Release Date : September 24, 1937
Running Time : 8:21
I have another reason – if you follow me on Twitter, you see my icon is Mickey in a hammock. I’m a huge Polynesian Resort fan/Tiki aficionado as well as a Disney nut. A “cel” from this short is hanging next to the elevators on the bottom floor of the Polynesian, and I go on those elevators all the time, going up with a stroller to Kona or ‘Ohana. So,
Hawaiian Holiday holds a special place in my heart.
In all likelihood, it probably should not do so. This short doesn’t really have a story or a through line, but is mainly a collection of little gags featuring the Fab Five. As per usual, Mickey gets the short end of the stick, but Minnie isn’t far behind. Mickey’s big moment is as a guitar player, where his hands do a dance across the strings, reminiscent of the gloves in
Thru the Mirror.
Minnie doesn’t get much time to herself, but ends up doing some quick dances at the beginning of the short, and then again in the middle and end. She doesn’t have a gag to herself, per se, but she sets the musical tone of the short by singing the main lyrics of the song that runs throughout.
Donald is notably less prevalent in this short than you would expect. He also has one quick gag, where he is dancing in a grass skirt that catches on fire. Despite the brevity, it’s a fun gag that plays well with Donald’s tendency to overreact.
The majority of the short, though is taken up by Pluto and Goofy. This follows the typical rule that Pluto can’t be present without taking over a short, but he gets roughly equal screen time with Goofy in
Hawaiian Holiday. Here, it’s Pluto taking on a sea shell and then a crab. It’s a repeat gag when he faces off with the crab, mimicking the crab’s movements, but it’s still funny.
Goofy’s main gag is a preview of what he will come to be known for – his futile attempts at sports. Throughout the short, Goofy is trying to surf, only to be thwarted by the tides, sand and finally the ocean itself. As his solo series evolved, this was what Goofy did best. Marry the contrary narration we saw in
Little Hiawatha with this comical attempt by Goofy and you have the shape of Goofy’s solo series.
There’s no reason I should like Hawaiian Holiday as much as I do, but I think that’s what is so appealing. It’s not something you would break down for its component parts (story, animation, backgrounds), although all are good. This is a short to simply watch and enjoy, and I do.
The cartoon introduces the scenery where Mickey, Minnie, Donald,
Goofy, and Pluto all are relaxing on a peaceful beach of Waikiki. Mickey
plays the ukulele while Minnie dances, Donald cools out, and Goofy carries
his surfboard into the ocean of personified waves. This is where all
the subplots come in.
In Goofy's first attempt to surf, the waves put on the brakes and
he lands on sand and rock, consequently receiving Excedrin headache
number (fill in the blank). The waves come back to swipe Goofy off his
feet and carry him while he imitates a log roller before crashing on
As Mickey continues playing his ukulele, Donald dances only to have
his own personal temperature rise about 500 degrees as he gets his own
"lu-ouch" in "fanny-burn." (Just wondering: What exactly do you need
a pot and a fire for in Hawaii, when it's already tropical outside?)
After running to the pond and sitting down for relief, a starfish attaches
his hiny, which won't make the burns go away very quickly. However,
he manages to get the starfish off in Pluto's direction and the dog
starts chasing it until the waves crash on them. The starfish gives
Pluto a shot in the nose, and I still don't know what Pluto has done
to deserve that treatment.
Goofy tries again to surf, and thinking he did so successfully, the
waves humanize again and drop, making Goofy go airborne and subsequently
crashing into the water, losing his surfboard in the process. As Goofy
searches, a wave obliges by giving him the surfboard "back." Or did
I mean "up his" back? Goofy lives up to his name by searching for his
surfboard when he was already in a very stiff situation.
Meanwhile, Pluto sniffs his way into a shell and gets stuck in it
thanks to a wave crashing into him. A struggle ensued until he finally
gets the shell off very briefly--only to have it land on his behind.
Little did he know that a crab was in the stuffed shell and hanging
on to Pluto's tail, then carrying Pluto's rear around a little bit before
biting him on the nose. After a mirrored dance on the sand, another
wave crashes down on them, and the crab takes a hint from the starfish
from earlier...honking Pluto on the nose.
Goofy tries one more time to surf, and this time he yells to the
gang that he knows he has it down. Of course the wave has other plans,
physically yanking the surfboard from him, clubbing him on this back,
and sending him and the surfboard airborne. Goofy makes a nosedive landing
beneath the sand and comes to a crashing stop when the surfboard intersects
him. With the surfboard sticking straight up, Goofy had to "rest in
pieces" in an aloha-hooey manner.
This cartoon dragged out more than I thought it would. Personally,
the animators took way too much time dragging out all the comic scenes,
especially Pluto's encounter with the starfish and the crab. There were
too many drawn-out subplots instead of big laughs, but Goofy clearly
is the star of the cartoon since he added a lot of frequent-flyer miles
to his resume. Still, it is rare to see five major characters be in
the same cartoon, which is certainly a positive for anyone watching.
Mickey and the gang (Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto), otherwise known
as the "Fab Five", are on a vacation in Hawaii. Mickey is at the guitar,
Minnie and Donald does some hula dances, Goofy does surfing, and Pluto does
some sand searching.
While this IS a Mickey Mouse cartoon, the story is actually focused more
on the co-stars, more particularly Goofy and Pluto. Goofy has trouble surfing,
since the waves are uncooperative. Pluto has trouble with a starfish, a
seashell, and finally a crab. We see less of what's going on with Mickey,
Minnie, and Donald, although Donald did have a minor accident while dancing.
Despite the co-stars' troubles, everything turns out okay in the end.
It truly was a Hawaiian Holiday.
The stuff I liked in the cartoon was the artwork, plus the music (especially
when Pluto and the crab does a mirror dance). I also liked a lot of the
gags placed among the characters' conflicts. Most of the funniest jokes
came from Goofy's attempts to do some surfing. Goofy always has trouble
in whatever he plans to do, and they almost always come off with a spectacular
comedic showcase. Overall, the art, music, and comedy made it very easy
to ignore the story (as is the case in many Disney cartoons).
I really enjoyed Hawaiian Holiday, even though the cartoon was made 22
years before Hawaii became part of the Union. ALOHA!
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