Poster

Symphony Hour

A Mickey Mouse Cartoon

Release Date : March 20, 1942

Running Time : 7:29

Synopsis

Never leave the instruments of a radio symphony orchestra in care of Goofy! That's what Mickey does, they end up getting squashed in a elevator, and the orchestra ends up sounding like Spike Jones.

Characters

Mickey Mouse
Pete
Clarabelle Cow
Horace Horsecollar
Goofy
Clara Cluck
Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Riley Thompson
Asst. Director
Ray de Vally
Animation
Les Clark
Ken Muse
Ed Love
Berny Wolf
John Elliotte
George de Beeson
Jack Campbell
Jack Manning
Jack Gayek
Ed Parks
Jim Moore
Marvin Woodward
Riley Thompson
Layout
Harold Miles

Cut Scenes

A scene was cut where Donald threatens to leave the band and Mickey forces him to stay by pointing a gun at his head.

Video

United States
Walt Disney Mini Classics : Peter and the Wolf
Favorite Stories : Peter and the Wolf
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions I : Mickey
Germany
Peter and the Wolf
Lachkonzert in Entenhausen
Italy
Video Parade 5
Peter and the Wolf
Cartoon Classics : Limited Gold Editions : Topolino

CED

United States
Limited Gold Editions - Mickey

Laserdiscs

The Prince and the Pauper / Willie the Operatic Whale / Peter and the Wolf
Japan
Mickey and the Gang
More Tales of Pluto
Mickey and His All Stars
Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show
Mickey : Limited Gold Edition

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
Italy
Extreme Music Fun
Disney Treasures : Wave 3 : Mickey Mouse in Living Color (Volume 2)
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 44: Musical Mickey
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 29

Original Animator's Drafts


Page 1

Page 2

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Page 5

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Page 7

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Page 9

Page 10

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

  • In terms of laugh-out loud humor, this is one of the funniest of all the Mickey shorts. One thing recently occurred to me. Someone mentioned earlier that Clara Cluck is in the orchestra in the beginning "rehearsal" sequences but not in the actual performance at the end. This is also her last short until Mickey's Christmas Carol. Does anyone imagine that she might have been in the elevator with the instruments as well and required an extended convalescence?

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Mickey has been tied with music constantly throughout his career. From the very beginning, when he appeared and danced in sync with “Turkey in the Straw” in Steamboat Willie, there’s always been music. Even more than that, Mickey has been the conductor of a band of cohorts on multiple occasions. That continues in Symphony Hour, as Mickey and the gang put on another show.

We’ve seen this many, many times before. There’s a long tradition of Mickey shorts featuring the gang in some kind of review or concert. The most memorable, is of course, The Band Concert, but we’ve seen Mickey’s Amateurs, Mickey’s Grand Opera, Orphans Benefit and so many more. The Band Concert is the one that provides the most interesting comparison to Symphony Hour.

In Symphony Hour, we see Mickey and his crew conducting a flawless performance as an orchestra, much to the delight of Pete, who is the sponsor of the performance. It’s only when the performance ends, though, that we see that this was practice, not the live performance.

Still, it’s interesting to see the change that has come over Mickey in the years since The Band Concert. Remember, that short showed Mickey out in the boonies, conducting a concert in a rural setting for locals. This moves Mickey into the big city, again mirroring the journey that Walt himself made. Mickey and Walt are always connected, and one follows the other, as we see here.

The fun part of this short is seeing what happens after the perfect rehearsal. Goofy is trying to carry the instruments into the concert hall, but as Goofy is prone to doing, he screws up. Dropping the instruments, he watches them get squashed by the elevator, rendering them useless.

What follows is a hilarious look at the concert, with the instruments giving off the barnyard sounds rather than a polished symphony. Seeing the reactions of the various characters is priceless. Donald, especially, is a fantastic part of this short. He basically gives up early on, and Mickey has to coax him back to the percussion.

Mickey goes pretty far, too, even pointing a gun at Donald to get him back. This short is a fantastic cartoon, and it previews things that would go on between these two in the future. Think of Mickey’s Philharmagic in Walt Disney World, and it stems greatly from this particular short.


