Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: April 30, 1931
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto
They finally find a moose (or more exactly, the moose finds them). Unfortunately, in front of the moose, Mickey’s gun fails and a mad chase follows, which ends with Mickey escaping on a flying Pluto.
‘The Moose Hunt’ is Mickey’s second gag only short, the first being ‘Traffic Troubles’ from earlier that year. It’s hardly as good as that earlier entry, though. It contains some awkward gags, like the flying Pluto finale. It also contains a rare gag breaking the fourth dimension: when Mickey accidentally shoots Pluto, he suddenly addresses the audience with a “Is there a doctor in the house?”. Then, when Mickey begs Pluto to speak to him, Pluto actually speaks!
The self-conscious audience gag would remain a rarity at Disney, but it would become a staple gag after Tex Avery joined Warner Brothers. The two Pluto gags are totally out of character, and have nothing to do with him being a dog. After ‘The Moose Hunt’ we would never see Pluto flying or speaking again, and after watching ‘The Moose Hunt’ it is easily understandable why not. Luckily, there are other scenes that are more inspired, and in which Pluto behaves like a dog throughout.
In ‘The Moose Hunt’ Pluto gets his name (he was called ‘Rover’ in his first appearance in ‘The Picnic‘). He now clearly is Mickey’s dog, not Minnie’s, like in the earlier film. Moreover, ‘The Moose Hunt’ contains Pluto’s first long solo scene. It’s clear that the Mickey Mouse films could use an extra character, and after this film he would appear in almost all succeeding Mickey Mouse films, stealing more and more screen time from Mickey.
Mickey would go hunting moose again in the way funnier ‘Moose Hunters’ from 1937, which, incidentally, doesn’t star Pluto.
Watch ‘The Moose Hunt’ yourself and tell me what you think: