Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: December 5, 1931
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto
This box contains an endless quantity of little kittens, which are taking over the house within seconds. Soon, the house is near complete destruction. This is partly Mickey’s own fault, because dressed up as Santa he gives the little brats toys like hammers, saws, drills, axes, and even guns and canons.
‘Mickey’s Orphans’ is a real gag cartoon from the outset and the first of several Mickey Mouse shorts in which many brats cause havoc. No musical routine is involved, and as soon as the box of kittens is opened, the gags roll in like they never did before. The kittens even manage to give the ever cheerful Mickey and Minnie a dismayed look, albeit only at the end of the cartoon. The little kittens would cause havoc again in ‘Mickey’s Revue’ (1932) before being replaced by the little mice in ‘Mickey’s Nightmare’ later that year. Maybe the idea of giant mice dealing with little kittens was a little too awkward for the makers…
‘Mickey’s Orphans’ is the first of no less than four Mickey Mouse Christmas cartoons, the others being ‘Mickey’s Good Deed’ (1932), ‘Pluto’s Christmas Tree’ (1952) and ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol‘ (1983). It was nominated for the very first Academy Award for animated short film, but it understandably lost to the first technicolor short ‘Flowers and Trees‘ (1932), although Walt Disney did get a special Academy Award for the creation of Mickey Mouse.
Watch ‘Mickey’s Orphans’ yourself and tell me what you think: