Self Control

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : February 11, 1938

Running Time : 8:51

Synopsis

Donald tries to learn self-control with the help of radio announcer Uncle Smiley. But he finds that the radio advice is difficult to follow in real life.

Characters

Donald Duck
Bird (unnamed)
Caterpillar (unnamed)
Chicken (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Jack Hannah
Paul Allen
Edwin Aardal
Charles Couch
Story
Carl Barks

Video

Germany
Alle Enten Fertig ... Los!
France
Donald Se Fache!
Italy
Video Parade 11
Vita da Paperi

Laserdiscs

Japan
Goin' Quackers

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Donald
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : The Chronological Donald Volume 1
Canada
Walt Disney's Funny Factory with Donald
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 14: Early Donald
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 62
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 12
The Mickey Mouse Club : January 1, 1957
The Mickey Mouse Club : April 24, 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 : Now that 1937 has been covered, we move forward into 1938 in a much different landscape for the Walt Disney Company. The proceeds from Snow White begin rolling in, and the company is now flush with cash. A new studio is on the horizon, built especially for the animators. The future of the company is not in doubt, and there are new stars like Snow White, Goofy and Donald Duck.

Donald has had his own cartoons before 1938, but he’s really becoming more a part of the company’s plans. The first short released in 1938 is today’s subject – Self Control. If you can imagine more of a dichotomy between title and character than Donald Duck and Self Control, then you should be writing this blog.

As you would imagine, Donald does not display much Self Control in this short. In fact, quite the opposite. The comedy comes because he is trying to control himself. As he lies in his hammock, the radio on his nearby table begins a self help program, on how to control your anger. Donald decides to accept the challenge.

You can imagine how that turns out. Various creatures begin to menace Donald, causing his anger to rise. A fly takes first crack, buzzing by his feet and ending up with Donald flipping his hammock over. Then, we have an inchworm being chased by a hen. Finally, there’s a woodpecker that decides to make Donald’s lemonade into a pool, and peck a tree full of apples so they fall into the hammock.

The fun of this short is watching the increasingly bothersome animals/pests and the rising level of anger coming from Donald. There’s not really any doubt that Donald will end up losing control, the question is when it will happen. In the end, he takes a gun to the radio, clobbering the radio rather than shooting it.

However, I would have to say that the pattern, intended to be a slow burn, ends up being a slow down. The short doesn’t have the vitality or energy of other Donalds, because you know the outcome in advance. The gags are okay, but not as good as something like Modern Inventions.

In fact, this short plays a similar tune to Modern Inventions, with Donald getting involved in increasingly irritating situations, waiting for the inevitable blow up. To be fair, that’s a big part of his appeal, so it makes sense, but Self Control comes off a little tired. It’s still enjoyable, but not as good as other Donald Duck shorts we have seen and will see in the future.


From Jerry Edwards : Donald Duck flying into a rage over various problems such as a woodpecker and an uncooperative hammock gets tiresome very quickly. Just not that funny or interesting to me.
From Ryan : This short was okay, but I guess I wouldn't call it one of my favorites. This has some connections to Donald's later short Cured Duck where Donald has to take a machines insult for 10 minutes in order to pass the test. The animation from the beginning sequence of this short was used in the propaganda short Donald's Decision.
From Baruch Weiss : Aside from a beautiful music score during the title presentation, this cartoon did not interest me. I agree with Ryan that this short has some connection with Donald's later short Cured Duck. I also find it odd that Disney did not delete the scene where Donald goes into his house and garners his gun, not even an intro from Leonard Maltin on The Chronological Donald before the cartoon. Anyway, as I stated above I did not care much for this short, but it would do well in anger management classes. Even Katie Ka-Boom could learn a thing or two.

Referenced Comments