Mickey's Gala Premiere

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : July 1, 1933

Running Time : 7:21

Synopsis

Mickey and the gang attend a premiere of his latest cartoon at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and lots of Hollywood celebrities of the time are all there to see it.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Clarabelle Cow
Horace Horsecollar
Pluto

Caricatures

Ethel Barrymore
John Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore
Wallace Beery
Eddie Cantor
Maurice Chevalier
Chester Conklin
Joan Crawford
Bette Davis
Marie Dressler
Jimmy Durante
Jean Harlow
Harry Langdon
Laurel and Hardy
Marx Brothers
Ford Sterling
Mack Swain
Ben Turpin

Credits

Director
Bert Gillett
Animation
Ben Sharpsteen
Dick Lundy
Louie Schmitt
Fred Moore
Cy Young
Jack King
Joe Grant
Ed Love
Hardie Gramatky
Leonard Sebring
Hamilton Luske
Charles Couch
Dick Williams
Music
Frank Churchill

Laserdiscs

United States
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

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 59: Clarabelle and Horace
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 27
The Mickey Mouse Club : December 7, 1956

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

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 : Mickey’s Gala Premier may be the first short of 1933 that gives an insight into the mindset of the Disney studio at the time. While the rest of the shorts in that year have been excellent, this one speaks a great deal to the place of Mickey in Hollywood, and what the Disney artists, and most likely Walt himself, think about where their studio and their biggest star belong.

The basic idea of this short is that everyone is arriving to Graumann’s Chinese Theatre to the premiere of Mickey’s latest short. The entire beginning of the short features caricatures of celebrities on the red carpet, like the Keystone Kops, the Marx Brothers, Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante and many more that I didn’t recognize. All of Hollywood has turned out to salute Mickey on his big night.

Mickey shows up as well, with Minnie, Pluto, Horace and Clarabelle in tow. Inside the theatre, everyone watches the short-within-a-short, Galloping Romance. This mini-short is really a rehash of The Birthday Party and The Cactus Kid, as Mickey and Minnie are playing music together until Pete kidnaps her and rides away. Mickey saves her, of course. What’s interesting is that despite the rehash, the animation appears to be new. It would have been easy to use old animation in this short, since it is not the focal point of the short, but Disney went to the extra effort to put in new work.

The ending of the short is the telling thing about it. After Galloping Romance ends, Mickey is brought on stage and congratulated by the gathered masses. Finally, Greta Garbo herself strides on stage and plants a big kiss on our main mouse. At that point, Mickey wakes up in bed, revealing that it was all just a dream.

While Disney has used the “just a dream” premise before, I think here it reveals a great deal about the mindset of Walt. Here’s my amateur psychologist take: the short shows Mickey in his rightful place among the stars of Hollywood. Indeed, at the time, Mickey’s cartoons were every bit as popular if not more popular than the stars portrayed in this film. Walt’s asserting his place here. But he couldn’t help to be self-deprecating, and have it all turn out to be a dream.

There could have been a few other endings that would have worked – having Minnie get jealous of Garbo, for example. But the studio didn’t choose that ending or any other. By having Mickey’s stardom turn out to be a dream, it takes the arrogance out of the short and makes it adorable. It’s great work by Disney.

It’s undeniable, though, that at this point in 1933, Mickey is the biggest cartoon star of the day, and he belongs in the Hollywood pantheon. You can sense the shift that has taken place from the early Mickeys of barnyard life to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The current Mickey is a well to do man, living a suburban life. It obviously mirrors the transformation of Walt himself. But more on that to come.

In the meantime, enjoy Mickey’s Gala Premiere, and play name the celebrity. It’s a fun game to play, as you see all the stars rolling in the aisles. Enjoy!


From Mac : Another cracking Mickey cartoon. Even for people who don't recognize many of the celebrities, there's the great music, grand atmosphere and good humor to keep this short so irresistible!

For once the it-was-all-a-dream ending doesn't feel like a cop-out. I agree with everything you said about this, Ryan and would also add that this ending doesn't spoil the continuity of Mickey's world and character. For all his celebrity status in real world 1933, he remains popular because he'll always be the little guy within his cartoon existence.

It's not hard to see how the idea for this cartoon came about. Mickey's cartoons were tremendously popular, he was often receiving star billing and with his cartoons now being released by United Artists (Founded by Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith) Mickey was almost literally rubbing shoulders with the stars. In fact it's interesting to note that Pickford's and Fairbanks' picture are two of the closest ones to Mickey's bed. Speaking of UA, the cartoon-within-a cartoon gives us a rare view of 'original' titles for Mickey shorts of this era.

I personally really the caricature of Will Hays. The caricature stills work today because it look hilariously like it's supposed to be Prince Charles!


