Poster

The Nifty Nineties

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : June 30, 1941

Running Time : 7:33

Synopsis

Mickey takes Minnie to a vaudeville show, then out for a wild drive in an antique car.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Minnie Mouse
Goofy
Donald Duck
Daisy Duck
Huey, Dewey and Louie
Fred
Ward

Credits

Director
Riley Thompson
Animation
Les Clark
Ward Kimball
Walt Kelly
Art Fitzpatrick
Layout
Charles Connor
Voices
The Sportsmen

Inside Jokes

Some of the names on the theater curtain refer to people at Disney. One says "Walter D's Hats that Please," an obvious reference to Walt Disney himself. Another says "Wilfred Jaxson Feed and Fuel," a reference to Wilfred Jackson, one of Disney's earliest animators. There may be others, but the video I was watching on was blurred. Later, Mickey and Minnie pass by a barn with the sign "Riley's Livery Stable", probably referring to director Riley Thompson.

The second act "Fred and Ward, Two Clever Boys from Illinois" are caricatures of Fred Moore and Ward Kimball, two of Disney's top animators.

Cut Scenes

A slide show in the vaudeville house to the old tune "Father, Dear Father" - in which a drunken husband is shown refusing to come home from the bar - was cut at one time. It has since been reinstated.

Video

United States
Sweetheart Stories
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I: Minnie
Germany
Micky Liebt Minnie
Swinging Micky
Happy Birthday Mickey
Mickys Größte Show
Micky Liebt Minnie
France
Mickey et Minnie les Amours de Printemps
Joyeux Anniversaire Mickey
Italy
Video Parade 12
Topolino e Minnie Innamorati
Topolino and Co. : Avventure Tutte da Ridere
Cartoon Classics : Minni
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Minni

CED

United States
Limited Gold Editions - Minnie

Laserdiscs

Japan
Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show
Mickey Loves Minnie
Minnie : Limited Gold Edition
Mickey Mouse: A Star is Born

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 9 : Best Pals : Mickey and Minnie
Mickey and Minnie's Sweetheart Stories
Pollyanna
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Italy
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Canada
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 10 : Best Pals : Mickey and Minnie
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 39: Minnie Mouse
The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 22: Classic Mickey

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

  • Some of the names on the theater curtain refer to people at Disney. One says "Walter D's Hats that Please," an obvious reference to Walt Disney himself. Another says "Wilfred Jaxson Feed and Fuel," a reference to Wilfred Jackson, one of Disney's earliest animators. There may be others, but the video I was watching on was blurred. Later, Mickey and Minnie pass by a barn with the sign "Riley's Livery Stable", probably referring to director Riley Thompson.

    The second act "Fred and Ward, Two Clever Boys from Illinois" are caricatures of Fred Moore and Ward Kimball, two of Disney's top animators.


From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : I wrote the other day about Mickey having been sidelined in Canine Caddy, where he really does not serve much of a purpose. The animation was good, but there was not much in the short to hang your hat on. The situation is no different in The Nifty Nineties, but for some reason, I had the opposite reaction to it.

It could be hype. I’ve heard about this short for quite some time and how fun it was, but had never seen it. So that could have something to do with it, but honestly, I think this is just a good short. It moves well, has some good funny bits and features some good Mickey work.

The opening shot is among my favorites of Mickey, a sepia toned portrait of him next to an old time automobile. It just screams Mickey to me, and is a classic image that you can imagine being taken from a picture of Walt or one of his contemporaries. That image just made me feel more than ever that Mickey and Walt were the same.

From there, Mickey goes to court Minnie, who is batting her eyelashes and dropping her handkerchief in that mischievous mouse way. Mickey takes her to a vaudeville show, which is such a Walt thing to do. The whole short has the feeling of Walt’s childhood coming through.

The vaudeville show is classic Disney as well, showing some fantastic bits, but really calling back to the vaudeville shows from Alice’s Wild West Show forward. There’s the melodrama shown on slides, which is similar to Baby Weems from The Reluctant Dragon, although it does not move.

