Mickey's Amateurs

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : April 17, 1937

Running Time : 8:22

Synopsis

Mickey hosts an amateur talent show while Donald attempts to get through a recitation of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" without incident.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pete
Clarabelle Cow
Goofy
Clara Cluck
Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Pinto Colvig
Walt Pfeiffer
Ed Penner
Animation
Les Clark
Ed Love
Al Eugster
Art Babbitt
Stan Quackenbush
Ralph J. Sommerville
Marvin Woodward
Tom Palmer

Cut Scenes

Donald tries to silence his audience by spraying them with machine gun fire.

Video

United States
Mickey Knows Best
Germany
Mickey Präsentiert
France
Donald Vedette de Television
Italy
Topolino Superstar

Laserdiscs

United States
Mickey Knows Best / The Importance of Being Donald
Japan
This is Your Life Donald Duck

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

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 54: More Goin' to the Birds
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 50
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 4
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 18, 1956

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

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

  • The working title of this short was Mickey's Amateur Concert. As far as I know, it is the only Disney cartoon to break the fourth wall with the use of the "iris gag" at the end.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : We’ve seen a lot of recycling in the Mickey shorts. That’s to be expected, because Disney was under contract to release a certain number of shorts every year, and many of those had to be Mickey shorts. So, it’s not surprising that allowing the animators to return to familiar settings or gags would speed up that process.

Mickey’s Amateurs, however, is seemingly a high point of retreads, although it turns out pretty well. Again, we have Mickey hosting a show on stage in a theatre, a setting we have seen multiple times before. Mickey’s show consists of Donald trying to recite a poem and failing, which has been seen a couple times before. And we have Clara Cluck singing, which we have also seen previously.

That said, it all works out pretty well. This isn’t the most innovative or original short, but it’s a fun time with some familiar characters. Mickey in this short is the most like Walt I can imagine. As he keeps saying, “Okay, okay,” to calm down the crowd or the performers, he seems so much like Walt on the old Disneyland TV show.

Donald tries to steal the show here, but he’s not featured as much as in other shorts like this. It’s amusing to see him first try to butter Mickey up with a gift of an apple, only to take it back when his recitation of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” fails. His second attempt, when he comes to the stage dressed in a disguise and ends with an out of control machine gun firing all over the stage, is no less memorable.

The midsection, with Clara Cluck singing while Clarabelle Cow plays piano, is less entertaining. Clara is not a terrible character, but she’s not as well drawn as the Fab Five. It’s funny to see her frustrated and chasing the microphone, but in the end, not as endearing as Goofy or Donald.

Goofy being my favorite character, his sequence in this short is my favorite. Dressed as a bandleader, he comes out with a one man band contraption that obviously goes wrong. Watching him try to keep up with the craziness is what I love about Goofy. It’s a good peek forward into his own solo series.

I’ve seen some poor reviews of Mickey’s Amateurs and I can understand that. It’s not original, as I said, and it doesn’t feature a sequence that is particularly memorable. The most “original” part of the short is at the end, when Donald tries to push his way through the iris as it closes to black. He fails, of course, but it’s the first time we’ve seen Disney push the fourth wall like that.

However, I would have to say that Mickey’s Amateurs is a fun time, just not a fantastic short. When you compare it to others in 1936-37, it doesn’t measure up, but that’s a very high standard.


From Mac : I have to agree that this isn't the most original of shorts and as such isn't the very best, but it's still a fun time with the characters, In fact when I rewatched it just now, I was surprised by how good it was. I enjoy all the characters' set pieces, even the two buxom Claras have a very entertaining act.

There are a couple of odd things about this short. One is the appearance of Pete as one of the amateurs. I think this is the first time he's participated in something along with the gang, rather than someone out to get them. The other is how Donald is treated like a child early in this short. This made sense in his second appearance in Orphans' Benefit, but now he's an established 'adult' character, it's a bit late for this to happen. Luckily Donald's character is so strong we soon forget this discrepancy and enjoy him throwing tantrums and shooting machine guns at the audience.

I also agree that Goofy has the best scene. There's some great frantic animation when his 50 piece band goes haywire. It looks really painful too has poor Goofy is violently choked, knocked about and repeatedly smacked in the crotch!

When I was a kid my favorite thing in this cartoon was Donald getting caught in the iris out. I'd never seen a character play with this before and I found it be amazingly creative. Since then I've seen tons of cartoons that break the fourth wall like that, but I still get a kick out of this scene!


From Tom Wilkins : This is a very unusual write-up because I came across a pile of tapes of Disney Cartoon music that I recorded nearly 15 years ago. I figured that I would use one of the cartoons I had on audio to write about, but please correct me if I include any erroneous information.

