Mickey's Kangaroo

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : April 13, 1935

Running Time : 8:55

Synopsis

A friend in Australia has sent Mickey the kangaroo Hoppy, who with her pesky son drives Pluto completely to distraction. Mickey wants to train the kangaroos to be fighters, but they end up throwing him in his own hay-baling machine. "C'mon - mix it up!"

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pluto
Hoppy, the Kangaroo
Baby Kangaroo (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Dave Hand
Animation
Les Clark
Fred Moore
Dick Lundy
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Hardie Gramatky

Milestones

This was the final Disney cartoon made in black and white.

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 16: Escapees From the Ark
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 44
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 4, 1955
The Mickey Mouse Club : March 19, 1958

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 : The Mickey Mouse we see in Mickey’s Kangaroo is a Mickey in transition. This is his last black and white short, before we return to glorious Technicolor in the Mickeys (I incorrectly stated that it was Mickey’s Service Station. My apologies). But there is much more.

The story of the short is that a friend has sent Mickey a kangaroo. The question of why Mickey has friends in Australia and why that person would think to send him a kangaroo will remain one of the mysteries of the Disney imagination. The kangaroo is a boxing kangaroo, and between Hoppy the kangaroo and its offspring, they do a number on Mickey and Pluto.

What was more interesting to me, though, was watching Mickey in this short. As I mentioned, the short opens with a box containing the kangaroo arriving in the mail. Mickey reads the tag that says his address is Hollywood. This is not the first time Mickey has been identified as living in Hollywood, but it is odd when looking at the rest of the short.

The rest of the short is set in a barnyard setting. It’s sort of a throwback in that regard. Pluto runs into a chicken coop, Mickey boxes the kangaroo in a barn, and there is livestock all over the place. That seems a little off when thinking of living in Hollywood, even in 1935.

So we see Mickey in transition from his barnyard days to the life of a Hollywood star. But also, as we’ve seen in recent shorts, he’s moving away from being the center of attention. This short is really more about Pluto, and his character makes a bit of a change here.

We see Pluto as normal, barking and playing with Mickey, until the kangaroo shows up. Once he starts getting tormented by Hoppy and her son, a new side of Pluto emerges. It’s a strange side, in my opinion.

Pluto breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the viewer, leaning into the camera, and uses a menacing voice. This voice tries to convey Pluto’s thoughts, and speaks about how he will get rid of the kangaroos. Frankly, it’s just weird. We’ve seen Pluto with the devil on one shoulder and angel on the other, and this is really just another version of that. But for some reason, it seems a little odd.

It’s definitely an experiment. Towards the end of the short, the small kangaroo and Pluto manage to make up, and the menace in his voice goes away. That sort of redeems the character from his earlier growling voice, but it still is strange.

Notice I haven’t talked much about the gags or story of the film. That’s because there’s not much to talk about. The gags are not that great, and aside from the Pluto experimentation, there’s not much else of note. The one other interesting note was that the kangaroos make a honking sound, that to me sounded a lot like the Road Runner. Don’t know if that means anything or not, but it was interesting. Mickey’s Kangaroo is an okay short, but definitely not one of my favorites.


From Mac : After watching Disney cartoons for years, this was once the final classic-era Mickey short I had left to see. Unfortunately when I finally saw it, it wasn't worth the wait and it's not a cartoon I care much for at all. I think a lot of the problem stems from my own thoughts about boxing – I just don't understand the point of it! Seeing Mickey punch an animal in the head, even when it's supposed to be a game and even though he's a boxing kangaroo, well, it's just wrong to me. Mickey can't even get a tune out of him!

Also Pluto's inner voice talking to the audience is completely unnecessary. His thoughts are already communicated by his actions. It's obvious what's going on and there isn't even any humor added (as there is with Pluto's shoulder angel and devil).

Watching these cartoons in order, it's interesting to see how much better the animation is getting especially in terms of squash and stretch. However, Mickey is boring in this short - just letting himself get punched around with a smile on his face. It sucks!


From David Gerstein at Ramapith : And what names the studio's wallabies had... Poucho, Leapo and Hoppo (i.e. Groucho, Chico and Harpo — call me a dumbbell, I only just noticed the pun).
From Tom Wilkins : This story has the 80's group Men At Work wondering if the storyline came from a land down under! There is not much excitement in this film, but the cutsie-pie story goes like this:

We begin by seeing Mickey putting the finishing touches to Pluto's doghouse, which Pluto absolutely adores. He runs around the house and embraces Mickey in the process. Meanwhile, a huge package arrives from Australia faster than Fedex promising that it would be "on time!" Then again, I should take that back because this poor mailman was carrying it on his back! No wonder he went so slow!

Anyway, before Mickey can hammer the box open, it hops away and catches Pluto by the nose, then the tail. A fist comes out and nails Pluto in the face, causing him to run with the contents of the box still chasing him. The box breaks as it hits the steps and what do you know, sport...it's a kangaroo!

