Poster

Wide Open Spaces

A Donald Duck Cartoon

Release Date : September 12, 1947

Running Time : 6:36

Synopsis

Donald, not wanting to pay for a hotel room, decides to sleep outdoors. In doing so, he tangles with an air mattress, a boulder, and other elements of the great outdoors.

Characters

Donald Duck

Credits

Director
Jack King
Animation
Don Towsley
Paul Allen
Emery Hawkins
Sandy Strother
Backgrounds
Howard Dunn
Layout
Don Griffith
Story
MacDonald MacPherson
Jack Huber
Music
Oliver Wallace

Video

United States
Here's Donald
Germany
Donald Duck Geht Nach Wildwest
Italy
Video Parade 13

Laserdiscs

United States
Here's Donald / Here's Goofy
Japan
Celebrate with Mickey
Donald Duck Goes West

DVD

United States
Disney Treasures : Wave 7 : The Chronological Donald Volume 3
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 7 : The Chronological Donald Volume 3

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 43: On Vacation
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 : Another day brings another Donald Duck short in 1947, this time with Donald squarely in the spotlight. You’ll remember that recent shorts have been cast as Donald Duck shorts only to have Daisy or other characters form the core focus of the story. That’s not the case in Wide Open Spaces, as this goes back to the formula of Donald being presented with a series of challenges.

The main problem Donald faces in this one is finding a place to sleep. He attempts to find a hotel, but backtracks on booking it when he finds out that the cot outside the door is $16 for the night. It’s a really interesting bit, because the name of the hotel is the “Hold Up Motel,” with a picture of a gun on top of it - definitely a commentary by Disney that the hotel is gouging the consumer. Very intriguing in retrospect, right?

Instead of bunking down in the hotel, Donald attempts to go out and find a flat spot to lay down an air mattress, but runs into all sorts of troubles. He ends up attacking trees, falling underwater and generally doing anything but falling asleep. It’s the kind of accidental antics that you would expect from Goofy moreso than Donald. Donald seems to be stumbling into the situations instead of an active participant.

That’s the big reason why Wide Open Spaces doesn’t work for me. Donald, as mentioned before, should be an angry, bitter duck whose frustration rises throughout the short. That’s when he works best, such as in Modern Inventions, one of my favorite Donald shorts. This short does not feature that. Instead, it focuses on the gags over the characters, not showing the kind of story that makes Donald work best.

Sadly, that’s very typical of the Disney studio in 1946-1947. The entirety of the studio is in kind of a drift during this period, figuring out if they are a feature studio, a short cartoon studio or a live action studio. The answer, of course, was all three, but in the interim, product had to be produced to fulfill contracts and keep the doors open. In the process of producing the product, it seems the artists and storytellers forgot a little about their characters.


From Ryan : I first saw this cartoon on a video that I had received for my 7th birthday. I really loved it and still do today. One of my favorite parts is at the end where Donald, who has been having trouble sleeping all night, ends up floating on his mattress over to the motel and lands on the cot. The manager comes out and tells Donald to pay him for his stay. Donald, who is half asleep, hands the manager $16, but the manager tells Donald that his time is up. He tips Donald off the cot and onto a cactus, where Donald sleeps like a baby.
From David : This has to be the funniest episode of Donald Duck I've ever seen. I am 14 years old and have seen many Donald Duck episodes, but this is the funniest. I showed it to some of my friends and now it's famous, because of the "There's nothing left sir, but the cot on the porch. Thank you sir, thank you sir. That'll be $16. $16!!!" part. The way he says $16. And then, the boulder part. This is a very funny episode.
From Deanna : I am 22 years old and I remember watching this episode when I was a little girl. It took me 3 hours to find this episode online and I am so happy that I did. Now if I can just remember some other episodes I have seen. "Wide Open Spaces" was definitely one that stuck out in my memory.
From Baruch Weiss : This short is okay, but it is not one of my favorites as the plot gets tiresome. However, the ending was a good one where Donald finally got some sleep.

Referenced Comments