Mickey Plays Papa

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : September 29, 1934

Running Time : 8:58

Synopsis

While reading a murder mystery late at night, Mickey and Pluto find Elmer, a mouse toddler, on their doorstep. Trying to make the boy feel at home, Mickey and Pluto almost bring the house down around their knees.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pluto
Orphan (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Wilfred Jackson
Animation
Tom Palmer
Bob Wickersham
Hardie Gramatky
Johnny Cannon
Fred Moore
Dick Lundy
Bill Roberts
Ben Sharpsteen
Roy Williams
Marvin Woodward
Cy Young
Layout
Ken Anderson
Inbetweener
Ward Kimball

Cut Scenes

Mickey aims gun at baby before realizing what's going on. Mickey fooling around with knives in the kitchen.

DVD

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

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 28: Early Mickey
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 33
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 52
The Mickey Mouse Club : February 13, 1957
The Mickey Mouse Club : April 30, 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

  • A segment of this short was used in the Disney feature "The Journey of Natty Gann."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Mickey Plays Papa is a short that features a couple of left turns, but is all the better for it. It also features some great gags, very good animation, and some of the best work on Pluto I have seen in the Disney shorts. It all adds up to make a good gag short, if not all that memorable in the long run.

I say that this short takes some left turns, because the opening sets the viewer up for a vastly different experience than what actually happens. The opening scene features a stormy night outside Mickey’s house, with a mysterious figure creeping into view. Immediately, expectations have you ready for a haunted house or mystery story. In fact, Mickey and Pluto are in bed reading such a story, a murder mystery. It’s the arrival of the mysterious stranger that changes things.

The stranger leaves a baby on the front porch, and the child starts crying, which sends Mickey and Pluto into fits. The cries sound more like screams, which play right into the mystery/ghost vibe established early in the short. It is amazing the work that the animators do in this early part of the short. All the shots feature incredible darkness and establish the mood of dark and creepy.

Then, the baby appears, and the mood changes. Mickey and Pluto set about to entertain the baby, with disastrous results. As a parent, watching Mickey’s struggles to get the child to stop crying were quite funny. I particularly enjoyed Mickey trying to be Charlie Chaplin, to no avail.

Pluto takes over the next sequence as Mickey figures out that the baby is hungry. Pluto, hearing this, brings the baby his bone. Again, a great gag. That’s followed by a few minutes of Pluto doing all sorts of things, from swallowing a duck toy to ending up in a trunk.

The finale of the short comes when Mickey is trying to figure out how to get the baby his bottle. In an accident, Mickey gets the nipple of the bottle stuck on his nose and can’t get it off. He finally is able to pull it off, but the resulting force sends him crashing into a bookshelf. When he emerges, his nose is stretched out, and that causes the baby to laugh, finally. Mickey takes advantage and does his best Jimmy Durante impression to close the short.

Besides the great gags, the other thing that impressed me with this short was the depth of the animation. The characters have more dimensionality and look more rounded than they have in some of the previous Mickeys of this era. The opening shots of the stranger creeping around Mickey’s house are so well done that they look realistic. It’s a great compliment to the gags that make this one worth watching.


From Mac : The Mickey cartoons will soon be turning to color, but on the basis of the early scenes in this short, it's a shame Disney didn't continue to use black and white every now and then. The opening minutes of this cartoon look fantastic and even better than the color cartoons of this era.

Although I like the early scenes and, as Ryan says, there's wonderful animation throughout the short, this isn't one I re-watch too often. Post Playful Pluto there's an awful lot of 'stuck humor' in this one that gets a bit tiresome for me. Pluto gets a rabbit toy stuck inside him and tangled round his leg, Mickey gets the rubber nipple stuck on his nose, Pluto gets a fishbowl stuck on his bum... The cartoon does make up for it a little bit with the funny outcomes. Mickey getting pinned to the wall by knives, the fish turning nasty and biting Pluto and what Mickey looks like after he's got the nipple off are all funny. Also, if you're immature enough, you can step-frame through some of the rubber-nipple moments and it looks like Mickey's got a condom on his nose!

In the film "Hollywood Party", also released in 1934, there's a scene of the animated Mickey Mouse playing around with the live action Jimmy Durante in which Mickey does his impression again. For good measure, Donald has already done his own Durante impression this year in Orphan's Benefit. Must have been something the animators enjoyed doing!


From Jerry Edwards : After continually trying to quiet the orphan's crying, Mickey finally gets the baby laughing with a Jimmy Durante impersonation. I find this cartoon very tiresome with the baby continually crying. The beginning animation - of the mother leaving the child on the doorstep on a dark and stormy night - is very nicely done. A severely edited version was shown on the Mickey Mouse Club as "Pluto and the Baby." It wasn't until I was later able to find the original that I realized the source for the MMC version. As an example of the erroroneous information I have received from Disney at times (both the Disney Channel and Disney Archives)- in reply to my question of the original source for "Pluto and the Baby" - the Disney source informed me the original cartoon source as Mother Pluto which is a totally different 1936 short.
From Ryan : I remember when I saw this short on the "Ink and Paint Club." It was one of my favorites. The baby seems to be difficult to satisfy. Mickey tries to entertain him by squeaking a toy and impersonating Charlie Chaplin. He sure gets a laugh out of Mickey's Jimmy Durante "Cha Cha Cha!"
From Gijs Grob : Mickey Plays Papa reuses the concept of Mickey receiving orphans from Mickey's Orphans from 1931. But this time he has to deal with only one orphan mouse, called Elmer. It's particularly noteworthy for its scary opening: while Mickey's reading a scary novel titled "The Cry in the Night" in bed, someone's laying the orphan at his doorstep, whose cries scare Mickey and Pluto. When Mickey and Pluto discover that these cries are caused by a cute little baby, they both try to comfort him. Their attempts include a nice Charlie Chaplin imitation by Mickey. But most importantly, they lead to long character-based solo sequences (like Mickey's trouble with a rubber nipple and Pluto's antics with a toy bunny and a fishbowl). These elongated solo scenes, alternating between the two characters, appear for the first time in this cartoon, and unfortunately they're not very funny here. Nevertheless, they would become a dominant style element of the Mickey Mouse cartoons of the rest of the thirties, especially in the Mickey, Donald and Goofy trio outings, often with way more hilarious results. Mickey Plays Papa ends when Mickey's released from the rubber nipple and he finally succeeds in making the baby laugh, by doing a Jimmy Durante imitation with his elongated nose. This cartoon contains a gag in which Mickey's being attacked by numerous kitchen tools, which was copied in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988). Mickey Plays Papa would be the last cartoon directed by Burt Gillett before he left for the Van Beuren Studios, only to return in 1937 to direct two other cartoons, the excellent Lonesome Ghosts (1937) and The Moth and the Flame (1938).
From Bill I. : This is one of my wife's favorites. She likes the shorts with the "little Mickeys" in them, and this was a cute one. First the animation in the beginning was fantastic with the mother leaving the baby on the doorstep and Mickey and Pluto reacting to the scary story. The little baby is very cute but will not stop crying despite everything Mickey and Pluto do. Nice animation of Mickey doing Walt's hero Charlie Chaplin and in the end Mickey finally makes the baby laugh with his Jimmy Durante impression. Several scenes, especially the one with Mickey dodging the knives and forks was well done; this scene was almost identical to the one in Mickey's Nightmare (another short with many "baby" Mickeys). A nice change from the 'Mickey saves Minnie' or the musical shorts. One note; the few times the babies feet and legs were shown, they were animated to look like human baby's legs and feet, not the normal black legs and feet one would expect from a mouse.

Referenced Comments