Poster

Dog Watch

A Pluto Cartoon

Release Date : March 16, 1945

Running Time : 7:17

Synopsis

Pluto is assigned to guard a ship at port from intruders, and is almost bested by a sly wharf rat.

Characters

Pluto
Rat (unnamed)

Credits

Director
Charles Nichols
Animation
George Nicholas
Norman Tate
Marvin Woodward
Jerry Hathcock
Backgrounds
Claude Coats
Layout
Bruce Bushman
Story
Eric Gurney
Music
Oliver Wallace

Video

United States
Canine Commando
Italy
Paperino Marmittone

DVD

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

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 31: The Unseen Disney
The Mickey Mouse Club : October 4, 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 : There are a lot of things you can say about Disney cartoons of the 1940s. Some will say they are not as exciting or fast paced as the Looney Tunes. Others will note the lack of dynamic animation as compared to the early Mickeys. But usually, there has not been a criticism that Disney’s cartoons were derivative.

With Dog Watch, I feel like Disney took a concept that was working elsewhere and applied it to one of their characters. MGM’s Tom and Jerry cartoons cast a mute furry animal chasing a mouse around, trying to prevent him from eating the food. In Dog Watch, a mute Pluto chases a mouse around a naval ship, to prevent him from eating the ship’s stores.

I’m not saying that the Disney artists stole this from Tom and Jerry, but watching this short, it did not feel like a Disney film. It didn’t even feel like a Pluto film. The best Pluto films have always involved him straddling the line between good and bad, and trying his best to make the right choices. This one featured none of that.

Pluto is left on watch on a ship, while the sailors go to shore. This is of course a set up for trouble, as almost the minute that the ship is abandoned, the mouse shows up. It’s a fun set up, though, to have Pluto be intimidated by the mouse. It all happens when Pluto roars at the mouse, but the mouse roars back. Very funny stuff.

There’s not a great deal of follow through, however, and that’s kind of the problem. No moment stands out from the short after that exchange of anger. The mouse proceeds to go in and start the old “stroll around the table and eat a bite of everything” routine. Like I said, we’ve seen this before, and it’s occasionally funny, but this time it just seemed routine.

The ending comes quickly, as Pluto trashes the table, gets caught by the sailors, and then has to try and save face. He gets redemption by shaking the mouse off of a rope line, but by then it’s too late to salvage the short. While Dog Watch is not a bad idea, the execution does not come off well.


From Jerry Edwards : While guarding the ship, Pluto has a conflict with a wharf rat who is determined to steal the galley's food. Pluto is tempted to eat some of the food himself and is thrown into the brig when it appears Pluto is the food thief. The rat, carrying a huge sandwich stolen from the galley, is departing the ship on one of the ropes tying the ship to the dock and laughs at Pluto's imprisonment. Pluto gets the last laugh when he violently shakes the rope and sends both the rat and the sandwich falling into the water.

Well done, but not a fan of Pluto cartoons in general.


From Ryan : One of my favorite Pluto shorts. I enjoy the part where Pluto walks over to a lifeboat and uncovers it, thinking there are intruders in it. He sees that it's only his private stash of bones. I really dislike the rat that sneaks into the captain's quarters to get food. I even more dislike the fact that Pluto, who is trying to stop the rat, gets blamed for stealing the captain's food and gets locked in the ship's prison. The rat, however, gets what he deserves. When Pluto sees him walk across the rope by the dock, he wiggles it, causing the rat to slip on some mustard that he spilled from his sandwich. The rat falls into the water. Pluto laughs in a similar way that Mickey did in Steamboat Willie when he threw the potato at the annoying parrot.
From Baruch Weiss : This short is OK but it is not one of my favorites.