Loudly the bell in the old tower rings ... well, basically this was not the best opening for a title screen which opens with a preview of the Gong Show from four decades later. After this pitiful performance, Mickey introduces Donald, who could not wait to recite "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Unfortunately, lack of concentration causes Donald to fail twice and gets gonged, then hooked after his third futile attempt while the audience laughed non-stop.

Mickey then introduces the two Claras (Clara Cluck and Clarabelle Cow). Clarabelle comes on with a gross laugh and snort as the two prepare Cluck's musical selection. Clarabelle fools Cluck by performing a substantially and unexpectedly long introduction before Cluck sings (well, clucks). After Cluck gets going, Clara tries to keep up with a wildly swinging hanging microphone. Clarabelle throws off Cluck several times, scaring her out of her wits, including the final surprising note which Clarabelle responded with yet another gross cackle and snort.

Donald unexpectedly returns armed, daring anyone to laugh just in case he failed to recite "Twinkle, Twinkle" a fourth time. As expected, he did, the audience laughed, and Donald exploded by shooting two long rounds of gunfire without affecting the audience one bit. (Of course, this scene is eliminated thanks to the "first amendment violators" of the Walt Disney Company ... they offended more people by eliminating that scene. If they left this in, they would not have had as many people complaining.)

Now that I had my beef, back to the cartoon ... Mickey then introduces Goofy and his so-called 50-piece band, which happened to be rejected from Paramount's Modern Inventions series, making Adolph Zukor very happy. Goofy proceeds to play many instruments to the tune of "In The Good Ol' Summertime" - such as the banjo, clarinet, flute, trombone, etc.

Goofy turns up the speed on his gadget and instruments come flying to his mouth during his next selection, including the harmonica - shoved into his mouth on two different occasions while playing "Well Have a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." The device eventually busts with Goofy keeping a positive spin on things.

Finally, Donald pokes out of Goofy's hat and finally, albeit very quickly, perfects his recitation of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." He finishes with a "so there" attitude, only to have his neck caught in the closing cartoon iris during the final few seconds of the film.


From Ryan : While I am normally a huge fan of the Disney shorts, I absolutely hated this one. It was so stupid. The characters were all acting kind of dumb (I can't remember everything that they did I'll have to watch this short again). One thing that didn't make any sense was when Donald was reciting the children's nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." The audience members all appeared to be adults. I didn't see any kids in the audience whatsoever.
From Angelica Barker : I did not care for this short at all. One thing, however, puzzles me. Why in the world would Donald recite "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to an adult audience? The people (actually most of them looked like dogs) appeared to be adults dressed up formally and there were no children that I could see in the audience.
From Ross : I absolutely love this cartoon! Mickey's Amateurs is not stupid, it's so wonderful and musical, and the music in this cartoon is perfect! Mickey plays a great cheerful amateur host, Goofy plays a wonderful inventive musical machine, and Clarabelle Cow and Clara Cluck do a great opera number, and Pete, he tries to sing "Loudly The Bell," but gets taken off the stage. But Donald Duck, when he tried to recite "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," he always failed. I love the part when he gets his head caught in the closing iris out at the end of the cartoon. Awesome musical cartoon, although it makes you wonder why Donald fired a machine gun at the audience when he failed to recite again. Why did the animators create something so R-rated for Donald to do?
From Baruch Weiss : I do not like this short at all. The audience was laughing for a good reason. They probably were thinking 'What the heck is this duck saying? He thinks we are little kids!'
From Smokestack Jones : Delightful cartoon. While Ms. Cluck and Cow were funny and Donald attempting to recite "Lamb" is always a winner (especially the funny variations that the animator's did), to me, Goofy and His 50-Piece Band makes this short one of the best. I love the gags and Goofy's reactions were priceless. A 10 in my book.
From Matt : I love this short! You've got to feel slightly sorry for poor Donald when the audience laugh at him, but turning a machine gun on them is a tad extreme (although hilarious). A brilliant short made more excellent with the funny costume Donald wears when he comes back on stage the second time round.
From James Coleman : This is easily one of the best Disney shorts I have ever seen. It is insanely hilarious every time I watch it and it never gets old. Perhaps I am easily won over by an angry Donald Duck, but in this episode he goes absolutely crazy and it is better than ever. All of the elements in this cartoon come together to create something so strange it will stick in your mind for a long time. I have this on tape and I used to watch it many times a day when I was young. I think every little kid should watch cartoons like this. How else are they going to be able to recognize the crazy, homicidal duck-people when they see them in the real world?
From Mike : While this cartoon is ok, I wouldn't call it a favorite. I didn't laugh so much at Donald pointing the machine gun at the crowd, his disguise was the funny part in that scene.

Referenced Comments