From Steve BéginA : This is the best short I have seen. You just can't stop laughing while watching it. Donald Duck is incredible! The peak is when the trumpeters receives the trumpet part on his head, that makes a percussive sound. The part springs up and down on his head and the percussive sound continue and becomes the rhythm of the next section (poor trumpetist's head!).
From Ryan : In my opinion, this short has a connection to the 1935 short The Band Concert. This time, instead of conducting an "informal" band, Mickey conducts a sophisticated orchestra. I believe, if I can recall, at the beginning, Horace Horsecollar plays the first few notes to "Taps" while the orchestra is rehearsing (when my sister played "Taps" on her trumpet, I automatically thought of this short). Well this orchestra isn't so "sophisticated" once Goofy accidentally drops the instruments under the elevator. It was so hilarious seeing the results. Poor Pete (named Sylvester Macaroni in this short)thought he was ruined, but to his amazement the audience loved it. One thing that upsets me about this cartoon is that it's always shown censored on the Disney Channel. Since the "cut scenes" info is listed above, I don't need to explain what the scene was. Other than that, I loved it! Gets an A+.
From Johnathan Gies : I just love this one. It's very unusual for a Disney short it has a rather abrasive feeling that is very unlike the openness (or warmth, as some might say) that pervades most of them. This is Mickey at his best in many ways. He's sly, driven, intense, and ruthless--it's an enjoyable version of the mouse that's quite a departure from the friendly little guy we're used to. (Or the obnoxious corporate symbol we're unfortunately used to today, but I won't go there.) It's always a lot of fun to see him ticked off. (Conducting really seems to bring out his savage side--think of his temper The Band Concert.) The scene where he blocks the door and points a gun at Donald is well-timed and comes off very funny. The use of Pete is cool, too. I LOVE the music...both before and after Goofy's accident. On the video "Mickey", they follow this one up with The Simple Things from '53. The difference in Mickey is amazing. It's really a shame they way he evolved into a cipher. According to David Gerstein, director Riley Thompson was trying to resist the direction Mickey was going in with this and his few other shorts, but the tide couldn't be stemmed. Oh well. At least these days they seem to be trying to bring Mickey back from the abyss.
From Ted : Made the same year Spike Jones introduced the world to his first hit, Der Fuehrer's Face. This Disney Short actually is loaded with gags that Spike would adopt over the years. The "sound effects" band was actually created two or three years earlier for Mickey Mouse's RADIO show! On this series of broadcasts, the band was led by Donald Duck, not Mickey. Who was the creator of this zany sound-effects-as-music idea? My guess is Jim MacDonald, Disney's sound effects genius who was once a drummer (as Spike Jones had also been). Seems like Jimmy (and Spike) assembled their gadgets to augment their drumming.
From Thad Komorowski : Probably the best cartoon starring Mickey Mouse ever (and one of the best Disney cartoons as well). This short also contains one of the funniest scenes in animation history, in which Mickey pulls a gun on Donald so he'll keep playing music!
From pupspals : I love the way Donald plays the tympani in the this cartoon. How I wish I could muffle the tympani that way when I play them. It would make my life easier!
From Fabio Lazzari : Wonderful - I love it!
From Becky : I give this on a scale of one to ten, an eleven! Well, there are several reasons why I love this cartoon. The first would have to be the music! When the instruments get smashed and try to play later, it's just hilarious sounding. (I would repeatedly watch this and crack up each time) this cartoon inspired me to be in band too when I was very young. Second, being a band-nerd myself, I actually had to play a piece where we used our mouth pieces instead of our instruments and immediately thought of this! (my band teacher did too!) And no matter how many times you watch it, it's funny each time. I heard the actual song once on driving home from college on my local classical station and burst out laughing, cranking it up, making other drivers think I was insane! But this cartoon is just fun! No word can describe it.
From Shade Ford : I saw this cartoon a few years ago, but I 'd forgotten who directed it. As I remembered how Mickey acts in this cartoon , then I told myself the director would have to be Riley Thompson. Any Disney shorts fan can quickly recognize Thompson's Mickey. His Mickey Mouse is similar to the Mouse presented in shorts released between l928 and 1933. I suspect Thompson might have been a fan of Floyd Gottredson's Mickey Mouse strip. The Mouse in the strip and in Thompson's shorts possess similar traits--feistiness, flippancy, and trickiness. I'm glad I saw the uncut version. Most likely, that scene was cut to uphold Mickey's bland, non-threatening, corporate image.
From Baruch Weiss : This is truly one of the funniest Mickey shorts and is truly one of my favorites because of (you all probably guessed it) the music. And I agree with Ryan, this short does have a connection with The Band Concert in that Mickey hardly speaks except for two lines and Donald doesn't speak at all. The reason why it was so funny is because this cartoon was made during World War 2 and during that period cartoons were getting bolder and brashe