From RJ : A short that acknowledges its own medium. How wonderfully post-modern. This short is one of the earliest examples of Disney portraying Mickey as not just a character, but an actor playing a character. This theme continues to this day.
From Calvin Daprice : I taped this cartoon off the Disney Channel last summer. I could really identify quite a few of the stars such as the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin. Others, I just didn't have a clue. Mickey sure was popular with the Hollywood stars as I am with my fellow students. Too bad he was only dreaming.
From J. D. Weil : This inquiry is about the Mickey Mouse short Gallopin' Romance. Don't look for it in the filmographies, it isn't there. Gallopin' Romance is the cartoon-within-the-cartoon Mickey's Gala Premiere and here hangs this inquiry. Since 1928 Walt Disney has steadily refused to have any distributor place his name over Walt's. Yet, on the title card of Gallopin' Romance the name of Joseph M. Schenck can clearly be seen. Joe Schenck was the CEO of United Artists (Disney's distributor at the time). So how did his name get there? I don't believe this was an error nor do I believe that this was some kind of inside joke, but I would like to know the reason for having this happen.
From Jerry Edwards : I enjoy this mainly for the oddity of a "cartoon within a cartoon." It does appear to me that, although the "Premiere" cartoon does contain some new animation, there is much recycled animation from the 1930 The Cactus Kid and the 1931 The Birthday Party. The chase scene from the "Premiere" is fun - Mickey keeps changing "vehicles" - a galloping xylophone, a turtle, an octopus, and a kangaroo. The animators doe a nice job of making very recognizable caricatures of the movie stars of that time. I especially loved a scene in which Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein are shown in the audience - all three laughing hysterically. The colorized version is fun in that it keeps the "premiere cartoon" in black and white. I do dislike that this is yet another "just a dream" cartoon. I feel the short would have been much more effective if it had been shown as if it really happened.
From Ryan : I absolutely loved this short. When I first saw it, I thought Mickey really was having one of his pictures shown at the Mann's Chinese Theater. It was quite a surprise to find out that he was only dreaming. I could identify quite a few of the stars like Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and Greta Garbo (she was the one who was kissing Mickey right?). I would like to know who that actor was that had that "monkey mouth" and when he laughed, he sounded like a hyena.
From Bill : I loved this short! The concept of a cartoon in a cartoon, plus the story of Mickey being honored by his peers in Hollywood shows that the storywriters in the 30's have it all over today's talent. All I hear is that they have a hard time developing stories for Mickey! They should let us fans send in stories; they will have plenty. Back to the short: the caricatures of the era's stars drawn by the animators were great, Even Joe E. Brown was so well done. And to see them laughing in the aisles over Mickey just showed how popular The Mick was and always will be! Even the cartoon in the cartoon, Galloping Romance, was pretty good. The best scene I liked was in the beginning when Mickey and Minnie and of course, Pluto, were getting out of the limo. Just classic Hollywood.
From Gijs Grob : One of the greatest of all Mickey Cartoons. Mickey's Gala Premiere both celebrates Mickey's popularity as establishes him as one of the leading actors of the period. The cartoon which is shown at the premiere, Galloping Romance is an early and fantastic self-parody. This short only exists within Mickey's Gala Premiere and is a ridiculous variation on Gallopin' Gaucho, in which Mickey rides a number of silly animals in his pursuit of Peg Leg Pete. This self-consciously silly cartoon is way more old-fashioned than Mickey's Gala Premiere itself. Nevertheless, the crowd, which consists solely of well-known performers of the time, laugh their heads off and, after the show, all try to congratulate Mickey. Mickey's wet dream appears to be being kissed by Swedish actress Greta Garbo, because it is the cartoon's climax before it's being revealed that all has been just a dream.

The self-conscious nature of this cartoon would remain rare at Disney's but would become one of the key features of the Warner Brother Cartoons who would produce similar cartoons as You ought to be in Pictures (1940) and What's Cookin' Doc? (1944). Both cartoons are tributary to Mickey's Gala Premiere, as is Warner Brothers' Coo-Coo Nut Grove (1936) which features a number of caricatures of movie stars, as well.

Among the stars featured in Mickey's Gala Premiere I managed to identify The Keystone Cops, Marie Dressler, Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Maurice Chevalier, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, Harold Lloyd, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, Joe E. Brown, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mae West, Greta Garbo, Bela Lugosi, Frederic March and Boris Karloff. Also featured is some guy who has a striking resemblance to Prince Charles of Wales and who's dressed up as a king.


From Mike : This is a great cartoon. I love the mixing of the Disney characters with a lot of the great stars of old Hollywood. The first time I saw clips of this was on the Limited Gold Edition videos. I enjoyed the clip of the stars shaking Mickey's hands and feet. It's pretty cool to see him being around people like Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, & the Marx Brothers who no doubt help inspire some of the humor in these old cartoons.

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