Poster

The Fire Chief

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : December 13, 1940

Running Time : 8:22

Synopsis

Donald's fire department, manned by him and his nephews, are unable to cope when their own building goes up in flames.

Characters

Donald Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Ed Love
Paul Allen
Ted Bonnicksen
Story
Jack Hannah
Carl Barks

Bloopers

All through the short the nephews are seen in red uniforms with yellow collars. During the scene where Donald is riding the ladder up, one of the nephews comes around to raise it and we see him dressed in a blue uniform with a yellow collar; the same uniform as Donald. This then switches back to the red/yellow combination in a later scene.

Video

Germany
Donald Duck's Ferienabenteuer
France
Mickey, Donald, Pluto et Dingo en Vacances
La Collection en Or des Studios Disney Volume 3
Une Cervelle D'oiseau
Italy
Paperino Guai in Vista
Come Divertirsti Con Paperino & C.

Laserdiscs

Japan
Let's Relax
Donald Duck : A Star is Born

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 20: Huey, Dewey and Louie
Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 2
Walt Disney Presents: A Day in the Life of Donald Duck

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 : Fire Chief puts Donald in the title role, and gives us a lot more of what we love from Donald – ridiculous situations with things constantly going wrong for the duck, causing frustration and craziness.

As you might guess, this short deals with Donald heading out to take care of a fire. However, it opens with the boys playing a prank on Donald, ringing the fire alarm to get him out of bed and stop his snoring. It’s cute, but what is nice is that it serves as a setup for a later part of the short. It’s a nice bit of storytelling and structure.

Donald jumps out of bed and slides down the pole, then zips into the fire truck before seeing the boys laughing at him upstairs. But when he goes upstairs, they’re “asleep” in bed again. The shot of Donald in the truck gets echoed later, as Donald feeds the furnace a little too full of coal, and ends up catching the firehouse on fire.

One of the funniest bits I’ve seen in a Donald short is when he pulls out of the firehouse to chase the fire, not realizing that it is in the firehouse he just left behind. It’s almost like something you’d expect from a Goofy short, but having it be Donald instead is a refreshing change.

The best parts of this short, though, are Donald trying to put out the fire. The gags come quickly and are extremely funny. The first is when the boys extend the ladder, and it snaps, sending Donald off into the air. His expressions trying to climb the ladder and find a way to land safely are priceless.

There’s so much more, too. Donald swims along the stream of the water hose, the water builds up from a knot in the hose then explodes, Donald flies into a bicycle shop and comes out pedaling a tricycle – it’s all one after the other, and all very funny.

The thing I see in the Donald shorts is they feel more “modern” than some of the other types of shorts we have seen. At least that’s my feeling. I could watch Fire Chief today, on an HD television, and not think that this short was 70 years old. It seems like something that could have been produced in the last decade. It’s amazing to me that shorts like this hold up so well, but they do. Fire Chief is a great example of Donald at his finest.


From Ryan : This was absolutely one of my favorite Donald/nephews shorts. The part where Donald hears the fire alarm and goes driving off in his fire truck, but realizes that it's his own fire station that is on fire is just hilarious. Well the fire seems to have gotten the better of Donald as his fire station and truck burn down to ashes. His hat burns down to nothing but the wire and that turns into a head of hair. Donald says "You can't win. You just can't win."
From Baruch Weiss : It is no wonder that Donald can not keep a job, he is so ignorant and he does not bother to listen to his nephews. But it is only a cartoon and I guess that is what makes it funny!

Referenced Comments