Poster

Alice's Fishy Story

An Alice Comedy

Release Date : June 1, 1924

Running Time : 11:15

Synopsis

Alice steals away from piano practice to go fishing and tells her friends a tale about fishing at the North Pole.

Characters

Alice and Julius

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Walt Disney
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Live Action Actor
Virginia Davis
Leon Holmes
Tommy Hicks
Walt Disney
Peggy the Dog

DVD

United States
Disney's Alice Comedies : Volume 1

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Combination live-action and standard animation
Sound Mix: Silent
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by M. J. Winkler Productions

Comments

  • One gag which has Julius luring fish to the top of the ice with tobacco and then clubbing them when they come up was reused by Goofy in the 1935 short, "On Ice."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Today, we move forward to Alice’s Fishy Story, an amusing short that continues to show Walt’s growing talents as a live action director. In fact, that is what is most striking about this short and Alice’s Wild West Show, is that there is much more live action to these shorts than animation. It seems to foretell the live action comedies that Walt would become known for in the 1950s and 1960s. This is one of the interesting things that I’ve noticed as I watch these films and move forward.

So, the story here is probably the most simple of the Alice films so far. Alice is playing piano, when Tubby and his gang show up and ask her to go fishing. Apparently the beating that Alice gave him in the previous short did not dissuade him. Is there a romance blooming between Tubby and Alice? Not really, but it is amusing how there is no continuity between the shorts, like you would find in cartoons today.

Alice manages to trick her mother by training the dog to play piano while she sneaks out the window. It’s a neat little bit of fun that again brings to mind later films from Walt. Alice and the gang hitchhike to the fishin’ hole, swamping a poor man’s car and hanging from all parts of it.

They get to the fishing location and start their leisurely afternoon with Tubby catching a small fish. Alice laughs it off and begins to tell her story, which is the cue for the animation to begin..

The animated portion of the short opens with Julius the cat, who has not yet been named as such, but we know that is what he will soon be called. He is ice skating in Eskimo territory, and finds out from a newsboy that the Eskimos are starving because the fish are not biting. After trying a couple of times to use his tail to catch some fish, Julius gets frustrated.

Alice, dressed in her spring shorts, saunters up to an Eskimo and also discovers the situation. Together, she and Julius devise a plan. They raid an abandoned freighter and dump something out of the ship into the water. The fish start biting it, then surfacing through a hole in the ice, and Julius uses his detached tail as a bat to knock them out and throw them in a pile. This solves the Eskimo food crisis, as the Eskimos grab the fish off the pile and eat heartily.

Back to the real world, and a cop catches up to Alice and the gang, chasing them away from the fishing hole as the short ends.

All told, this short is not quite as good as Alice’s Wild West Show, but it again shows the growth that Walt has made as a live action director. There were exceptional live action sequences in Alice’s Wonderland, the first of the Alice Comedies, but then subsequent entries showed very poor action, with Alice reduced to hitting her head to induce the animation sequences.

By contrast, the animated sequences tend to be much more inconsistent as time moves on. The animated sequences in Alice’s Wild West Show were very packed, and although simple, they still moved forward and told the story well. Alice’s Day at Sea featured amazing animation of the ship tossed at sea. However, this short features some inconsistent work, with a harder to follow story and poor photography with Alice. She is faint in this short while in the animated world, due to a cheap process used to place her in the animation.

While we know that eventually Walt would come to be the king of animation, there is little in the first of the Alice Comedies that show this. Instead, I have been struck by how good the live action sequences have become, and how they emulate what is to come. Perhaps when we get a little further along, I’ll write about some of the outside pressures that may have an influence on that.


From Ryan : Alice skips her piano lesson to go fishing with her friends. While they are fishing, she tells them of her adventures in the Arctic. One fun gag I enjoy is where Julius uses chewing tobacco as bait to catch the fish. He then clubs them. This same gag, as stated above, has been reused in the 1935 Mickey cartoon On Ice. I also like how Alice and Julius feed the Eskimos like seals.

Referenced Comments