The second act, though, is fantastic for Disney buffs. It’s two vaudeville comedians, noted on the placard as Fred and Ward. These two are doppelgangers for Fred Moore and Ward Kimball, two of Walt’s top animators. Kimball was coming into his own, having appeared in The Reluctant Dragon, and about to do his best work to date on Dumbo. Fred Moore was known for his amazing work on the redesign of Mickey Mouse, among other things.

Having the two of them on stage as vaudeville comics is an inspired touch, and is a great thing to see for Disney buffs. Additionally fun to see is the following sequence, where Mickey and Minnie leave the theatre and run into Goofy on a giant bike and Donald, Daisy and the nephews on a five seater. It establishes again that these characters are in the same universe, which is a great precedent to set.

The finale of the short sees Mickey crank up the speed on the car, ultimately crashing. But, in true Mickey style, he and Minnie both smile and laugh off the crash. I can’t quite put my finger on it, because there’s really no story here, but it’s an enjoyable short. I had fun watching it, and that makes The Nifty Nineties okay with me.


From J. D. Weil : In "The Nifty Nineties" you mentioned the in-joke "Walter D's Hats" as being directed at Walt Disney, which is true, but there is another aspect to that gag. It seems there is a hat manufacturer that uses the Disney name (I spotted their ads in the New Yorker Magazine, and it seems they been making hats longer than Walt has making cartoons) and probably Riley Thompson (or his gagmen) knew of this. So that gives that joke an extra edge. (Of course I'll never know if Walt ever wore Disney hats.)
From Peter Hale : The other names in the ads on the backdrop are "Clark's Confectionery" for animator Les Clark, "T. Hee Shoes" for storyman T. Hee, "Gen. J. Sharpsteen Dentist" for director Ben Sharpsteen, "Rileys Livery Stable" possibly for Art Riley but maybe for Riley Thompson who directed 'Nifty Nineties', and three I can't identify: "'Breezy' Allens Haberdashery", M. Flanigan Imported Coffee" and "R. B. Martch Guns". (The top left hand space says "For Rent.")
From Ryan : This is one of my favorite Mickey Mouse shorts. I absolutely love the scene in the vaudeville theater with Fred and Ward, the "Two Clever Boys From Illinois." The first joke that they told was the oldest one in the book: Why did the chicken cross the road? The animation was nicely done. So what do I have to complain about this wonderful short? Well... if I can recall, I first saw this cartoon on a video that I had rented back when I was about 8 or 9 years old. When Mickey and Minnie entered the vaudeville theater, a slideshow entitled "Father Dear Father" came on. It was about a poor woman (actually I don't remember whether or not she was actually poor) trying to get her alcoholic father to come home and help her and her mother take care of their dying child. I don't remember much about the images that I saw in that sequence, but I remember that I saw someone frozen in a bathtub. This scene is now censored on the Disney Channel, which really ticks me off! I believe that this scene should NOT have been censored for two reasons:

1.) The alcoholic in the show was not a regular Disney character, so he would not be considered a role model that some kids might try to copy.

2.) This may not be true for some of the older kids (like 4th grade age), but the younger kids (like kindergarten-age) would not understand it and it would just go over their heads.


From Roberto González : This is an awesome cartoon. I watched it for first time in the DVD and I couldn't believe how beautiful it looked. No matter what you think of Disney's cuteness this cartoon is so well drawn you just have to enjoy it. I mean, I myself am more of a Looney Tunes fan but I really love the music, art and humor in this one. It's also very nice to see Goofy, Donald and his gang in those brief cameos.
From Austin Long : This short portrays the 1890's masterfully. The part with Freddie Moore and Ward Kimball as part of the show is among my favorite cameos in any short. 11 out of 10.
From Baruch Weiss : Mickey goes on a date with Minnie then takes her for a ride in his automobile which ends up in a wreck when a cow gets in the way. Truly one of my favorite Mickey cartoons and I enjoyed the cameo appearances by the other Disney Characters. This didn't happen often in the classic Disney cartoons where other characters would make cameos.
From Mick Mouse : One of my all time favorite shorts! I absolutely love those cute romantic Mickey and Minnie moments. I also found a hidden gag on the curtain at the vaudeville show. One of the advertisements is " Walter D's, Hats to please". I thought that it was a cute little tribute to the one and only Walt Disney himself.
From Billy Joe : In my opinion, this is one of the Disney studio's greatest shorts. The opening theme included a song about the 1890s, the time this cartoon takes place. Mickey and Minnie meet each other in the park, and then see a show titled "Father, Dear Father."

"Father, Dear Father" was sad. Minnie cried. A young girl's father was drunk, not caring about his family. He was in a bar. There was even an image of a nude woman hanging on the wall. After the show ended, a card read, "P.S. He did come home.", or something like that.

There was also a comedy skit done by two of Disney's top animators. On the couple's car ride after the show, they pass by familiar faces such as Goofy, Donald, and his nephews. I especially liked it when Mickey and Minnie run into a cow and kiss at the end. This cartoon inspired by Walt Disney's favorite time period is well done. It gets a perfect 10!


From Margos : This short was brilliant, and the animation was very well-done. It's kind of odd, I'd heard a lot about this one, but I never actually bothered looking it up until I saw that it was the featured short of the week on this website. The references to the Disney staff were quite clever! The only thing that I wasn't crazy about were Mickey and Minnie's strangely elongated ears. They didn't look like themselves with the ears out of proportion like that. Ah well, absolutely perfect other than that...

Although, how dare Disney Channel censor out "Father, Dear Father!?" That part is about 2 minutes long! Aside from being a ridiculous edit to make in the first place, it drastically compromises the runtime of the entire piece! Ugh!


From Matthew Cooper : I don't normally like the Mickey Mouse shorts that much, due to the fact that I am a HUGE Donald Duck fan, but this one stands out for me for a number of reasons. Here they are: 1) The colour 2) The first-rate reflection of the 1890's-This short even uses actual songs from that time period such as "In the Good Old Summertime" or "Strolling in the Park", and throws in even the tiniest details such as brown photographs, a reference to a women's baseball team etc. Teachers who are teaching their students about that period should definetly show them this cartoon! 3) The "Father, Dear Father" sequence-It's story-board type images is not like the usual things you find in the Disney shorts which is what makes it unique! I agree with those that said that it's censorship on today's T.V. ruins the piece, and I think it still should be shown because the drunken father is not going to influence children to drink themselves! NOTE: "FDF" is actually part of a real poem titled "Come Home, Father" written during that time by a poet named Henry Clay Work. I wen out and found the full poem and enjoyed it so much, I thought those who also love this short might enjoy it to. So, here it is: 'Tis The SONG OF LITTLE MARY, Standing at the bar-room door While the shameful midnight revel Rages wildly as before. Father, dear father, come home with me now! The clock in the steeple strikes one; You said you were coming right home from the shop, As soon as your day's work was done. Our fire has gone out our house is all dark And mother's been watching since tea, -- With poor brother Benny so sick in her arms, And no one to help her but me. -- Come home! come home! come home! -- Please, father, dear father, come home. -- Hear the sweet voice of the child Which the night winds repeat as they roam! Oh who could resist this most plaintive of prayers? "Please, father, dear father, come home." Father, dear father, come home with me now! The clock in the steeple strikes two; The night has grown colder, and Benny is worse But he has been calling for you. Indeed he is worse Ma says he will die, Perhaps before morning shall dawn; -- And this is the message she sent me to bring "Come quickly, or he will be gone." -- Come home! come home! come home! -- Please, father, dear father, come home. -- Hear the sweet voice of the child Which the night winds repeat as they roam! Oh who could resist this most plaintive of prayers? "Please, father, dear father, come home." Father, dear father, come home with me now! The clock in the steeple strikes three; The house is so lonely the hours are so long For poor weeping mother and me. Yes, we are alone poor Benny is dead, And gone with the angels of light; -- And these were the very last words that he said "I want to kiss Papa good night." -- Come home! come home! come home! -- Please, father, dear father, come home. -- Hear the sweet voice of the child Which the night winds repeat as they roam! Oh who could resist this most plaintive of prayers? "Please, father, dear father, come home."

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