The Whalers

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : August 19, 1938

Running Time : 8:15

Synopsis

While Captain Mickey struggles to empty a pail of water, Donald gets his head stuck in a boot that's tied to a harpoon rope, and in trying to save him, Goofy falls through the blowhole of the whale they're trying to capture.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Goofy
Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Dick Heumer
Animation
John Meador
Ed Love
Marvin Woodward
John Morehouse
Robert Leffingwell
Art Babbitt
Frank Oreb
Louie Schmitt
Eric Larson
Al Eugster
Preston Blair
Cornett Wood
Bob Wickersham

Video

United States
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoon Collections Volume 1
Germany
Happy Birthday Mickey
Mickys Größte Show
France
Joyeux Anniversaire Mickey
Italy
Topolino Apprendista Scalatore
Come Divertirsti Con Paperino & C.
Le Radici di Pippo
Buon Compleanno Topolino
Topolino : Un Eroe Mille Avventure
Storie Quasi Titaniche

CED

United States
Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 4

Laserdiscs

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoon Collections Volume 1
Japan
Mountaineering Mickey
Let's Relax

DVD

United States
Have a Laugh : Volume 3
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)
Canada
Have a Laugh : Volume 3
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 10: Mickey, Donald and Goofy : Friends to the End
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 70
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 21

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

Page 8

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 : Ah…the comedic glory of Mickey, Donald and Goofy together! Is there anything better? After some outings for Donald and Goofy alone, Mickey returns to the group in The Whalers. Once again, the boys have a job to do, and they go about it in their own way.

The truth of the matter is that the majority of this short is a Donald and Goofy adventure. The short opens with Donald in the crow’s nest of the ship, looking around for whales. As is his trademark, Donald makes a mistake that leads to more frustration. This time, it’s taking time off from whale spotting to eat a sandwich, which gets stolen by nearby birds.

Mickey does get some time in this short, and it took me a minute to realize that he probably gets the most screen time in this short that he has seen in quite some time. Not only that, but it’s good stuff. Mickey is trying to throw some water overboard in the darkness of the sea, but it keeps boomeranging back at him. It’s a great bit, and allows Mickey to do some fine comedic acting, through the animator’s pencil, of course.

It also seems like a little different looking Mickey to me. His face is a bit more expressive, and I saw the careful consideration face that I remember from later shorts here for the first time. It was nice to see the old mouse back in action.

Soon enough though, we get back to Goofy, as Donald spots a whale and Goofy is in charge of firing the harpoon to get the whale. Yeah. You can imagine how that goes. My favorite gag is when Goofy sticks his arm down the cannon and ends up lighting his finger on fire, when it pokes through where the fuse should be. But there’s much more, including the obligatory harpoon launch where Goofy gets caught in the rope trailing behind.

This, of course, leads to Goofy being swallowed by the whale. Seeing Goofy and Donald try to deal with the situation is part of what makes them such a good team. Goofy doesn’t know what to do, which tends to make him do the wrong thing. And when Goofy does the wrong thing, Donald gets more frustrated, and thus funnier. It’s a classic comedy spiral!

Although I should be tired of the trio formula by now, I’m really not. I’ve seen many of them so far and there are more to come, but these three characters just work well together. There is a lot to the idea of having them interact in a working environment, something that started back in Mickey’s Service Station and continues to entertain.

It’s also of interest that their jobs have gotten more and more complex or outlandish. It began with the mechanics, but since they have branched out to “ghostbusters,” whalers, boat builders, clock cleaners and more. The more they get together, the crazier their jobs get, and that makes the shorts so much fun.


From Mac : This is another short with an insane attention to detail. Even the glass in Donald's telescope is carefully rendered to realistically appear to catch the light. At some points though there's a little too much detail – Goofy has so much anatomy he looks a little gross with an all too-human body beneath his head. In some close up shots his face displays so much detail he looks ugly. He looks much better when he's streamlined into a simpler character.

I think a lot of the reason for the amount of detail in this short is that it may have been something of a practice for the animation required in Pinocchio – specifically the ocean scenes with Monstro the Whale. The sea in The Whalers seems to have been carefully studied and is far more sophisticated than the depictions of the sea in previous Disney cartoons.


From Jesus Daprice : Watching this short made me think of the movie "Titanic" (the best damn movie ever made) probably because of the icebergs and the fact that the setting was in the cold north sea (I'm not sure whether it was the Atlantic or Pacific, it could've been the Arctic Ocean too). One scene that made me think of the people on the ship was where Donald fell into the ocean and was swimming away from the whale. Unlike the people in the movie, Donald didn't freeze to death and he certainly showed no signs of coldness. (but that's the cartoon world for ya) Later when the whale destroyed their ship, all that Mickey, Donald, and Goofy had was a wooden raft. How are they going to get help? Let's hope they have a good communication system or they're going to end up victims of the sea just like the people on Titanic did.
From Andrew Nielson : Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are wonderful together and I always like it when they're together better than when they're separate. But if you're against the killing of whales like I am, you probably wouldn't want to watch this short.
From Dustin Hatfield : I liked the part where the water kept coming back to Mickey after he threw it out to the sea.
From Jerry Edwards : Some fun gags, but the short gets tiresome for me very quickly. Several scenes seem all too familiar from previous shorts.
From Ryan : This is another one of those famous "trio" cartoons. Each character is facing a situation: Mickey is throwing a bucket of water overboard, but the water keeps coming back to him. Donald is sitting in the crow's nest keeping watch whales. A pelican comes up and eats his sandwich. Goofy is preparing the harpoon for when a whale is sighted. One scene I liked was where Goofy's pants caught on fire and he quickly went to the bucket of water, but the ship slanted and so he ended up sitting in GUN POWDER! As Jesus Daprice pointed out above, this movie is quite similar to that famous James Cameroon film "Titanic." Their ship does get wrecked, but not by an iceberg a whale (who looks quite similar to Mostro from "Pinnocchio"). I always get a good laugh at the end when Goofy picks up a fish, thinking it's the whale and says "Gawrsh! He must've shrunk!"
From Ross : This cartoon is very wonderful and full of good comedy, just compare this to the Three Stooges. But there is something else about The Whalers that you should know, Mickey may be the star of this cartoon, but he doesn't talk in the cartoon. All the lines of dialogue go to Donald and Goofy. Still, I think it's awesome. Something else, this cartoon may similar to the movie "Titanic," but it's also similar to Herman Melville's classic, "Moby Dick." Just like in the story, the whale destroys the ship. Just absolutely filled with good comedy.
From Baruch Weiss : I like the music that plays over the beginning and ending titles of this short.
From Severin : I'm not sure why, but this has been my personal favorite of the M/D/G series, next to Clock Cleaners. The big chase scene at the end bares some resemblance to the chase at the end of Pinocchio, as does the whale bare resemblance to Monstro. Also, did people REALLY think whales were man-eaters back then?
From Andrew : I really enjoyed the spooky sound effects made when the whale opened its mouth just behind Donald. How were those likely made? They were probably working on "Pinocchio" at the same time as this one; perhaps the creators were inspired by the whale scene there for this cartoon.
From Mike : I always liked this cartoon. I still get a laugh out of the very end where Goofy holds up a regular fish & thinks he caught the whale. True genius.
From Andy : I think the real interesting thing about this particular short is the public acceptance of whaling in 1938 compared to today. A great potential study in perceived changing values in our country.

Referenced Comments