Poster

Donald's Ostrich

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : December 10, 1937

Running Time : 8:51

Synopsis

Donald is the announcer of the Wahoo train station dealing with a troublesome piece of cargo : an ostrich.

Characters

Donald Duck
Hortense, the Ostrich

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Jack Hannah
Paul Allen
Johnny Cannon
Story
Carl Barks

Video

United States
Here's Donald
Germany
Hier ist Donald
Donald Superstar and Co.
Italy
Disney Adventures

Laserdiscs

United States
Here's Donald / Here's Goofy
Japan
Hello! Donald
Disney Cartoon Festival 5

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 54: More Goin' to the Birds
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 54
The Mickey Mouse Club : December 17, 1957

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 RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Goofy is my favorite of Disney’s cartoon stars, but Donald is a close second. I’ve always said that I see a lot of myself in Donald. The frustration he expresses in nearly every cartoon he is in is something I tend to see in myself, but I don’t express it the way he does.

Donald’s Ostrich is a good example of that frustration. Were I to find myself in a situation where I was confronted with a rogue ostrich that was eating everything in sight, and knocking me all over the place, I doubt I would be able to contain my anger anymore. Donald gives us all the voice that we want to have, but don’t use publicly.

The set up here is just as described above, but it doesn’t get much beyond that, and that’s the problem with this. I come into this short to watch Donald Duck, but I end up getting a lot of focus on the ostrich, and not the ostrich’s interactions with Donald. I don’t care about the ostrich unless he annoys Donald.

Hortense the ostrich is not a compelling character. Hortense parades around the train station where Donald is working, and eats everything in sight. But that’s all there is to him. There is a sequence in the middle of the short where we see Hortense eating an accordion, a clock, balloons and radio. During that entire sequence, Donald is absent.

Hortense’s voracious appetite is established from the get-go, with the tag that Donald reads after the ostrich breaks loose. So why do we need to spend a couple minutes out of an 8 minute short trying to re-establish that with the diet I listed above? Is it funny? Somewhat, but it’s the same gag over and over – Hortense eats something, it gets stuck in his throat, causing the throat to distend, then he swallows it.

The best part of this short is the inventive use of the radio as a device throughout the short. The beginning of the short shows Donald switching stations and looking for something fun. Then, in the middle, Hortense is startled by the radio, looking for the voice that is coming out of the radio. Finally, the voices coming out of the ostrich because he swallowed the radio startle Donald at the end.

There was also a gag about Hortense developing hiccoughs towards the end, which causes him to change the stations on the radio and stumble around. It just doesn’t come off as funny to me, although I admit that’s probably individual taste. This short does not come close to something like Modern Inventions, which shows Donald in a variety of situations that raise his ire. In this short, it’s a loose confederation of gags by Hortense that cause Donald inconvenience. It seems like the focus is taken off of Donald and put onto the ostrich, which really turned me off to this short.


From Mac : Not one of my absolute favorites, but it's pleasant enough (I think I enjoy it a little more than you)! One thing I've noticed about the Disney shorts of late is that they ALL have lovely rich colors and an abundance of detail (with shadows and highlights etc) it's not just the Silly Symphonies and occasional 'special effort' short that have special attention lavished on them (A lot of the 1936 Mickeys looked a little flat and sometimes had slightly drab backgrounds in my opinion). Although I have to admit that the recent Symphonies, despite being less frequent, have gone off the scale in terms of use of color and special effect work.
From Jerry Edwards : When an ostrich (Hortense) gets free of her shipping crate and swallows everything in sight, including a radio, train station agent Donald is in for a hilarious, hectic day. A cute idea but the gags get old real fast for me.
From Ryan : It's been quite awhile since I have seen this short. I used to own it on a video that I received for my 7th birthday, but we donated it to the library where my mom used to work at several years ago. I had temporarily lost interest in the Disney shorts, but now I'm crazy about them. There were quite a few fun gags like when Hortense (which is also the nickname my aunt gave to a surly hotel woman) the ostrich swallows the radio and every time she hiccups, the stations change (from a boxing match to some music). The funniest part was at the end where the boxing announcer on the radio said "What a crackup and no one was hurt!" Donald, who had a black eye from trying to catch Hortense, says "Oh yeah?"
From Baruch Weiss : I enjoyed the musical score during the title presentation of this cartoon, but I guess it is not one of my favorites. That Ostrich just ate up everything in sight and I don't mean food! We do not see Donald's boss in this short, but I am sure that Donald would be fired if the boss saw the big mess that was made!
From Maxwell Morton "Max" Goudiss : At about 9 minutes, this is, indeed, the most longest Donald Duck cartoon.
From Klaus Disney : German Title: Donald und der Vogel Strauss

Referenced Comments