Lighthouse Keeping

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : September 20, 1946

Running Time : 6:39

Synopsis

Donald stoically tries to keep his lighthouse light lit, much to the chagrin of Marblehead the pelican, who is trying to get some sleep.

Characters

Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Jack Hannah
Animation
Hal King
Bob Carlson
Judge Whitaker
Fred Jones
Backgrounds
Howard Dunn
Layout
Yale Gracey
Story
Harry Reeves
Jesse Marsh
Music
Oliver Wallace

Video

United States
Pete's Dragon
Germany
Goofy Präsentiert
Donald Ich bin der Grösste
Donald Duck in die Größte Show der Welt
France
Donald Superstar
Italy
Paperino Piume Guai e Simpatia
Buon Compleanno Paperino
Pippo Superstar

Laserdiscs

Japan
Donald's Golden Jubilee

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2
Pete's Dragon
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 5 : The Chronological Donald Volume 2
Elliot der Schmunzelmonster
Italy
Pete's Dragon

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 21: Goin' to the Birds
Donald's Quack Attack: Episode 37

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 : People keep giving Donald responsibility in these 1940s Disney shorts. I’m not sure that is a good idea, but that’s what makes it so funny. In Lighthouse Keeping, Donald is in charge of a lighthouse, which means all ships at sea better be worried. For those of us watching at home, however, it’s some great animation and laughs.

There are some great gags in this short, with Donald doing some things that you would not expect. Take the beginning for example. He is sitting in the top of the lighthouse trying to read a book, but the light of course starts rotating, keeping him from reading. Donald smartly hooks himself to the wheel turning the light, so that he can keep reading. Sure, it only works for a moment, but it’s quite a clever gag.

The core of this short, though is focused on Donald’s cruelty getting him in trouble. When he gets bored because his reading doesn’t work out, Donald shines the light on a pelican nearby. How this might affect the ships at sea is not really dealt with. It definitely affects the pelican, however, and he ends up coming into the lighthouse to take issue with Donald.

What follows is a tit for tat, back and forth battle over the light in the lighthouse, with Donald attempting to keep it lit while the pelican battles him to shut it down. This is where we get fast and furious gags, in a way that we haven’t seen in some time during the Disney shorts. It’s not quite the frenetic energy of the early Mickeys, but it’s as close as Disney comes in the 1940s era.

The pelican is quite the match for Donald. While there’s a long stretch of just blowing out the candle at the light and Donald relighting it with a lighter, there’s some fantastic gags the pelican pulls. One of my favorites is when he convinces Donald that he’s left, and the main duck hides in the pelican’s beak, thinking it’s a box. The use of the beak is one of the best things in this short.

During the short, I got tired quickly of the back and forth over the light with just blowing it out then relighting it, but it all made sense at the end. The two combatants see the sun coming up, which makes their battle pointless. Rather than give in, though, Donald decides to draw the shades and continue the fight forever. What better summation of Donald’s character could there be? He keeps fighting no matter what, even if it’s pointless. For Donald, it’s all about being right and winning.


From Ryan : This short is okay, but I wouldn't call it one of my favorites. It gets pretty tiring after the pelican has kept blowing out the fire that Donald lit.
From Tadhg Christopher Bird : In this post-war cartoon, you can see that Disney was still trying to make its animation as cost-effective as possible. The cheap animation however does not distract from the fun gags of Donald trying to keep the lamp of his lighthouse lit.
From Baruch Weiss : This short's not that good at all, all that pelican wanted was some sleep and Donald had to start the trouble!
From Bryan Hensley : I don't remember seeing this short anywhere else but Pete's Dragon: High-Flying Edition Disney DVD, which came out in August. That poor pelican just wanted to go to sleep, but Donald kept bugging him! Ain't he a devil? Donald kept trying to keep the lighthouse lit, but the pelican kept blowing out the candle, over and over again! They suddenly realized it was morning by the end! Donald put down all the shades to make it dark, and the lighting and blowing happens all over again! I hope all of you enjoy this classic short between the wants of a duck and a pelican at a lighthouse!
From Brad Bethel : I've been revisiting this one, along with many other Donald Duck cartoons recently. This is a lot funnier and more clever than I remember. By now, Donald should know better than to tease someone when they're just going to get up and fight back. But since the battle is on, there's a lot of funny stuff that goes on between their back-and-forth with the light, as Donald is up against a pelican who's every bit as crafty and stubborn as he is. The ending, I thought, was a bit of a stalemate. Donald no longer had to keep the light lit, and Marblehead lost a good night's sleep. Jack Hannah should have made more cartoons like this. When Donald wasn't stuck with chipmunks and bees for so long, he came across quite a few worthy adversaries.
From Ryan : This is absolutely one of my favorite Disney shorts. I enjoy Figaro's bratty personality. After he is given a bath, Minnie ties a bow around his neck and sprays him with perfume. Figaro bats the bow around until it comes off his neck. He then goes outside and is confronted by a group of alley cats. I enjoy the scene where the tough alley cat tries to claw Figaro, but a pile of garbage cans fall all over him knocking him unconscious. The other alley cats think Figaro beat him up and back away from him when he hisses. I enjoy the part at the end when Minnie finds Figaro and says "Now you'll have to have another bath." Figaro is depicted as a skunk.

Referenced Comments