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The Pelican and the Snipe

A Special Cartoon

Release Date : January 7, 1944

Running Time : 8:40

Synopsis

Monte is a sleeepwalking pelican whose talents come in handy when he has to rescue his friend, Vidi from a wartime bombing raid.

Characters

Monte
Vidi

Credits

Director
Hamilton Luske
Animation
Ward Kimball
Story
Del Connell

Cut Scenes

A shot showing the pelican on the chopping block with an ax poised above his head has been cut.

Video

Germany
Donald Macht nie Pause
France
Disney Parade 6
Italy
Disney Adventures

Laserdiscs

Japan
Disney Cartoon Festival 6

DVD

United States
Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 56: Wartime Disney
The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 21: Goin' to the Birds

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 originally slated to be a part of "The Three Caballeros" feature, but was never used and released separately.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Originally intended for use in a package feature film, this short was created as the Uruguay portion of the South American film series. To that end, the short is set outside of Montevideo, Uruguay on top of a lighthouse, and features a pelican named Monty and a snipe named Video, or Viddy, as he’s referred to in the short.

Monte has a serious problem, but he is unaware of it. Every night, Monte has a tendency to fly in his sleep, but his steadfast friend, Viddy, keeps track of him and makes sure that he doesn’t get into too much trouble. The gags explaining this are flat out hilarious. Several times in the short, the action is stopped to show just how close things are to disaster. One of these is right at the beginning, when Viddy pulls Monte’s beak up to avoid crashing into the rocks.

The issue that comes up is that Monte is completely unaware of what he is doing. When he wakes up in the morning, he’s fit as a fiddle, and can’t understand why Viddy is always sleeping. Now, why Viddy doesn’t just tell Monte what’s going on, I’m not sure, but it’s a fantastic set up for comedy.

Viddy tries several solutions, including tying Monte to an anchor. When Monte manages to slip free and ends up at the bottom of the ocean, he gets angry and kicks Viddy out of the lighthouse gang. The great part of this is how emotional this piece is, because every other part of the short has been emotional, and now there’s this division between the two friends. Viddy begins crying, and it’s simply moving.

I have to say, though, what makes this work more than anything else is the narration by Sterling Holloway. Best known as the voice of Winnie the Pooh, Holloway tells the whole story, which could be a bit of cheating, as most animation is designed to show, not tell. It really works here, though, because Holloway is able to convey all the emotions of Monte and Viddy, without either of them having to speak.

With Viddy gone, Monte begins his sleep-flying again, and when he’s awakened by a nearby plane, he realizes what he has done to poor Viddy. He arrives to find Viddy just in time before bombers practicing their trade blow him to smithereens. There’s a final scene where we see that Viddy has solved the problem, and the two friends are back together again.

I could not find a single thing wrong with this short. It is touching, heart warming and very funny. I’m actually surprised this was the first time I have seen it, because it’s so good. Definitely seek this one out if you can.


From Marco Merkelijn : About the cut scene: I just saw the short, first time I saw it by the way. The cut scene is in there, the snipe thinks of a solution to protect his friend and get some sleep. You see the scene in a "thinking cloud."
From Jerry Edwards : Sterling Holloway narrates how Vidi, the snipe, spends his nights keeping his "sleep-flying" friend Monte, the pelican, out of harms way where they live - on top of a lighthouse near Montevideo, Uruguay. Monte does not realize that he sleep-flies and accuses Vidi of trying to kill him when an anchor attached to Monte's foot drags Monte underwater instead of keeping him from flying. Monte demands that Vidi leave, but then has no one to help keep him safe the next night. Monte realizes his error when he is almost hit by aircraft on night maneuvers and awakens just in time to save his friend Vidi from aircraft target bombing practice.

Nicely animated, but not that interesting to me.


From Ryan : This short was not all that interesting to me. I guess because I just found no humor in the poor snipe having to stay awake all night to keep the pelican from "sleepflying."
From Baruch Weiss : This short was not interesting to me either, I think I may have heard stories like this before. However, I did enjoy the scene where Monty sleep flies and the music from The Little Whirlwind is heard.
From Billy Joe : I actually love this short, so I guess I enjoyed it more than the other commentators. It is entertaining to watch with some nice artistry and narration by Sterling Holloway (he voiced the narration of other Disney shorts and Winnie the Pooh). This short was originally going to be a segment of "The Three Caballeros" because it takes place in South America.