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Director: Milt Schaffer
Release Date:
September 19, 1952
 Mickey Mouse, Pluto, The Orphan Mice

Pluto's Party © Walt DisneyMickey and Pluto celebrate Pluto’s birthday, which includes a huge pink birthday cake and the presence of several little mice.

In fact, this cartoon marks the unexpected return of the orphan mice, which we hadn’t seen on the screen since ‘Mickey’s Circus‘ from 1936. The little mice give Pluto a hard time and they eat all the cake. Luckily Mickey has saved a piece for our canine friend.

‘Pluto’s Party’ is the only Disney film directed by Pluto story man Milt Schaffer. Unfortunately it’s not a success. Mickey’s design is rather angular in this cartoon and the antics by the orphan mice are quite tiresome, not funny. In spite of the bright colors and the fast cutting, the overall mood is timid and listless. Only two Mickey Mouse cartoons would follow, and you can almost feel the series ending in this cartoon.

Watch ‘Pluto’s Party’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 123
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: R’coon Dawg
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Pluto’s Christmas Tree

Director: Burt Gillett
Release Date: January 2, 1931
Stars: Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse
Rating: ★★½

Mickey visits Minnie who has organized a surprise party for his birthday.

Mickey gets a piano for a present and he and Minnie perform a duet on two pianos, singing the 1928 hit ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby’, popularized by e.g. Annette Hanshaw and Louis Armstrong. When Mickey and Minnie dance themselves to the 1917 classic Darktown Strutters’ Ball, their music-stools take over their playing (as did Mickey’s stool in ‘Mickey’s Follies’ from 1929). The cartoon ends with Mickey playing variations on the 12th Street Rag on a stubborn marimba.

This cartoon is actually one long joyful play-and-dance-routine, but its beginning is quite remarkable: when Mickey and Minnie bashfully ask each other whether they’re fine, this may probably be the first funny dialogue in Disney history. At least, it’s a wonderful example of character animation, elegantly establishing the relationship between the two.

Mickey would celebrate his birthday again in ‘Mickey’s Birthday Party’ (1942), which only superficially resembles this earlier short.

Watch ‘The Birthday Party’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 25
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Pioneer Days
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Traffic Troubles

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