Poster

Springtime for Pluto

A Pluto Cartoon

Release Date : July 23, 1944

Synopsis

Pluto gets spring fever! But too much fever can be a bad thing as nature begins to intrude on his pastoral romp.

Characters

Pluto
Pan
Butterfly (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Charles Nichols
Animation
George Nicholas
Norman Tate
Marvin Woodward
Sandy Strother
Backgrounds
Leonard Kester
Layout
Charles Philippi
Story
Nick George
Eric Gurney
Music
Oliver Wallace

Video

United States
Here's Pluto
Germany
Hier ist Pluto
France
Les Aventures de Pluto
Italy
Le Avventure di Pluto

Laserdiscs

United States
Here's Mickey / Here's Pluto

DVD

Disney Treasures : The Complete Pluto Volume 1
Germany
Disney Treasures : The Complete Pluto Volume 1

Television

Mickey's Mouse Tracks: Episode 17
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 17, 1956

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 : Pluto has always been a different character for the Disney animators. He was not like Mickey or Donald or Goofy, because he did not speak, and there had to be a good reason for Pluto to do what he did, because otherwise he would just sleep all day. In Springtime for Pluto, that motivation seems very lacking, and the short suffers because of it.

Springtime for Pluto is sort of a disconnected short, as it attempts to merge Pluto with the “How To” narration model and the old Silly Symphonies and come up with something new. That’s not exactly a formula for success. While the concept of Pluto frolicking through the freshness of a Spring day makes sense, it lacks the true comedy of seeing Donald’s frustration or Goofy’s smiling silliness.

Pluto wakes up from his slumber and sees that Spring has sprung all around him, and proceeds to get involved with the various creatures that are taking in the new day. He chases birds and fights with caterpillars, smiling all the way. This part of the short is very much a call back to the old “seasons” shorts of the Silly Symphonies. It’s quiet, pastoral scenes that show some of the inherent beauty of nature.

The real question is if Disney wanted to make that sort of short again, why not just do another Silly Symphony? Instead, we are treated to Pluto crashing through the scene, and not in a comedic and fun way. Pluto is a disruptive part of the scenery instead of adding to the beauty or comedy.

Things get a little weird when a deep voiced caterpillar climbs up Pluto’s tail to spin a cocoon, only to transform into a buxom female butterfly. As the butterfly was dancing around and Pluto was reacting like a Tex Avery cartoon, I just wondered what the point was. Although the animation of the butterfly was fantastic, it didn’t seem to fit in the spot.

After that we get more of the narrator going on and on about how wonderful spring is, all while Pluto gets rained on and half the countryside is destroyed by rain and hail. Sure, this formula works fine in the Goofy shorts, but outside of that, it’s not as effective. We saw this device used in Contrary Condor, and it was no better there. It seems Disney fell in love with the narrator at this time, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I think Springtime for Pluto is an attempt to merge all these things into something better, but it’s an attempt that fell flat.


From Ryan : This is one of those Disney cartoons that I have not seen in a long time. I liked it when I first saw it and probably would now. One part I liked was the caterpillar scene where he spins a cocoon on Pluto's muzzle. He then turns into an attractive female butterfly.
From Baruch Weiss : I just like this cartoon. My favorite part is where the caterpillar makes a cocoon on Pluto's muzzle and after the song (where I don't understand one single word) he comes out and turns into a female butterfly. But what really won me over was the music done by Oliver Wallace and believe you me he does a very good job. I hope one day I see this short again.
From Candy : I've always liked this cartoon because of the female butterfly that dances for Pluto. She was drawn as a sexy Latino dancer. The music that she dances to has a Latin beat, and she was drawn with Hispanic features. I think that the Disney artists drew her that way because they wanted to depict her as a sexy, exotic creature that would fascinate Pluto, who was depicted in this as an all-American male. They might have been thinking of the way real dogs are mesmerized by watching butterflies float through the air. When she comes out of the cocoon, she gives him a knowing look, and he turns away and blushes, as if she's some kind of seductress. Then she flies on his nose and does a little dance, swinging her hips. She's very curvaceous and is wearing a short dress. This was an example of a Disney cartoon that had sexual elements, though it was done in a cute, Disney-like way.
From Michelle I. : I love this joyful cartoon, though it wasn't one of my favorites when I was younger. I now have a huge appreciation for it. Everyone seems to like the bit with the caterpillar turning into a sexy butterfly, and indeed that is a highlight of the short. Overall though, I really like the entire thing and all the small details, from the narrator's great voiceover to the little mushroom that pops up under Pluto's chin. As usual, the ending is clever and humorous.
From Trae Robinson : Here's a little known fact: This is the first Disney cartoon with credits. I think the narrator caught Pluto's cold at the end cause I heard him sneeze.
From Matthew Cooper : Although I don't normally watch Pluto cartoons (I myself am a Donald Duck fan,) I have seen this one but after seeing it at a young age, I nearly forgot it. Whoever is reading this right now, don't you think it's a bit bizarre that after the male caterpillar comes out of his cocoon, he's a female butterfly.
From Sydney Simmonds : One of my favorite scenes in this cartoon was the caterpillar turning into a butterfly woman. She kind of looks like Nani from Lilo and Stitch.
From Much ado about insects : This site has changed a lot since my last visit! I'm glad to see that the butterfly everyone talks about has her own character page. Although I'm wondering if the caterpillar should also have a character page, since it's even voiced and everything, or should the caterpillar and butterfly technically be the same character? I'm also starting to wonder if there are different versions of this short, since some people say that the cocoon was spun on Pluto's muzzle, but versions I'm familiar with have the cocoon on his tail like in the screenshots on this page. I've have also heard that the butterfly may also have been voiced, but I don't recall her every speaking at all, just the bouncy music playing in the background.

Referenced Comments