Poster

Lend a Paw

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : October 3, 1941

Synopsis

Pluto's conscience becomes the battleground when he saves a small kitten from drowning and then has second thoughts when Mickey welcomes it into his home.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pluto
Pluto's Devil
Bianca, the Fish
Kitten (unnamed)
Pluto's Angel

Credits

Director
Gerry "Clyde" Geronomi
Asst. Director
Don Duckwell
Animation
George Nicholas
Ken Muse
Charles Nichols
Eric Gurney
(?) Sturm
Norman Tate
Chuck Otterstrom
Morey Reden
Emery Hawkins
Layout
Bruce Bushman

Awards

Academy Award winner (Short Subjects - Cartoons)

Video

United States
Oliver and Company
Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoon Collections Volume 3
The Spirit of Mickey
Germany
Pluto Räumt Auf
Meister-Cartoons von Walt Disney
Mickys Größte Hits
France
Le Meilleur de Mickey
Les Chefs-d'Oeuvre de Walt Disney
Italy
Pluto Aiutante Offresi
Qua la Zampa Pluto
I Capolavori di Walt Disney
Cani e Simpatia
I Capolavori di Topolino

CED

United States
Disney Cartoon Parade Volume 5

Laserdiscs

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Cartoon Collections Volume 3
The Spirit of Mickey
Japan
The Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons
Mickey's Greatest Hits

DVD

United States
Oliver and Company
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 8 : Holiday Celebration with Mickey and Pals
Disney Treasures : The Complete Pluto Volume 1
Germany
Disney Treasures : The Complete Pluto Volume 1
Winter Wunderland Verschworung der Superschurken
Canada
Classic Cartoon Favorites : Volume 8 : Holiday Celebration with Mickey and Pals

Television

Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 67
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 15

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

Page 5

Page 6

Page 7

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

  • This short was a remake of the 1933 short, Mickey's Pal Pluto.
  • A blurb on the bottom of the title screen says "This picture is dedicated to The Tailwagger Foundation in recognition of it's work in lending a paw to man's animal friends."

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Pluto is a character that presents animators with a set of challenges. Since he’s a dog, he does not act like a human. Well, Goofy’s a dog and he acts like a human, so it’s a little more nuanced than that, but you get the idea. Pluto must move like a dog, and since he doesn’t speak, he can’t get emotions or thoughts across through words. It’s because of that the animators use different tricks to show us Pluto’s thought processes.

The most common of these is the use of the angel and devil Pluto, playing out a scene from both angles, advising Pluto what to do. In Lend A Paw, we see probably the most memorable version of this trick. It’s a short that I remember fondly, even if I can’t recall where or when I saw it first.

The whole thing is meant to demonstrate kindness to animals, which is funny since it’s Pluto, not Mickey who ends up being kind to the stray kitten. When he hears a meow from a bag floating down the river, Pluto rescues the kitten, who then follows him home. Pluto’s rescue across the ice flow in the snow is a great scene, with some nice animation.

The real trouble starts when the kitten follows Pluto home, and suddenly is a fair haired child for Mickey’s affections. That’s when the angel and devil come out, to tell Pluto to either be nice to the kitten or to get him kicked out, respectively. The devil has a nice tough guy voice, while the angel is more of a high pitched, shrill voice.

Pluto sets up the kitten by placing it on the table next to the fishbowl. Cats being cats, the kitten reaches into the fishbowl to try and nab the fish, causing a big commotion and things to come crashing down. The aftermath of that, when Mickey comes out to survey the scene is a favorite image of mine.

Pluto gets kicked out of the house after the fish turns “stool pigeon” in the words of the Pluto devil, and is left out in the snow. What I love about this short is although it’s obvious, it goes for the satisfying story, not the cheap gag. There could be tons of great gags of Pluto trying to get back in the house or doing something funny outside, but instead, he saves the kitten from drowning in the well.

The kitten jumps into the well by accident, and Pluto has to fight off the devil to get the kitten out. It’s a fantastic scene, that really examines Pluto’s character, and shows us why he’s a good dog after all, despite the trouble he causes. Normally, I don’t enjoy the angel/devil device, but here, it works to illuminate Pluto, not diminish him.


