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The Flying Mouse

A Silly Symphony

Release Date : July 14, 1934

Running Time : 9:17

Synopsis

A small mouse saves a butterfly from a spider's web. The butterfly turns out to be a fairy who gives the mouse one wish : to be able to fly. But his wish turns out to be not quite what he bargained for.

Characters

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse's Mother
Fairy (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Dave Hand
Animation
Marvin Woodward
Cy Young
Bob Wickersham
Hamilton Luske
Hardie Gramatky
Fred Moore
Nick George
Harry Bailey
George Drake
Leonard Sebring
Backgrounds
Carlos Manriquez
Story
Bill Cottrell
Music
Frank Churchill
Bert Lewis
Inbetweener
Ward Kimball
Voices
Billy Sheets
The Three Rhythm Kings
Marion Darlington
Marcellite Garner

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Silly Symphonies
France
La Joyeuse Menagerie
Italy
C'era Una Volta un Topo
C'era Una Volta un Topo
Paperino e la Sua Banda di Paperi

CED

United States
Limited Gold Editions - Silly Symphonies

Laserdiscs

Japan
Once Upon a Mouse

DVD

United States
Dumbo : Big Top Edition
Dumbo
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Germany
Dumbo (Special Collection)
Dumbo
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
France
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Italy
Dumbo
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies

Blu-Ray

United States
Dumbo (Two Disc 70th Anniversay BluRay/DVD Combo Pack)

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 53: Silly Symphonies at the Zoo
The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 23: The "Other" Mice

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
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 Johann Weiss : I don't know about you, but bats and mice both make me a little nervous.
From Jerry Edwards : Well done, interesting cartoon - but not among my favoites. Contains the song "You're Nothin' But A Nothin'" which was released on sheet music. The main reason this isn't among my favorites is the way I perceive the "hidden philosophy." The cartoon is telling me that you shouldn't strive for something you badly want. Also don't do a good deed, you'll be punished for it. Why should this poor mouse get nothing but grief as a result of wanting to fly and saving a fairy's life. She could just as easily given him butterfly wings or bird wings. I just don't like the attitude of this short - as I perceive it.
From Ryan : I didn't care too much for this short. I kind of felt sorry for the poor mouse when he gets his wings so that he can fly, but it doesn't turn out to be what he wanted. He gets teased by some bats and his own family mistakes him for a bat and dashes into their pumpkin house. The fairy in this short looked a lot like the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio."
From Super Secret Mario : I liked this short. The moral of it is to be yourself and not something you are not.
From Steve Taylor : Another way of looking at the moral for this short is "don't bother trying to improve yourself or be something unique, since other people won't like it." He had WINGS, for crying out loud!
From Jim and Joyce Quitter : We are an old couple in our 80's and can barely remember this cartoon. We had some help in finding the exact cartoon when we could not remember the source of the song "You're Nothing but a Nothing." We had gone around the house humming the tune and singing some of the words that we remembered. It was driving us crazy. None of our acquaintenances could help. We inquired from ASCAP and a really nice guy was good enough to direct us to this web site. Still haven't found the lyrics, but we're a lot wiser than we were before. Two old people made happy.
From Ilene : I saw this cartoon on the Wide World of Disney as a 4/5 year-old child, in 1961 or '62, and it has haunted me most of my life. He just wanted to fly, and really, what child didn't. But that song, "You're nuthin', you're nuthin', you're nuthin' but a nuthin', you're not a thing at all!" was horrific to my 4/5 year-old mind. Of course he was something! Anyone could see he was  something ... Anyway, that song lodged in my brain, erupting whenever I felt insecure about some new thing I was doing. I guess the moral of the story was supposed to be "be content with who you are--don't try to be something you're not," but I felt like the moral of the story was rather "Know your place. Don't strive for your dreams--you'll never fit in anyway."
From Gijs Grob : A musical cartoon about a little mouse who wants to fly like the birds. A blue fairy grants him that wish, giving him bat-like wings, but he soon discovers that these don't bring him any luck: he is not allowed to join the xenophobic birds, not recognized by his relatives and called "a nothing" by a group of crooked bats. Luckily, the same fairy releases him from his wings and in the end we see our little hero running to his mother in the sunset light. This cartoon is one of many silly symphonies that seem to aim directly at kids and that are rather moralistic. This seems to be a strong trend in 1934 and it gradually led Disney away from brashy humor towards sugary goody-goodiness. This cartoon is quite humorless, yet beautifully drawn. The blue fairy is a good try at the human figure (if not near Snow White, let alone the blue fairy in Pinocchio) and the mice are drawn much more realistically than Mickey. Moreover, The Flying Mouse is another stunning example of character animation: our main hero acts out his feelings mostly in pantomime. We can feel his joy, his embarrassment, his fear and his grief.
From Matthew Cooper : This short was on the same tape on which I saw The China Shop for the first time, along with a number of others (to name them all would go off topic, let's get back to this cartoon.) This short is very cute, and it has a very good moral: be yourself and don't wish to be something else. There are a few things I'd like to point out about the characters: The mice wear gloves like Mickey; but they dress in Donald Duck format (shirt but no pants.) The fairy looks slightly like the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio; but she looks even more like the goddess Persephone from The Goddess of Spring Silly Symphony. In fact, she is pretty much just Persephone with wings. Lastly, the spider who holds the fairy captive (as a butterfly) looks a lot like W.C. Fields, don't you think? Now, I'd just like to say that when my sister saw this cartoon with me, we sang "Nothin' But a Nothin'" for a while.
From Sydney Simmonds : I loved the scene when the mouse's sister's dress shrunk, but we don't see her at the end of the cartoon. But I know why: Well, the mother mouse dressed the sister mouse in a fancy dress so I think she went to a birthday and a sleepover party because if it was just a birthday party she would be in the end of the cartoon. This short does have a good moral in it. Moral: It is always best to be yourself.
From Nicole A.Y. : The philosophy I perceived was a little different from that of comments above(or below?) The little mouse wanted to have wings just because he saw birds are happy with wings, and to be happy, he needs a pair of wings. The ultimate goal of him is to be happy, but not to fly. So what he wished was a direction that far away from his "true self". What I mean is that, everyone has their own beauty, there're no need to change. Like those teen girls nowadays which are not satisfied for their own appearance, they should learn to accept it and discover their own unique traits instead of simply pretending to be someone that's not themselves. I like this story, in conclusion.
From Andrew : Looking back from age 54, I think The Flying Mouse has been the dominant theme in my life. You can say what you want about what it is supposed to mean, but the effect on me was to make me terrified of being different. I had the soundtrack on a record and my mother used to play it over and over for me: "you're nuthin but a nuthin. A Nuthin! A Nuthin!" Something prompted me to look it up this morning and I didn't know until today that it was a Disney cartoon. I have played out variations of the story over and over again in my life and I have never quite been able to shake it. Thanks, Walt!
From Ben R. : I saw this cartoon short with the mother mouse 1 sister mouse and 4 brother mice. There was a spanking scene when the mouse (wears a dress shirt, shoes but no pants) tries to fly with leaves and got blown backwards and got poked in the rear end by a thorn tree and fell in the tub and got his mom and sister wet and shrunk his sisters dress and his mother whipped his furry butt with his tail and the mouse is crying afterwards. That must've stung the mouses bottom especially with no pants on him.