The Mail Pilot

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : May 13, 1933

Running Time : 7:26

Synopsis

Through rain, sleet, snow and mail bandits, Mickey's mail must go through.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Pete

Credits

Director
Dave Hand
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Les Clark
Ed Love
Joe D'Igalo
Jack Kinney
Leonard Sebring
Roy Williams
Hamilton Luske
Hardie Gramatky
Jack Cutting
Charles Couch
Nick George
Dick Williams
Tom Palmer

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 10 : Mickey's Crazy Careers

Laserdiscs

Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 1
Japan
Mickey Mouse : The Black and White Years

DVD

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

Television

Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 63
The Mickey Mouse Club : November 25, 1955

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
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by United Artists Pictures

Comments

  • Released in 16mm form under the title "Mickey Saves the Airmail."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : I know I’ve said it a million times already, but Disney hit its stride with Mickey Mouse in late 1932, and all of the 1933 shorts have kept that going. The Mail Pilot is no exception, featuring some fantastic animation to compliment a simple but fun plot.

This one features Mickey as a pilot carrying an important package, looking to avoid the mail bandit Pete. Of course, that doesn’t happen, and the two battle it out in the skies, using their planes to fight high and low. Our hero ends up winning, and delivers the package as required as well as turning Pete over to the authorities.

The animation in The Mail Pilot is outstanding, not just getting us from point A to point B, or plodding along from side to side, but taking dynamic angles, shooting the camera straight on at Mickey flying in the rain, looking up or down at the planes in flight and making sure to keep the action in full focus.

This is probably the most dynamic of the Mickey shorts in quite some time, for that reason. This features Mickey as the dashing hero, a role he has not played since his earliest appearances. Certainly, he gets menaced and is the underdog, but he resorts to quick thinking, trying to make his downed plane into a helicopter with a jury-rigged clothesline or taking the propeller off a windmill to power his plane.

There’s also a bit of the romantic, as Mickey has a picture of Minnie with him in the plane. It’s a bit of a prescient piece, as this is still 6 years before World War II, when many American men would be in planes with pictures of their sweethearts. Here, it’s a simple gag, but Minnie’s picture gives Mickey the strength to push forward.

The gags here are pretty darn good as well, including the ways Mickey makes his plane keep going that I mentioned before. There’s also some great gags like Pete being dragged through a church steeple and then to the ground, having the church bells wrapped around him as he clanks his way into a mail bag to be captured.

I think The Mail Pilot might be my new favorite of 1933. Considering I’ve said that about three times now, it shows you how high the quality of these shorts is. Disney found a formula that works with Mickey in the 1932-33 era, and it makes me pretty happy just to be watching the greatness.


From Mac : Yeah, another really good Mickey cartoon. It's great to see one that's adventure-based too. It's not my personal pick as the best of 1933. Maybe that's because I'm not that keen on the song that plays throughout the short "The mail must get through!" I mean it's an OK song, but it's not the best. Still a fun adventure in the sky!

Also notice how the sun character from Father Noah's Ark reappears here too.


From RJ : Another solid Mickey toon. An interesting setting with a classic Mickey vs Pete duel. Mix in some clever gags and we've got another winner. Its refreshing to see Mickey and Pete fighting over something other than Minnie. I don't think its quite as good as some of the other recent shorts but still very solid. My one complaint is that I felt it dragged a little after Mickey takes off. Just some uneventful flying for a relatively long period. I think they could have tightened that up a bit and the short would have been just a little better for it. But that's a fairly minor complaint.
From Jerry Edwards : Mickey's determination to deliver the mail in his small plane is tested by weather and Pete, a wanted mail bandit. Mickey succeeds in capturing Pete after a furious aerial battle. Enjoyable short, with plenty of action and gags. I especially like the creative ways Mickey kept his plane flying after Pete shoots off the propeller - such as using a clothes line to convert the plane to a helicopter and later using a windmill's "arms" as a propeller. The weather scenes, especially the snow, are nicely animated.
From Ryan : Although this short really isn't one of my favorites, I do enjoy the animation. The scene with Mickey going through the snowstorm is nicely done as well as him going through the rain. I noticed that the sun was drawn with a face kind of like in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." This is one of those shorts that Disney colorized, but I haven't seen the colorized version.
From Bill : Great classic black and white Mickey. I especially liked the plot, again classic Mickey where Mickey is against the bigger bad guy and takes his licks, but through cunning and bravery he wins the day and his girl, Minnie. I also liked the liked the subtle gag where Mickey aims the oil can at Pete, shoots it, and the oil drips down to form cell bars. I just wonder why Disney cannot or will not make shorts again like this. I guess they don't make gag writers or storymen like they used to.
From Gijs Grob : Mickey is a mail pilot who deals with a blizzard and an evil mail robber (not Peg Leg Pete). This is one of the 1933 cartoons introduced by a song ("The Mail Must Go Through"). This song forms the main musical theme, which is developed in classical fashion in the rest of the score. The design of the anthropomorphized sun is the same as in Father Noah's Ark from one month earlier. The story of "The Mail Pilot" and that of Shanghaied (1934) were later loosely combined in Floyd Gottfredson's comic strip "Mickey and the Pirates" (1934).

Referenced Comments