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Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: September 21, 1951
Stars: Pluto, Milton
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Cold Turkey © Walt Disney‘Cold Turkey’ was the very last Pluto cartoon, although Pluto would return in Mickey Mouse’s last three cartoons (1952/1953).

The short couples Pluto to Milton, the zany cat who had been introduced in ‘Puss-Cafe‘ the previous year, only to star in three cartoons.

‘Cold Turkey’ opens with some live action footage on a television set featuring a wrestling match. Pluto and Milton sleep right through it, only to awake at an add for hot turkey. The pair first tries to get the turkey out of the television set, then try to find it in the kitchen. When they discover one in the fridge, the companionship turns into rivalry.

‘Cold Turkey’ is less funny than either ‘Puss-Cafe’ or ‘Plutopia‘, the other two cartoons featuring Milton, but it’s still an enjoyable short. The best part may be the pedal bin scene. It’s sad to see the Pluto series ending when its makers had finally made it into a funny one, with its last eleven cartoons being among the best of the entire series.

Watch ‘Cold Turkey’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto’s 43rd and last cartoon
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Plutopia

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: May 18, 1951
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Milton
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Plutopia © Walt DisneyIn ‘Plutopia’ Mickey and Pluto reach a cabin in the mountains called Utopia.

The place turns out to be dog-unfriendly however: Pluto has to stay outside and even worse, has to be muzzled. Frustrated, Pluto falls asleep. He dreams he’s in Plutopia where Milton (one of the cats from ‘Puss-Cafe‘, and here the cabin’s cat) is his willing servant, serving him food every time Pluto bites him in his tail.

The dream sequence is a delight to watch: its backgrounds consists of no more than changing monochromes featuring ‘scribbled’ outlines of doors, stairs e.g. With this sequence Pluto enters the ‘cartoon modern’ era. Unfortunately, it would be his only cartoon featuring such modern designs.

‘Plutopia’ is the last of only three Pluto cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse (the other two being ‘Pluto’s Purchase’ from 1948 and ‘Pueblo Pluto‘ from 1949). Normally cartoons featuring Mickey would appear under his own name. Indeed, after ‘Plutopia’ the Pluto series had only one entry left, but Pluto would return in Mickey’s last four cartoons.

Remarkably, ‘Plutopia’ features animation by two of the greatest animators of Mickey and Pluto in the 1930s: Fred Moore and Norm Ferguson. Both animators had been eclipsed by Disney’s Nine Old Men, and ‘Plutopia’ is one of the last films they worked on before their premature deaths in 1952 and 1957, respectively.

Watch ‘Plutopia’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 42
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Cold Storage
To the next Pluto cartoon: Cold Turkey

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: August 11, 1950
Stars: Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Food for Feudin' © Walt DisneyFood for Feudin’ is the third of four cartoons coupling Chip ‘n’ Dale to Pluto. It’s also the only Chip ‘n’ Dale cartoon directed by Charles Nichols.

Nichols handles the characters of the two chipmunks very well. Their interplay is better than in many Donald Duck cartoons and a delight to watch. In the opening scene Dale even mocks Donald’s anger dance, and later we hear his version of the Goofy yell.

The story is set in autumn, in a park. Pluto tries to store his bone in Chip ‘n’ Dale’s nut tree. The result is that all Chip ‘n’ Dale’s nuts end up in Pluto’s dog house. In order to get them out they hide themselves in two gloves. This idea leads to some wonderfully comedy.

In all ‘Food for Feudin’ is a delightful cartoon, and one of Chip ‘n’ Dale’s best.

Watch ‘Food for Feudin’’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 39
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pests of the West
To the next Pluto cartoon: Camp Dog

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: July 21, 1950
Stars: Pluto, Bent-Tail & Bent-Tail junior
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Pests of the West © Walt Disney‘Pests of the West’ is the second of three cartoons featuring the coyote Bent-Tail and his dopey son.

In ‘Sheep Dog‘ (1949) they’d tried to steal sheep; this time the hungry duo is after the chickens. Pluto is only the straight man in a cartoon, which is devoted to the delightful interplay between father and son.

Although not as classic as ‘The Legend of Coyote Rock’, ‘Pests of the West’ is a funny cartoon. The short is packed with gags, some being quite Tex Averyan, like the son hanging in mid air until his father knocks him down. However, its highlight is the great scene in which Pluto and Bent-Tail fight for a chicken. The wonderful and jazzy soundtrack enhances all the fun. It was composed by Paul Smith, who had been an arranger for Disney since the late 1930s, and would become a noteworthy composer on the studio’s True-Life Adventures.