From Ryan : While I prefer it's earlier version Mickey's Pal Pluto, I still like this short. This time instead of several kittens, there is only one. Unlike the original black and white cartoon, Minnie does not appear in this short.
From Candy : Disney made more than one cartoon with the angel-and-devil-on-your-shoulder scenario. Donald and Figaro also had this scenario in their cartoons. But I think that Lend A Paw was the best one of its kind. And somebody else thought it was good because they gave it the Oscar for Best Cartoon of 1941. I've always liked the angel-vs. devil scenario. I think that Disney might have been the first cartoon producer who depicted that kind of thing. After he did it with Pluto and Donald, all the other cartoon studios started doing it.

I like this cartoon because it really draws you into the story. The storymen were able to make the audience experience Pluto's feelings. They used music and color to enhance the story. When Pluto falls in a well of freezing water, he turns a cold blue color. Pluto becomes jealous of the kitten he has saved, and a devil springs from his head, and he is colored green to symbolize jealousy. When the devil is confronted by Pluto's angel he turns yellow to symbolize cowardice. In another part of the cartoon, Pluto tries to get the kitten in trouble by making it look like he has been bothering the goldfish. Mickey comes in and tries to figure out who's to blame. He stares at the kitten and then at Pluto, with one eyebrow raised in an intense look. This was a caricature of Walt Disney's famous expression. When he was mad at someone or was concentrating intently on something, he would get this intense look on his face. If he looked at you that way it sometimes meant that you were in trouble. Many Disney characters gave that same look when they were mad. At this point in the cartoon, Mickey asks the goldfish "Who done it?" and the fish tells on Pluto. Pluto looks up in fear, sweating. He's afraid of what Mickey will do. In the next scene, Pluto is shown getting thrown out of the house by Mickey. This scene was funny because it played on the emotions of the audience. Almost everyone can relate to this situation...being mean to a brother or sister, trying to cover it up, and being afraid of getting caught. This cartoon was great because it drew the audience into the story in a personal way.


From Baruch Weiss : Here is another short that is released as "A Walt Disney Mickey Mouse" and yet Pluto's theme played over it I guess that was because Mickey was in the film but it was Pluto that stole the show like in the sequence where the devil says "Hey stupid!  Scram!"and then a lamp shade falls on his head thereby making him look like an Indian.
From Betsy : This one has always been one of my favorites not just because Mickey and Pluto are in it (my top 2 fave Disney characters) but because of the message that it sends..its so true no matter the era or situation and a GREAT moral for young and old alike.
From Grace : This is one of my favorite Mickey Mouse cartoons. Its pretty much of what Candy says and I agree of what she meant. By watching this short almost everybody can relate to the situation, like getting back at somebody, trying to solve the problem, and admit the innocent person that he, or she didn't do. This is a great example of thinking of others, knowing what's right and wrong to do, and more likely sharing your feelings. Like again of what Candy said about Mickey getting mad, she's right that many Disney characters did share that mad temper look when they were mad at something. This is an interesting cartoon. I highly recommend it and it really teaches us a lesson about friendship.
From Billy Joe : Lend a Paw is a remake of "Mickey's Pal Pluto," but there's only one kitten and there's no Minnie Mouse. Despite of Mickey ignoring Pluto, this is an entertaining short. Pluto and his angel and devil gives us laughs. Pluto did a good job rescuing the kitten as well. This short gets a perfect 10.
From Bryan Hensley : This short had some tough competition at the Oscars with the shorts it was up against; from MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, and even Universal. No matter which of those shorts won the best short subject award from 1941, they all would've been great winners. But still, Lend a Paw beat them all, and thank goodness it did! I grew up watching Disney shorts throughout my life, and have built a huge collection of them, especially on DVD, and still growing. With the help of my family as well. Lend a Paw is the first Mickey short of three to have Pluto's theme music, as far as I know. The other two are Squatter's Rights and Mickey Down Under. This short has been on DVD at least 5 times as of May 2009... is that a new record for DVDs? (Two of them I already have; The Fox and The Hound 25th Anniversary Edition and volume 8 of Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites collection!) Even though it's not really a Christmas short as it is on the second disc I mentioned, it's still a great one! By the way, have you noticed that some of the time Pluto's angel was around, he spoke in rhyme? I hope all of you enjoy this Oscar winner yourselves!

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