Director: John Foster
Release Date: August 3, 1930
Stars: Milton Mouse, Rita Mouse, Waffles
Rating:
Review:

Hot Tamale © Van BeurenIn 1930 practically all American cartoon studios looked at Walt Disney to guide them through the fledgling sound era (the notable exception being Max Fleischer, who went entirely his own path).

None went so far as the Van Beuren studio, which already in 1929 introduced a couple of mice with an all too obvious resemblance to Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Van Beuren’s mice were called Milton and Rita, but I’ve no evidence the studio ever advertized their names on the screen. Why should it? All resemblance to the real Mickey and Minnie clearly was only beneficial to the studio’s output.

‘Hot Tamale’ is one of these films featuring these blatant Mickey and Minnie lookalikes. This time Milton is in Mexico, riding a mechanical horse (why?) to serenade his sweetheart. Rita dances to his music.

There’s still some acting that clearly stems from the silent era, but more disturbingly: Milton looks rather horny and seems more driven by lust than by love. At one point Waffles (who is Pete only but in name) arrives, also craving Rita. Of course, it’s our “hero” who wins her in the end.

In ‘Hot Tamale’ Van Beuren’s pseudo-Mickey and Minnie were nothing like the real thing. But it would become worse. In ‘Circus Capers‘ and ‘The Office Boy‘ both the resemblance and the abject behavior of these Mickey & Minnie-lookalikes was even more striking. It was a question of time before Walt Disney came into action…

Watch ‘Hot Tamale’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Hot Tamale’ is available on the DVD ‘Aesop’s Fables – Cartoon Classics from the Van Beuren Studio’

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