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Oh, Teacher

An Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Cartoon

Release Date : September 19, 1927

Running Time : 5:53

Synopsis

Oswald's sweetheart is stolen by a schoolyard bully, so he has to fight him during recess to win her back.

Characters

Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit

Credits

Director
Walt Disney
Animation
Ub Iwerks
Rollin "Ham" Hamilton
Hugh Harman
Les Clark
Friz Freleng
Ben Clopton
Norm Blackburn
Paul Smith

DVD

United States
Disney's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Germany
Disney Treasures : Wave 7 : The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Technical Specification

Color Type: Black & White
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Silent
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by M. J. Winkler Productions

Comments

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : So, today brings the second of the Oswalds, Oh Teacher. Does it hold up? I’m happy to say that, yes, the second Oswald is just as entertaining as the first, even if it’s a bit simpler.

The big thing that stood out to me on Trolley Troubles was the different direction in the animation, adding more side to side movement, changing perspectives, etc. There is less of that in the second short, but there are more gags, like those you would see in the better Alice Comedies.

The story is somewhat straightforward, as Oswald is trying to woo a young girl, but has a rival in a cat character that’s kind of a cross between Julius and Pete. The gags begin early, as Oswald’s ears put him in flight, expressing his delight as he goes to pick up his sweetie. It’s a great gag, but it also shows some of his personality, which is a key thing.

After Oswald picks up his girl, we cut to a young pig who’s being picked up by the school bus. The school bus continues down the lane, followed by the much larger cat character, who tries to hitch a ride but gets knocked off. Undeterred, the cat knocks Oswald off his bike and steals a ride to school.

Unfortunately, the cat is not a great driver, and he wrecks the bike, sending Oswald’s girl into a nearby pond. Her cries of help reach Oswald, quite literally, and he rides the word as a horse to save her. However, as he extends himself out over the water, the cat runs over top of him, fishes the girl out of the water and wins her temporary affection in the process.

Of course this does not sit well with our hero, who tries to confront him in a very funny sequence. Oswald draws a line in the sand, which the cat merely picks up and knocks away, then knocks Oswald’s head off his body. It’s a classic underdog matchup, and it really draws the viewer onto Oswald’s side. As the school day begins, the cat drags Oswald’s girl into school, where they stay until recess. As recess begins, Oswald waits outside the school house with a brick, ready to clobber the cat when he emerges. Unfortunately, the cat goes out the back door.

Being confronted by the cat, Oswald attempts to explain away the brick as an exercise machine, but the cat is not buying it. He steals the brick and throws it up in the air, but it lands in the storm drain, and flies down the drain and right into the cat’s head, knocking him out. Oswald is as shocked as anyone, but he takes advantage, pretending he knocked the cat out as his girl comes by, and they are reunited.

Admittedly, the story is simple, but it is also charming. More so than I ever did with Julius, I felt for Oswald here. He’s undersized and overmatched, but he’s determined. It’s definitely a precursor to Mickey in his early days, in the interaction with the girl. You could easily replace Oswald and his girl with Mickey and Minnie and have one of the early Mickeys.


From Mac : I'm glad you're enjoying the Oswald shorts. One interesting thing about the first three to be made is that Oswald seems to get younger. I've never seen Poor Papa, but Oswald was supposed to have been redesigned to seem younger for Trolley Troubles. Here he was still old enough to be a Trolley driver and be irritated by a little kid in an early scene. Now, with Oh, Teacher he's a kid in school himself.

If you haven't done so already check out the commentary on the DVD by Mark Kausler. Not only does he point out who animated what, but he also points out some of the reordered and missing scenes in the existing reissue version. It would appear that originally the story was set out a little differently. Starting with the scenes of kids getting the bus (so setting up the idea they're going to school from the out set) and introducing the naughty cat character before we cut to Oswald on his way to pick up his girl.

It would also seem that the short was even more gag-packed including what may have been the funniest scene (of the female rabbit forgetting her underwear) and also a black-face gag (the cat gets a face fall of smoke from the exhaust and ends up looking like a minstrel). This is the earliest example of such a gag that I'm aware of in a Disney cartoon. I did wonder if the smash hit film The Jazz Singer released the same year influenced the gag – although I think the cartoon was made and released a few months earlier so maybe not.

Interesting that you notice how the cat looks like a cross between Julius and Pete. However, it's the later Pete that he looks like from the Mickeys rather than the bear from the Alice Comedies. Pete himself will return later in the Oswalds and it'll be interesting to see how he evolves.


From Jesus Daprice : For those of you who have ever gotten into a fight at school with a bully anytime in your lives, this may be the short for you. I remember back when I was in high school, a skinhead bully wanted to fight me and ended up dislocating (possibly) the bone in my right-hand ring finger. It was painful!

Well, the story begins with Oswald riding on his scooter on his way to pick up his girlfriend. He is pulling petals off a flower saying (in his mind) "She loves me. She loves me not." Well, she obviously loves him since he's jumping up and down. Oswald arrives at the girl rabbit's house and picks her up. They go off riding on their way to school. Meanwhile, a little pig is seen with his mother who sends him off on the schoolbus. This looks more like a paddywagon (a police truck for transporting criminals to prison) than a schoolbus (but I guess children have always thought of school as being a sort of prison). Pete is shown hanging on the back of the bus and the driver blows exhaust at him causing him to jump off. Pete sees Oswald and his girlfriend and decides to bump Oswald off. A question mark pops out of Pete's head and he stretches it out, attaches it to a tree and when the two rabbits scoot by, Oswald falls off. Pete is driving now and soon lands into a lake. Oswald runs over to help his sweetheart, but Pete pushes him out of the way and saves her. She is soon smitten with Pete and rejects Oswald. Oswald challenges Pete to a fight at recess that day. Here we have Oswald with a brick in his hand by the side of the schoolhouse and Pete walks right behind him and taps him on the back. Oswald looks behind him and Pete throws the brick up on the roof. With some pure luck, the brick falls down the gutter and knocks Pete out. Oswald's girlfriend comes over and sees him shouting at Pete. She soon loves Oswald again.

This was a great cartoon even though it was silent.


From Ryan : This short was better than Great Guns. It depicts the life of an elementary/middle school student. As the other guy pointed out above, the school bus looks more like a paddy wagon than a bus. Yes, also as he said "children have always thought of school as being a sort of prison." I know I sure did once in awhile. In this short, Pete has evolved into a cat, but he is still a child. In some ways, this short reminds me of the 1936 Mickey cartoon Mickey's Rival.
From Rich : This is the first Oswald cartoon I've ever seen, but it definitely won't be the last! I noticed for the first time just how similar Oswald is to Mickey, in the sense that neither of them is a rough, physical fighter when it comes to dealing with Pete, who Oswald tussles with in this cartoon (for those of you that have seen this cartoon and noticed that the bully was Pete, awfully small, isn't he?) Great cartoon from the silent era.