Mickey's Mechanical Man

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : June 17, 1933

Running Time : 6:49

Synopsis

Mickey's built a robot named Champ who's going to win Mickey a prize by fighting Beppo the Gorilla, the Kongo Killer, in a boxing ring. The robot only works in fits and starts, though, so things look grim for a while. Luckily, Minnie resuscitates Champ by honking her car horn at him.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Beppo the Gorilla
Robot Boxer

Credits

Director
Wilfred Jackson
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Ed Love
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Paul Fennell
Ben Sharpsteen
Dick Lundy
Marvin Woodward
Louie Schmitt
Tom Bonfiglio
Jack Kinney
Nick George
Leonard Sebring
Roy Williams
Hardie Gramatky
Charles Couch

DVD

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

Television

Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 57
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 48
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 24, 1955
The Mickey Mouse Club : February 22, 1957

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 United Artists Pictures

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Honestly, I don’t have a lot to say about Mickey’s Mechanical Man. It’s a good Mickey cartoon with a straightforward story and some fun gags. In fact, it reminds me a bit of a Looney Tunes cartoon with its silliness and crazy premise. However, compared to some of the other 1933 Mickey shorts, it is not the best.

The premise itself is very good – Mickey and a robot (I presume made by Mickey, but it’s never stated) have a prize fight against Beppo the Gorilla, who was last seen in the early short The Gorilla Mystery. Just the simple fact of a fight between a robot and a gorilla being accepted as the norm made me laugh. Kudos to Disney for the set up alone.

The twist, and you know there had to be one, is that Mickey’s robot doesn’t fight well at all, until Minnie blows her car horn. When that happens, the robot goes nuts and tears up the gym and punches everything in sight, so long as it has Beppo’s picture on it. Like I said, it’s the kind of twist you’d expect from the Warner Bros. cartoons, but it works really well.

The work on the robot is the best animation in this short. It’s the kind of frantic, kinetic work that you don’t often see from Disney. Mickey, Minnie and even Pluto to some degree are very controlled figures. Even when Pluto runs amok, he is still in control of his limbs. The robot, on the other hand, goes wild, arms and legs flailing everywhere, motion flying all around.

As you could probably predict, the fight goes the wrong way for the majority of the time, until Minnie realizes what’s wrong. She runs outside, grabs the car horn and brings it inside. After a quick squeeze, the robot goes nuts again, destroying the gorilla, then blowing up itself.

The plot is the big thing in this short, and with a good premise and a fun twist, it works really well. Sure, we have some good animation work on the mechanical man, but Mickey and Minnie are the same as we’ve seen before. The real thing this short accomplishes is fun. It’s amusing to watch and easy to digest. That’s something that should not be underestimated.


From RJ : Fun but somewhat predictable. The moment you learn that Minnie's horn sets the robot off, you know what's going to happen in the match. Still, a clever and suitably outrageous premise with a solid follow through.
From Mac : This is a fun cartoon that's not quite like the other Mickey cartoons we've seen. There's quite a bit more talking from Mickey and Minnie than usual, making it a bit more like one of the comics. I think the predictable story somewhat spoils the funny and silly premise. It could have built up to something more unexpected. It's also a bit of a copy because the Betty Boop and Bimbo Talkartoon, "The Robot" (which also sees a robot being created in order to take part in a boxing match) had only been released the year before.

As usual, there's a wealth of detail in this one. Check out the brief scene of people outside the boxing stadium – lots of different characters doing different things – excitedly acting out the match, arguing over who will win, trying to get a look at the poster or even someone just standing scratching his bum – it's all here. There even a brief cameo of Horace (the first to enter the stadium) if you look quick. Also there's tons of details in the animated crowds inside the stadium, cunningly shaded so as not to detract from the action in the foreground. It must have been a lot of work to bring this cartoon to life!


From Jerry Edwards : I dislike boxing and don't care for films and shorts with boxing as a subject. The colorized version does use interesting colors.
From Ryan : I liked this short quite a bit even though I'm not a boxing fan. Mickey has his robot boxer fight Beppo the Gorilla (who appeared in The Pet Store and The Gorilla Mystery). I remember seeing the colorized version of this short on MouseTracks, but I prefer the original black and white version.
From Bill I. : This short had lots of action, but it was Mickey's robot that had all the scenes. Mickey builds a robot to fight Kongo Killer (Beppo) in a fight. While training the robot, Mickey finds that when Minnie blows the car horn, he goes crazy and beats up every picture of Kongo and everything else. When the fight starts, the robot does pretty good, but Kongo Killer finally gets the upper hand and beats Mickey's mechanical man to pieces in the ring. Minnie gets an idea, brings in the car horn and blows it. The robot gets up and wins the fight, all with great gags and great animation. One of the few early Mickey shorts that does not have a musical theme.