Mickey's Elephant

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : October 10, 1936

Running Time : 8:34

Synopsis

Mickey receives a baby elephant as a gift from the Rajah of Gahboon. But Pluto isn't quite sure what to make of it, especially when he begins to suspect that he's being replaced.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pluto
Pluto's Devil
Bobo, the Elephant

Credits

Director
Dave Hand
Animation
Dick Heumer
Frank Thomas
Norm Ferguson
Johnny Cannon
Nick George
Leonard Sebring

Video

United States
Mickey Knows Best
France
Les Aventures de Mickey et Minnie
Italy
Video Parade 4
Topolino : Un Eroe Mille Avventure

Laserdiscs

United States
Mickey Knows Best / The Importance of Being Donald
Japan
Mickey's Jungle Trouble

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Germany
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
France
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Italy
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 1)

Television

Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 18

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

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 Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : The relationship between Mickey and Pluto must be a fragile one. I mean, we saw Donald taking in Pluto in Donald and Pluto, there was the rivalry between Pluto and the kangaroo in Mickey’s Kangaroo, and now we have Mickey’s Elephant. Seems like any time someone new shows up, then Pluto gets jealous.

I say that jokingly, but it seems to be true that Pluto can’t appear in a short without becoming the star and completely taking over. In the comments section on Donald and Pluto, David Gerstein mentioned the “Nichols Rule,” which he postulated was that Pluto will “invariably get the most attention, no matter how interesting the other characters/situations might be.” He named it for director Charles Nichols, but it applies to other directors as well.

I’ve stated here that I think Pluto is one of the most interesting characters in the Disney shorts, because he does not speak, and animators cannot use typical human gestures to communicate his feelings. The animation work has to be a hybrid of animal/human expressions and gestures to convey emotion. Therefore, I feel that Pluto is one of the best characters for animators to show their skills.

In this short, though, it seems very much a retread of Mickey’s Kangaroo. Mickey gets a gift of an elephant named Bobo from a fictitious Rajah. As you’d expect, the elephant and Pluto do not hit it off. Bobo begins playing with a ball, and it slips under a nearby fence, where Pluto encounters it. Watching Pluto see the ball mysteriously disappear or float in the air as Bobo sucks it back to him with his trunk is hilarious. Again, Pluto’s expressions are priceless.

When the little green devil pops out and starts telling Pluto to get rid of Bobo, though, it seems very much like Mickey’s Kangaroo. The devil gag is a frequent one with Pluto, and it’s a way for him to talk without actually speaking. Unlike Mickey’s Kangaroo, the devil is physically present, rather than Pluto talking into the camera, but it’s the same effect.

The final gag is Pluto blowing red pepper into the elephant’s face, causing Bobo to go on a sneezing fit. Mickey tries to stop it, but Bobo’s sneezes end up causing the destruction of not just his new house, but Pluto’s as well. The short fades out with Pluto squashing the devil and looking dissatisfied with the outcome.

That’s the biggest problem with the short – there’s no resolution. Pluto and Bobo don’t become friends, Mickey doesn’t tell Pluto that he’ll never be replaced, and there’s no idea what became of Bobo. The story was all laid out there, then never finished. Sure, shorts don’t have to be a complete narrative, but this one was there, and left undone. Seems like a repetitive, less than stellar effort, although the actual animation is quite good.


From Nic Kramer : Bobo was going to be be in another cartoon that was going to directed by Frank Tashlin (Looney Tunes). This cartoon was going to have a resolution with Bobo and Pluto. Unfortunately, Tashlin left the studio and the cartoon was never made.
From Brian : It’s interesting that Nic mentions Frank Tashlin here. He was hired in 1938 by Disney to help with their writing. It may be that they were recognizing the same things as Ryan, that while the artistry in the animation was quite good, the writing was getting a bit weak.
From David Gerstein at Ramapith : Interestingly, Tashlin's cartoon started as a Mickeycentric short, with Mickey and Bobo cleaning Minnie's house. But it slowly evolved into a Pluto cartoon, insofar as the moment Pluto was brought in, he took it over. Harry Reeves at a story meeting argued against using Pluto: "When you get Pluto, you have to sacrifice Mickey" - but others disagreed, In retrospect, Reeves was right, though I'm not sure WHY the studio had evolved to a point where this was the case.
From Mac : Very interesting comments. I always feel a bit sad when I hear about Tashlin's time at Disney. From every thing I've read, he seems to have had a lot of really good and unusual ideas for funny cartoons starring the Disney characters without losing sight of their personalities. However, very few of these ideas made it to the screen. A short cartoon where Mickey and Bobo clean Minnie's house sounds like a lot of fun to me. Imagine the creativity, the chaos and Minnie's reactions!

I remember watching Mickey's Elephant with my mum when I was a little kid and she hated the seemingly abrupt ending: "They don't even become friends?!". It's true, this short is unsatisfying with Pluto's jealousy just ruining things for everybody.


From Jerry Edwards : Tired storyline that has been done often - Pluto tries to get rid of some other animal that threatens to replace Pluto in Mickey's affections. Nothing of interest to me in this cartoon.
From Ryan : This short was okay, but it really wasn't one of my favorites. Bobo the elephant was a little too cute for me. However, the scenes with Pluto add some enjoyment.
From Baruch Weiss : This is the first appearance of Pluto's Devil. His next and last short would be Lend a Paw.
From Mike : This short is okay. I do like Pluto squashing the devil at the end. I woulda liked to see Pluto and Bobo make friends at the end.