Poster

The Autograph Hound

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : September 1, 1939

Running Time : 8:11

Synopsis

While trying to collect autographs at a Hollywood studio, Donald meets a number of movie stars, and runs afoul of a security guard.

Characters

Donald Duck
Guard

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Johnny Cannon
John Elliotte
Larry Clemmons
John Dunn
Ed Dunn
Ed Love
Ward Kimball
Paul Allen
Rex Cox
Seamus Culhane
Nick de Tolly

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Donald
Italy
Paperino
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Paperino

CED

United States
Limited Gold Editions - Donald

Laserdiscs

Japan
Donald : Limited Gold Edition

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 26: Classic Donald
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 23
The Mickey Mouse Club : December 4, 1956

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

  • A number of real celebrities are caricatured, including Greta Garbo, Mickey Rooney, Sonja Heine, The Ritz Brothers, Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Charlie McCarthy, Joe E. Lewis, Katherine Hepburn, and Groucho and Harpo Marx.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : It seems as though it happens once a year in the history of the Disney shorts – a caricature of Hollywood celebs has to appear. We saw Mother Goose Goes Hollywood most recently, but now, Donald Duck takes to the screen with the biggest movie stars of 1939, in The Autograph Hound.

It’s something that I think has gone unnoticed among the wide swaths of Disney fans. Most fans think of the Disney films as timeless, something that can be watched over and over again decades after their first release. While that may be true of the feature films, when it comes to the shorts, there are many efforts that are very much of the time they were made. The Autograph Hound is one of those.

While movie buffs or historians today can easily pick out who is being caricatured in this short, the average Donald Duck fan would not know it. In 1939, however, this short would have featured the absolute biggest stars in Hollywood. Greta Garbo, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple and many, many more are on display in this short, interacting with Donald.

Donald tries to get himself into a movie lot to get autographs, and has to contend with security trying to toss him out as well as the stars getting incensed about his request for an autograph. It’s an absolutely hilarious exercise if you recognize some of the stars. I don’t know what it would be like if you were unaware who these people are.

For example, Donald’s interactions with Mickey Rooney are very funny. There is slapstick being done with Rooney crushing an egg on Donald’s head. There’s a back and forth banter that is funny simply because Rooney is using an Irish accent and Donald is well…Donald. The two of them together is a funny combination, but if you don’t know who Mickey Rooney is, it might not be as impactful.

The same goes for later efforts in the short. Donald’s interactions with the Ritz Brothers is really funny, especially when the three of them ride off wearing his clothes! But even someone like me, who watches Turner Classic Movies all the time, had trouble recognizing who Donald was talking to.

None of this is said to malign the short, because it is extremely funny. Donald goes from set to set, celeb to celeb in a rapid fashion, hitting some fantastic comedic notes along the way. His interactions are perfect, keeping Donald in character while also taking advantage of the guest stars in the short.

The most interesting part of the short, though, is seeing the response of the actors to Donald! Once Shirley Temple recognizes him, there is a mad dash from them to get Donald’s autograph. It’s again a nod from Disney to the fact that their stars were just as big as the biggest actors. This isn’t something you would have seen before, in the early days of Mickey, but now, it’s become more commonplace. Very interesting insight into the minds of the Disney staff as they geared up for their second feature film.


From Ryan : This is absolutely one of my favorite Donald Duck cartoons. This time Donald is in Hollywood looking for autographs. A guard, who knows that there are no autograph hounds allowed in the studio, tries to catch Donald. I saw a segment of a storyboard for this short in a book and the animators were originally going to make the guard be a dog. I guess they decided to change their minds, which I think was good because very few of the Disney shorts at the time actually had humans in them. I could identify quite a few of the stars such as Shirley Temple and Clark Gable. There were three stars called the Ritz Bros. who I at first thought were the Three Stooges. Well, the guard soon learns that this autograph hound is none other than the famous star Donald Duck who is later surrounded by autograph books. This oughtta keep him busy for awhile. I liked how the guard said "Your autograph! Let me have it" as he hands Donald his pen. Donald squirts the pen at him and it spells his name all over the guard's uniform.
From Nolan : The autograph hound is my second-favorite Donald Duck short, next to Donald's Tire Trouble. I love the humor employed with Mickey Rooney and the Ritz Brothers. My particularly favorite scene is the Ritz Brothers doing their Egyptian dance behind the curtain, then their antics on Donald. Seeing Clark Gable pop up with his ridiculous face is humorous as well, to say the least. And who doesn't like Greta Garbo's car? Silly humor at its finest. You cannot go wrong with this one.
From Ajisai : It's not my favorite Donald short, but it's still really funny, and the celebrity caricatures are amusing to see.
From Baruch Weiss : I absolutely loved this cartoon. Aside from the music(including the title and end presentation) the caricatures were very amusing and I enjoyed the caricatures of Sonja Heine (whom Donald imitated at the beginning of the 1939 classic The Hockey Champ) and Shirley Temple, but caricatures of famous people like these in this cartoon (including Mother Goose Goes Hollywood) were more popular in Warner Brother cartoons. Another caricature who hears Donald on the Studio Lot is Stephen Fetchit, his scene was snipped out in later showings of the short, but has been reinstated for Volume 1 of The Chronological Donald. It was also snipped out on the Limited Gold Edition video Donald. I have read that Disney was normally against editing their shorts on home video at the time, but Fetchit had become such a notoriously controversial figure by that time that editing him out of films was a standard practice, now matter how damaging to the story!
From Dino Cencia : My favorite part in the cartoon is when everybody wants an autograph from Donald Duck. I have an autographed picture of Donald Duck and I wrote him a letter and the letter came to him and he sent an autographed picture to me and the picture said: "To my friend Dino!" Donald Duck. Donald Duck is my favorite Disney character and I'm glad that he sent me a picture. I give this short a 90.