Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: November 12, 1932
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★★½

Still from 'The Wayward Canary' featuring two canaries and a charicature of Douglas FairbanksThe Wayward Canary’ follows the same story line as ‘The Barnyard Broadcast‘ (1931) and ‘Mickey’s Revue’ (1932). Like in these films, a song-and-dance routine is interrupted by numerous animals causing havoc.

This time, Mickey gives Minnie a canary for a present. It appears to have numerous offspring. These little birds escape and fly all over the house. Before they’re all caught, the complete house is wrecked.

Among Minnie’s household there is a lighter with a swastika on it [update: see animation historian David Gerstein’s comment below for an explanation]. She also has signed portraits of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Together with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith, these two actors were the co-founders of United Artists, the company Disney had joined in 1932.

These portraits are the first caricatures of real people in a Mickey Mouse film. Although Mickey and Minnie were only slowly shedding their barnyard background, these signed portraits are not too surprising accessories, considering Mickey’s enormous popularity in the early thirties. Moreover, they suggest that Mickey and Minnie, although being cartoon characters, live in the real world, among the stars. This concept would be developed further in the next year, in the superb ‘Mickey’s Gala Premiere‘.

Watch ‘The Wayward Canary’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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