Mickey's Orphans

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : December 9, 1931

Running Time : 7:03


A bunch of orphan kids (depicted as kittens) are left on Mickey's doorstep in a basket. They make life into hell as Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto try to give them a Christmas party.


Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse


Bert Gillett
Johnny Cannon
Joe D'Igalo
Dave Hand
Norm Ferguson
Jack King
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Tom Palmer
Hardie Gramatky
Ben Sharpsteen
Dick Lundy


Nominated for an Academy award (Short Subjects - Cartoons.) The award went to "Flowers and Trees."

Cut Scenes

Some scenes of orphans firing popguns and breaking glass and chinaware have been cut.


United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 5 : Disney's Best of 1931-1948


Disney's Best of 1931-1948
Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 1
Mickey Mouse : The Black and White Years


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


The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 2: Mickey Landmarks
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 24, 1956

Original Animator's Drafts

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Technical Specification

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

Released by Columbia Pictures, Inc.


From Chris Beck : The orphans may make life into hell for Mickey and friends, but one has to wonder what possessed Mickey to give them hammers, axes, saws, and miniature cannons for Christmas in the first place!
From Joe Manning : Watching this cartoon really made me feel grateful that I only have two cats. They can really be a handful, but there must've been about 20-25 kittens in that basket. Imagine how many litter boxes Mickey and Minnie would have to clean. Yikes!
From Jerry Edwards : One of the few Disney cartoons that I truly detest. I find nothing humorous in the delinquent kittens destroying the house and ruining Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto's Christmas. BAH!! HUMBUG!!
From jasonC : Ahhh!!! Such a great cartoon! I love to see these absolutely adorable kiddies acting like psychopaths. And poor, helpful, well-intentioned Mickey and Minnie are completely defeated by their own kindness. It's a great parable for parents. And a fun thing for young hellions to watch. This seems to be one from a little sub-genre that could be called "Mickey-is-overwhelmed-by-an-army-of-babies". I mean, the irony is brilliant: pitting the cute against the cute. And I really love how at the end there is nothing for Mickey to do but laugh, which is a true lesson (for those of you who look for morals in you stories).
From Ryan : I have always loved this classic short. I can see why it won an academy award. Mickey and Minnie are the new owners of a huge litter of kittens (anyone want to guess how many there are?). As Mr. Joe Manning pointed out above, Mickey and Minnie will have a helluva lot of litter boxes to clean out. Why they'll probably spend more money on food for the kittens than they do on themselves. I watched a segment of the news last night, and there was a trailer house that had been evacuated because there was so much animal waste scattered around. Let's hope that doesn't happen to Mickey and Minnie.
From Lee Suggs : I think this is the first Mickey short set during Christmas. It interesting that the first such short would deal with Mickey and Minnie getting abused by cats! Of course, small animals abusing Mickey and his gang is a common theme in many classic shorts. (Orphan's Benefit, for example, twice!) I wouldn't say this is a short with deep meaning, but it is amusing. It's also positive that Mickey and Minnie are so good natured. The Christmas Tree in this short is fun too! I'm always impressed by how festive the animators made it look with just black and white shading.
From Chris Purdue : This short is not one of my very favorites, but it is one of Disney's first Christmas themed shorts in a sound cartoon. I agree with Lee Suggs. I like how festive the black and white Christmas trees look. Although I am legally blind, I can see the detail if I look closely at the screen. Although I don't love the early black and white Mickey cartoons that much, I would give this one a seven on a scale of one to ten. And I do like the scene where Mickey dresses as Santa.
From Gijs Grob : It's Christmas and a poor lady drops by Mickey and Minnie's house to leave a box at their doorstep. This box contains an endless quantity of little kittens who are taking over the house within seconds. Soon, the house is near complete destruction. This is partly Mickey's own fault, because dressed up as Santa he gives the little brats toys like hammers, saws, drills, axes, guns and canons. This is a real gag cartoon and the first with many brats causing havoc. No musical routine is involved, but as soon as the box with kittens is opened, the gags roll in like they never did before. The kittens even manage to give the ever cheerful Mickey and Minnie a dismayed look, albeit only at the end of the cartoon. The little kittens would cause havoc again in Mickey's Revue(1932) before being replaced by the little mice in Mickey's Nightmare later that year.
From Bill I. : I liked this short for many reasons. One, I believe it's the first "Christmas" short. It's strange but Walt did not make many holiday cartoons. Anyway, this short had little kittens instead of the baby mice in later shorts. Second, it was loaded with action and gags from the start. And third, it is important because it shows that Mickey and Minnie, even in the depths of the depression, still share all they have with strangers. I don't understand why when Mickey dresses as Santa he gives the kittens all those "tools" of destruction, but it was those tools that gave rise to all the great gags. I really did not like the ending when the orphans destroyed that beautiful Christmas tree. Other than that, it was enjoyable.
From Baruch Weiss : This short's ok, but it's not one of my favorites. For one thing, I'm not a fan of Black & White cartoons and for another thing all those kittens did was turn Mickey and Minnie's quiet home into a mad house!
From Virginia (Igalo) Morgan : As a child, our family followed all of my uncle's cartoons - Joe D'Igalo. Mickey's orphans was my favorite. Joe added the D' to his name after completing art school in Chicago. After attending art school, where he met Walt Disney, he went on to work with Disney.

Mickey's orphans was one in which he spoke about years later. We watched all of his cartoons and were thrilled to see his work in collaboration with other animators. He spoke of his wonderful ventures with Disney and Warner Brothers. His later career was in commercial art with Wilding pictures in Chicago, where he produced work for NASA and other government programs.

After retirement, my uncle retired in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was born. He opened a gallery displaying some of the best watercolor work of his life! As a child, he would send me unfinished watercolor paintings, for me to complete and return to him for critique! To watch him quickly doodle a cartoon was the highlight of his visits!

Thank you for the history of the animators of early Disney cartoons!

From Matthew Cooper : First, I'd like to point out that this short is very similar to (and nearly a remake of) Mickey's Good Deed because it also has Mickey playing Santa for a group of orphan kittens although, they are not given to him, he sees that they are poor and tries to give them a Christmas. Now, here is my opinion on this short. Usually, I don't care much for the old black and white cartoons but, this is one of my favorites. The antics these kittens cause for Mickey, Minnie and Pluto are plentiful and they come fast and funny. The concluding gag where Mickey and Minnie show the kids their Christmas tree and they rush and wreck it makes one say "Oh, poor Mick! ey and Minnie". NOTE: Why did they cut out the scene where the orphan's are firing popguns at the glasses and china? They were not shooting Mickey, Minnie, Pluto or each other. It was just household objects. If there was any scene that should have been cut, It should've be the one where the kittens stick hot embers down Mickey's shorts and he screams!"

Referenced Comments