And now on to some trivia: This was Mickey's last cartoon for a few years until Squatters Rights although he did have a cameo in a couple of shorts before then. He was shelved during the war because Hitler (may he burn in Hell) hated him for some reason!


From Billy Joe : This is one of Mickey Mouse's funniest shorts. Period.

I absolutely love The Band Concert but Symphony Hour is as funny as it is. Poor Goofy has to break the instruments, and Pete has to enjoy a pitiful concert. When Donald Duck plays the instruments, they fall on him making him look like Chinese and Native American stereotypes, and Horace Horsecollar gets a laugh.

This is the last short to feature Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar til Mickey's Christmas Carol. This is also the last cartoon to feature Mickey Mouse with 3-D ears. In my opinion, it was unnecessary for Leonard Maltin to warn the viewer about Pete's phony Italian accent on Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume 2. The phony accent is used in the popular "Super Mario" video games.


From Laura Cross : Thad's right! The scene where Mickey seems to threaten to kill Donald with a gun is hilarious! But poor Clara Cluck. I saw her play the cello in the rehearsal and not in the actual performance. She may have died shortly after the elevator accident. The rest of the cast and crew, possibly along with Walt Disney himself, may have been very upset at that. Anyway, I want to get Symphony Hour on DVD. Unfortunately, it is only available on Walt Disney Treasures! I don't get these because they cost too much and they're way too hard to get! Luckily, I've seen this cartoon on the Mickey Mouse Gold Video. This is definitely an A+!
From Mike : This is definitely Mickey's funniest cartoon. The performance with the crushed instruments was really funny. I did notice Clara Cluck at the rehearsal but not the performance. I always wondered what happened there. It's a shame this is the last one to feature Horace and Clarabelle until Mickey's Christmas Carol. I always thought they coulda been as great as Donald, Goofy, or Pluto.
From Richard Sutor : I have to agree with many of the others who have posted regarding this cartoon. It is really funny. But alas it also marks a "first retirement" for Mickey. For several of the preceding seasons the number of Mickey cartoons released were shrank with the number of "Duck" and "Goof" cartoon increased. For 1942 there were only two Mickey releases. Mickey would not appear in another cartoon until the 1947 season. And, when he did come back he had a quite different screen personality making this a kind of last performance for the character that launched the Disney studio.
From Patricia B. : The reason that this is my favorite episode is the fact that everyone has had some sort of experience in life where they can relate to the characters here, particularly poor Mickey. Don't you just feel like you could die when you're caught with no other choice but to sink or swim? And yet somehow things just miraculously work out far better than what you had anticipated.
From Marcus : This is my favorite Disney cartoon. Some of the main characters like Minnie, Daisy, Chip, & Dale do not appear, but we get Horace, Carabelle, & Clara all together. I find it weird that Clara Cluck just disappears after the rehearsal, wonder what happened there. Has there ever been any interview about this cartoon where they mention why the left her out? Did Goofy drop her down the elevator shaft too? (lol, I kid). Sad that the three of them don't appear again for another couple of decades, they are great characters. I have the entire WDCC of this cartoon, and it's one of my favorite sets!

Referenced Comments