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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date:
 March 21, 1931
Rating: ★★★
Review:

In My Merry Oldsmobile © Max Fleischer‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ is a rather odd commercial for Oldsmobile, done in Screen Song fashion. The cartoon will be familiar of readers of Leonard Maltin’s ‘Of Mice and Magic’, for his book features several stills from this film.

The film starts weird to begin with. We watch an evil male character sneak upon a woman undressing(!). Luckily she reveals countless dresses under each other. The creepy guy sneaks into her home and asks the terrified woman for a ride, which she unsurprisingly refuses. Then suddenly a little guy arrives offering her a ride in his Oldsmobile outside. This section uses a lot of dialogue, but no lip synch whatsoever.

The little guy’s invitation for a ride prompts the barbershop title song (a hit song from 1905) and the bouncing ball, so typical of Fleischer’s Screen Songs. The song is accompanied by images of a couple riding an Oldsmobile Curved Dash from 1904, the car celebrated in the song. Then we watch the cartoon characters riding this car, and suddenly there’s a lot of metamorphosis of words into the car etc. The film ends as oddly as it started: when the couple gets married, they’re immediately in a boxing match, indicating that marriage is one long fight.

One wonders how such a story would help Oldsmobile selling more cars. Moreover, none of their latest models is featured in the cartoon, only their first model, which by 1931 was of course extremely outdated.

Watch ‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ is available on the DVD ‘Fleischer Classics featuring Gulliver’s Travels’

Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Release Date: January 9, 1937
Stars: Donald Duck
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Don Donald © Walt DisneyAfter co-starring with Pluto in ‘Donald and Pluto‘ (1936), Donald really comes to his own in ‘Don Donald’. In this cartoon he only shares screen time with a new character, Donna Duck, a predecessor of Daisy with a temper that matches Donald’s own. 

In this film, we watch Donald in a Mexican setting featuring a surprisingly Krazy Kat-like palm in the background. He wears a large sombrero and tries to woo Donna, but his donkey spoils his efforts. Donald trades his donkey for a car (the small red car we would become so familiar with). The car makes a deep impression on Donna, and both go for a ride.

The animation of the car ride is a great showcase of animation of speed, while the hilarious sequence in which Donald tries to restart the motor again is a wonderful example of rubbery animation. The film ends marvelously, when Donna produces a unicycle out of her handbag and rides off into the distance. But the whole film is one of sheer delight and one of the classics of the 1930s.

Despite Mickey’s absence, ‘Don Donald’ is still part of the Mickey Mouse series. Only with ‘Donald’s Ostrich‘ from December 1937 Donald would get his own series.

Watch ‘Don Donald’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 91
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: The Worm Turns
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Magician Mickey

Director: Dick Lundy
Release Date: January 29, 1943
Stars: Donald Duck
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Donald's Tire Trouble © Walt DisneyIn the vibrant opening scene of ‘Donald’s Tire Trouble’ we watch Donald zooming with his car through the mountains with an incredible speed. Then he suddenly gets a flat tire.

In trying to fix it, practically everything goes wrong that can go wrong: Donald has trouble with the jack, the tire patch, the tire itself, and the wheel. Miraculously, he finally manages to fix the one, but then all his tires go flat…

‘Donald’s Tire Trouble’ is without doubt one of the best Donald Duck shorts dealing with Donald’s struggle with inanimate objects, and arguably Dick Lundy’s best Donald Duck cartoon. Instead of milking one gag, like he did in ‘The Village Smithy‘ and ‘Donald’s Garden‘ from 1942,  he continuously proceeds from one gag to another, which leads to an impressive string of gags unseen in his earlier cartoons. Moreover, most car drivers will relate to Donald’s frustrations, which will be way more familiar than his problems in the earlier cartoons. The result is an exuberant short, more fit to the World War II era.

Watch ‘Donald’s Tire Trouble’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 39
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Der Fuehrer’s Face
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Flying Jalopy

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