Director: Wilfred Jackson
Release Date: April 13, 1932
Stars: Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pete
Mickey is joining a cross country race that involves running, rowing and cycling (which is beautifully animated). His main opponent is a rather unrecognizable Pete, who looks like just a big mean cat without a peg leg.
‘Barnyard Olympics’ was inspired by the upcoming Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932. It’s a brilliant gag cartoon: it’s fast, consistent and exciting, and without doubt one of Mickey’s finest. It immediately starts with an excellent gag when a spectator suddenly discovers he’s being filmed and waves at ‘the camera’.
In a way ‘Barnyard Olympics’ marks Goofy’s debut. He’s not seen at all, but during a boxing match his characteristic laughter, provided by story man Pinto Colvig, can already be heard. In Mickey’s next film, ‘Mickey’s Revue‘, Goofy would appear on the screen himself.
With ‘Barnyard Olympics’ Mickey entered the zenith of his career. His films from 1932-1934 are his best. Almost all portray him as the little, but brave underdog fighting the odds, and importantly, in these films Mickey still is the star himself. After 1934 Mickey became more and more of a straight man, losing screen time to Pluto, Donald and Goofy. Yes, the Mickey Mouse films from the second half of the 1930s are also great, but by then Mickey’s own stardom was in a clear decline. But in ‘Barnyard Olympics’, like the other films from 1932-1934, he’s still in top form as the greatest cartoon star of his era.
Watch ‘Barnyard Olympics’ yourself and tell me what you think: