Poster

Orphan's Benefit

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : August 11, 1934

Running Time : 9:06

Synopsis

An ensemble performance emceed by Mickey includes piano playing, an adagio dance, an operatic number, and numerous attempts by Donald Duck to recite "Little Boy Blue."

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Clarabelle Cow
Horace Horsecollar
Goofy
Clara Cluck
Orphans
Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Wilfred Jackson
Animation
Hamilton Luske
Art Babbitt
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi

Cut Scenes

When cartoon was remade in 1941, Donald's final comment of "aw... nuts!" was redubbed to "aw... phooey!" New prints of the 1934 version - even on laserdisc and video tape - make the substitution, too.

Laserdiscs

United States
Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 1
Japan
Mickey Mouse : The Black and White Years
Mickey Mouse: A Star is Born

DVD

United States
Mickey Mouse in Black and White
Germany
Mickey Mouse in Black and White
Italy
Extreme Music Fun

Television

Walt Disney Presents: The Donald Duck Story

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

  • In this short, Goofy begins to mature, being built a little more realistically for the first time.
  • Remade as Orphan's Benefit in 1941.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : I was watching Orphan’s Benefit, the latest Mickey Mouse short today, and I kept thinking that there was something familiar about it. So, I looked it up, and there’s a good reason for that. This short was remade seven years later, with the same title, and pretty much the same plot. I had seen the 1941 version before, but the 1934 version is very notable.

The main thing to see in this short is the transition from Mickey, the solo star, to the leader of the gang. Mickey rarely even appears in this short, and he does not drive any of the action. Mickey shows up to introduce the event, prompt Donald on his lines, and play piano for Clara Cluck. Other than that, he’s not involved.

Instead, the action is borne by the side characters. Donald Duck makes his crossover from the Silly Symphonies to a member of Mickey’s supporting cast here. And it’s likely this short that won him the recurring role in the Disney pantheon. The animators had the brilliant idea of having Donald attempt to recite “Little Boy Blue” and be interrupted by the orphans. Combine that with Clarence Nash’s vocals, and you have comedy gold.

Here is where we see Donald’s famous temperament for the first time. His signature angry stance of one arm out in front and the other swinging back and forth is on display here. This is where we see Donald become the character he is today. He really is the most fully formed character from the beginning that Disney produced.

That’s not the only cast member getting an upgrade here, though. Goofy appears alongside Clarabelle and Horace as part of a dance troupe. But this is no longer Dippy Dawg. Goofy’s trademark hat, his nose and face have all taken the shape that they would retain for his solo shorts. It’s a much more expressive and well done Goofy here, and he has now joined the gang.

There are also appearances by Clara Cluck, who would return in the remake of this short, but is not part of the Mickey gang as a whole. She makes other appearances throughout the Mickeys, but is not the featured character like Donald and Goofy will become.

Other than the promotion of Donald and Goofy, this short is as a whole unremarkable. There are some fun gags, but it’s really a take off on the old performance shorts we have seen going all the way back to Alice’s Wild West Show. It’s a make shift stage with some silly vaudeville acts, just like many other shorts we have seen. That doesn’t mean that it’s not funny, but it’s nothing spectacular. Still enjoyable and well worth viewing.


From David Gerstein at Ramapith : Look closely at Goofy's chin—or lack thereof. He's not *quite* himself in Orphan's Benefit yet... his eyes aren't quite as sleepy as they would later get, either. For me, the last "Dippy" is really Mickey's Fire Brigade—and Goofy's mature model really kicks in with On Ice. Just look at them side-by-side...

Interestingly, the name Goofy (originally "Goofie") was used in marketing as early as 1934, and the name Dippy would occasionally be used in marketing as late as 1941.


From Mac : I've always thought of this as a pretty good short, but not all that special. Watching them in order though, it's much better than I gave it credit for. The gang really comes together here (with Clarabelle, Horace and Goofy's act being the highlight for me).

The hoards of Mickey-kids are no longer his nephews, but orphans. I suppose because Morty and Ferdie made their screen debut the same year, this made them the 'official' nephews and the millions of others needed some distinction!

Of course Donald blasts onto the screen with his fiery temper in this one. This is one of the things that makes the short so good. Everyone knows Donald now, but at the time this character was so original and funny. He's a bit more of a kid in this one being half the size of Mickey, reciting nursery rhymes and getting told to behave himself.

We've seen some similar hens before (like the leading chicken in Funny Little Bunnies), but this is the first appearance of Clara Cluck. I know Disney has done acts-on-the-stage cartoons before, but I can understand why they wanted to do this one since it's a great opportunity to bring together all the new, old and updated characters. The orphans, Mickey, Minnie (in a brief cameo at the ticket booth), Goofy, Clara, Clarabelle, Horace there's a lot of 'em, even without Pluto and Pete!


From Jerry Edwards : Mickey and the gang, which now includes both Donald and Goofy, put on a benefit show for the orphans. The mischievous orphans delight in taunting the performers - especially Donald - with the orphans easily winning the conflict. I especially enjoy Donald impersonating Jimmy Durante with Donald's beak changing to a large nose and Donald exclaiming, "Am I mortified!" This scene is not in the 1941 remake. I love what both my wife and I consider to be an audio goof. Mickey tells Donald to behave, but we both hear "PLUTO, behave!" Hear this also in the 1941 remake. First appearance of Clara Cluck. Second appearance of Donald and his first appearance with Mickey and the gang. Although it is now usually titled Orphans' Benefit, the original title was incorrectly titled Orphan's Benefit.
From Gijs Grob : Mickey and the gang are giving a theatrical performance for the orphan mice we know from Mickey's Nightmare (1932) and other cartoons. We see Donald Duck reciting "Little Boy Blue", Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow and Goofy as acrobats and Mickey and Clarabelle Cluck giving a recital. Donald's looks are still a bit awkward: he has black feet (because of his transition from color to black and white), an elongated bill and he is very small compared to the rest of the gang. Nevertheless, Orphan's Benefit marks the real birth of Donald Duck: he's cast outside the Silly Symphonies along Mickey and his co-stars, and he's really stealing the show. Moreover, for the first time he's showing his temper and his typical 'dance of anger' (created and animated by Dick Lundy). Besides Donald Duck this cartoon introduces Clara Cluck, the opera-singing hen. Mickey's role is reduced to a scarcely visible and embarrassingly unfunny straight man. Therefore Orphan's Benefit marks as much the start of Donald's career as the beginning of Mickey's demise.
From Steven : This is one of my favorite Mickey cartoons. I'm a big fan of the Mickey's orphans cartoons. The scene with Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, and Goofy is classic. A very delightful cartoon, ten out of ten.
From Maxwell Morton "Max" Goudiss : This is the very first cartoon with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in it. Before "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1955-1994), Mickey and Donald become good friends. But by the time "The Mickey Mouse Club" came out on ABC-TV in 1955, Donald Duck became jealous of Mickey Mouse, just like Daffy Duck being jealous of Bugs Bunny, that happened at least four years before Mickey and Donald's rivalry began. This cartoon will also be the same in 1941, but with the remodeled version of the Disney characters who appeared in this cartoon.

Referenced Comments