The Steeple Chase

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : September 30, 1933

Running Time : 7:46

Synopsis

Colonel Rolf Rolfe has bet his last "bottom dollar" on his horse, Thunderbolt, to win. When the horse discovers a gin bottle and drinks it, though, Mickey has to costume two stable hands as a horse and ride them in the race, instead.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Colonel Rolf Rolfe
Thunderbolt, the Horse

Credits

Director
Bert Gillett
Animation
Les Clark
Ed Love
Art Babbitt
Johnny Cannon
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi

Cut Scenes

Quite a few black stereotypes have been cut, as well as scenes of horses drinking alcohol and getting drunk.

DVD

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

Television

Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 6
The Mickey Mouse Club : November 21, 1956

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's Trick Horse."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : The Steeple Chase is the first Mickey short in a while to feature a sports theme. As a long time Disney cartoon lover, it’s only natural that you would compare this to the later Goofy shorts, where the loveable Goof showed us how to play sports. This is not one of those types of shorts, but it shares many of the traits with those Goofy classics.

The set up to this one is actually rather complex for a Mickey short. Mickey is the jockey of Thunderbolt, a prize horse ready to run in the steeple chase. The horse belongs to the Colonel, an old man who is sponsoring Mickey in the race. The Colonel wants Mickey and Thunderbolt to win.

Unfortunately, when Mickey and the Colonel leave the stables, Thunderbolt gets into the moonshine, and drinks a whole bottle. That leaves Thunderbolt out cold, after some crazy antics at the expense of the stable boys.

Regardless, Mickey realizes that he has to run the race and win, or he’ll break the Colonel’s heart. It reminds me a lot of old Spider-Man comics, where Spider-Man thought he had to do things all the time because otherwise his poor old Aunt May would pass away, presumably from the shock to her system. What is poor Mickey to do?

With the help of the stable boys, he grabs a horse costume and enters the race riding on the backs of the stable boys. One interesting thing to note here is that the stable boys look like a thinner version of the Beagle Boys, the villains from the Scrooge McDuck cartoons and comics. I don’t think they are officially appearing as the Beagle Boys, but the design is the same.

Regardless, the race itself is the fun part of the short, as the costume horse struggles to catch up. The gags aren’t the best ever, but they are fun, including the horse going under hurdles and throwing Mickey over, the horse waddling into a pond and getting attacked by bees. As you could imagine, the bees are the impetus for the win by Mickey and crew.

While the other horses tap the beehive with their tails while going over a hurdle, the costume horse gets tangled up and is stung repeatedly. This is where it really reminded me of the Goofy cartoons, because it was non stop from that point forward. The bees kept hitting the horse, spurring it on and over other horses until Mickey won.

In the end, having won the race, Mickey accepts the prize for the Colonel. What’s interesting is that we do not see the Colonel again, after the beginning of the short. Since his happiness played such a big role, you would expect to see him again, but there’s only Mickey’s mention of him in his acceptance speech.

The Steeple Chase is good, but not great. I enjoyed it, but it is not as good as the Goofy sports themed shorts, nor quite as entertaining as some of the 1933 Mickeys. Still, it’s a pretty good short with some interesting elements, that I hope everyone will enjoy.


From Mac : Yeah, this is a decent Mickey short, but not one of the best. I wonder if you saw an edited version of the cartoon because the Colonel is seen a couple of times watching the race with Minnie. First he sees Mickey riding the pantomime horse and exclaims "It's Thunderbolt!" (he must be blind as well as deaf!) then we see him witness Mickey win the race – he's so excited he jumps out his wheel chair and blows his ear trumpet in celebration.

If you look out in the backgrounds of this short you'll see some of the names of the other horses above the stable doors, one of which is called Tanglefoot. This is interesting because 1933 was the year a Mickey comic story was published about Mickey and his race horse Tanglefoot.

It's possible that this cartoon was originally going to be about Tanglefoot too, but the story changed during the development of this cartoon. I can only speculate on this, but I think Tanglefoot does make a cameo in this cartoon – when the horses are entering in a line he's the second one (following behind the black one, he's got spots and a short mane).


From Jerry Edwards : The uncensored version of this short is much more interesting - many of the "fun bits" are censored. I've never seen an uncensored version on the Disney Channel. The colorized version is also censored. The numerous gags interest me - but what interests me most is that Mickey does not consider it wrong to cheat to win the horse race.
From Bill I. : I thought this short had some nice animation and backgrounds, especially the animation of the horses. The storyline was a nice change from Mickey saves Minnie; it reminded me of a Three Stooges story. Mickey is supposed to ride Rolf Rolfe's horse in a steeplechase race where Rolfe bet his last bottom dollar on. But the horse finds a bottle of booze in the stable and can't even stand. Mickey is desperate, so he drags the two stablehands and finds a horse costume and the race is on. Just one funny sight gag after another, and lots of action. The scenes with the bees attacking Mickey and his horse are classic. Mickey finally wins the race, saving Rolfe's bottom dollar.

Referenced Comments