose. That stated, it is obvious that - in most instances - that Disney does purposely censor the cartoons, especially those shown on the Disney Channel. The resulting censorship often varies according to the prejudices of those employees chosen to do the censorship. This results in numerous different versions of a cartoon - over the years I have seen up to 6 different versions of any one cartoon due to censorship of different scenes.
From Ryan : This was a pretty good Mickey short. I enjoyed the scene where Mickey drives the fire truck and winds a cat's tail to the tune of "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." Another fun gag was where Mickey milked the fire hydrant like an udder. I saw this short on a TV at a Disney Store in Chicago. The only problem was that the volume was not turned up and there was so much other interference such as people talking.
From Sam : A fun early Mickey cartoon. Personally, my favorite gag is when Mickey "milks" the fire hydrant only to spill all the water out of his bucket while running to the fire. The next time he milks the hydrant, he's very careful not to spill any water as he races to the fire only to have the water spill out anyway. The whole gag comes across as so human yet completely cartoony at the same time, just like our favorite Mouse himself.
From Bill : This was a typical 'Mickey rescues Minnie' short, but it contains many clever gags like the ladder coming down the pole, Horace drinking water and spraying it on the fire, and Mickey using the clothesline to rescue Minnie. All in all, a great short.

Referenced Comments