Mickey greets the kangaroo and then decides to get something from the house. In the meantime, Pluto barks back, but hides when the engrossening noise of the kangaroo responds to him. The kangaroo makes himself at home, but in Pluto's new doghouse! It could not fit--no wonder this was a violation of fire codes for the residence. Unfortunately, once the kangaroo got comfortable, the back and top of the doghouse are already splintered to pieces.

Pluto's conscience is telling him that he is basically letting the kangaroo get away with murder on his property! After the kangaroo licks Pluto's name off the doghouse, that was it! As Pluto attacks, it takes one punch to knock him backwards into a bunch of wooden clothespins. But as he attacks again, it becomes a handicap match...there is a little kangaroo in the pouch that Pluto did not see! Mickey comes out with a boxing glove so he could play with the kangaroo, but notices the little one from the pouch, so he calls Pluto over from the chicken coop he was hiding in. Mickey decides he would play with the larger kangaroo and let Pluto play with the other one.

As Mickey walks with the kangaroo to the gym, the kangaroo hops and drags Mickey along very quickly. At this point, Pluto's conscience is daring him to be very evil to the younger kangaroo. He sneaks up on the kangaroo and catches him drinking out of Pluto's bowl! The plan foils temporarily as the kangaroo hiccupped, scaring Pluto off.

Back at the gym, Mickey decides to box with the dad kangaroo and gets the early hand by teaching it some blows, but gets clocked later with a Mike Tyson-like right hook, tying Mickey in the ropes. Mickey then gets caught with several punching combinations by the kangaroo...even with his tail! Don King would not like the outcome of that fight if he was not managing the kangaroo.

Returning to the home front, Pluto and the little hopper continue to battle over the bowl of food Pluto was supposed to eat, but the little kangaroo uses his tail to send the bowl airborne and it breaks over Pluto's head! The chase is on, but Pluto gets wet thanks to the kangaroo hopping on the giant water pump. Pluto then gets a rough ride of a wheelbarrow (the wrong way) and lands in a garbage dump. Little does he realize that he got two paws stuck on a spring, and Pluto bounces up and down to the little kangaroo's delight. They hop for a little bit before Pluto hops a little too high and smashes head-first into the roof of a greenhouse. Pluto does not even realize the little kangaroo loved him for what he did and stayed attached like Pluto was the father by resting in a clothing pouch Pluto previously bounced straight into!

Later, the two of them watch the commotion coming from Mickey's gym as all the animals evacuate the premises for the rough play the dad kangaroo was doing. Mickey was getting extremely busy bouncing back and forth on the punching bag that it eventually broke--and the momentum carried Mickey into a hay-bailer. Scared, the kangaroos and Pluto run for higher ground. The machine overworks once it spits out the bail of hay (with Mickey in it) and breaks down. Mickey comes out of the bail, thinking that he is still fighting the kangaroo...but he is not. The kangaroo is rocking on his tail reading the sports section. As the film closes, the younger kangaroo, then Pluto, emerge from the pouch and all three embrace.

Told you there was not much excitement to it...now can Outback Steakhouse liven the Australian Rules Football events?


From Jerry Edwards : I dislike boxing and films and shorts with boxing as a subject - so I don't care for this short. One oddity is that Pluto's thoughts are "spoken out loud" in this cartoon - which has occurred in a few shorts, but it just doesn't work for me. The colorized version does add some to the short for me.
From Bill I. : This was not one of my favorite shorts, but the best part was the beginning when Mickey is building Pluto's doghouse and the interaction between the two shows the immense love Mickey and Pluto have. He receives a box from Australia from a "Leo Buring" who was a pioneer in the Australian wine industry (wonder how Mickey knew him?) It turns out to be a boxing kangaroo and Mickey runs right to his gym to get a pair of gloves to "mix it up" with the kangaroo. After Pluto sees the kangaroo in his new doghouse, he of course gets mad and that's when Mickey sees the kangaroo has a baby kangaroo in his pouch. So Mickey tries to box the adult in his gym and, after a few good punches, the kangaroo mops up the floor with poor Mickey. Pluto does not do much better with the baby. After a time Pluto realizes the baby really loves him and puts his head on his shoulder, and Pluto is charmed! The best sight gag was Mickey getting caught in the hay bailing machine and coming out still thinking he was fighting the kangaroo. One thing I noticed was the faces of the kangaroos were very Mickey-like; with a shorter nose and more rounded ears they would have been dead ringers. I give this a 7.
From Hunter : I liked this short, mostly because of the boxing match between Mickey and the Kangaroo. I was actually surprised in that Mickey did better than I expected him to, considering that he doesn't really seem like the boxing type. Not only does he manage to get a few good hits in, he manages to block some of the kangaroo's own hits.

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