Watch ‘Pests of the West’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 38
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Puss-Cafe
To the next Pluto cartoon: Food for Feudin’

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: December 23, 1954
Stars: Donald Duck, the Park Ranger
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Grand Canyonscope © Walt DisneyBy 1954 Donald Duck was Walt Disney’s only cartoon star to survive as, Mickey, Pluto and Goofy all had retired in 1953.

Following Tom & Jerry, who had entered the large screen one month earlier, he was to enjoy the last stage of his cinema career in Cinemascope, being the only Disney cartoon star to do so.

‘Grand Canyonscope’ is the first of Donald’s Cinemascope cartoons, and it uses the new technique to great effects. Donald is an annoying tourist in the Grand Canyon, repeatedly bothering the park ranger from ‘Grin and Bear it‘. The action makes excellent use of the wide screen, and the Grand Canyon is portrayed in beautiful scenic backgrounds, which are the real stars of this extraordinarily beautiful Donald Duck cartoon.

Watch ‘Grand Canyonscope’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 109
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: The Flying Squirrel
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: No Hunting

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: December 7, 1945
Stars: Pluto, The Little Turtle
Rating: ★
Review:

Canine Patrol © Walt DisneyIn this cartoon Pluto is a guard dog at the beach, trying to prevent a little cute turtle from swimming. After the little turtle saves Pluto from quicksand, the two become friends.

‘Canine Patrol’ is a cute, but slow and boring cartoon. It introduces the little turtle, the most popular of all animals Pluto befriended in his solo career. The turtle indeed is cute, but it hardly extracts any comedy out of its interactions with Pluto. Nevertheless, it would reappear in two more Pluto cartoons: ‘Pluto’s Housewarming‘ (1947) and ‘Pluto’s Surprise Package’ (1949), which both have all too similar stories.

Watch ‘Canine Patrol yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 16
To the previous Pluto cartoon: The Legend of Coyote Rock
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Kid Brother

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: September 22, 1944
Stars: Pluto, Figaro, Minnie Mouse
Rating: ★★½
Review:

First Aiders © Walt DisneyAfter a cartoon with Cleo, Pinocchio’s kitten Figaro was coupled to Pluto to co-star in three cartoons, of which ‘First Aiders’ is the first.

In this short both pets want to help Minnie while she’s practicing first aid. Pluto pushes little Figaro away to be the first, a move he regrets when he’s all put in plints and Figaro starts to taunt him.

Even though some of the animation is pretty outlandish, this is a cute, not a funny short. Most interesting are some of the backgrounds, which are kept deliberately vague during the chase scenes. Figaro and Pluto would be together again in ‘Cat Nap Pluto’ (1948) and ‘Pluto’s Sweater’ (1949). Both cartoons are more enjoyable than ‘First Aiders’.

Watch ‘First Aiders’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 12
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Springtime for Pluto
To the next Pluto cartoon: Dog Watch

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: April 18, 1953
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

The Simple Things © Walt Disney‘The Simple Things’ was to be Mickey’s and Pluto’s last theatrical cartoon (Pluto’s own series had stopped two years earlier).

Unfortunately it is a rather uninspired goodbye. The cartoon returns to the elongated situation comedy of the thirties. There are only two plots here, which hardly build up to a finale. First: Pluto’s encounters with a humanized clam and second, Mickey and Pluto’s fight with a hungry seagull. Both parts are executed routinely, without inspiration.

This makes ‘The Simple Things’ a sad ending to a career that started so phenomenally well, changing the course of animation, 25 years earlier. It would take Mickey another thirty years to return to the movie screen in ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol‘ from 1983. Meanwhile, Mickey & Pluto director Charles Nichols would direct three Donald Duck cartoons, and one special, ‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith‘, before leaving Disney for Hanna-Barbera in 1962.

Watch ‘The Simple Things’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 125
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Pluto’s Christmas Tree
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: August 10, 1951
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★★
Review:

R'coon Dawg © Walt DisneyThis cartoon starts with a Texan voice-over telling about raccoon hunting. Enter Mickey and Pluto who are exactly doing that.

Pluto’s pursuit is hindered, however, by the raccoon’s clever decoys and sidetracks. In his final trick the raccoon fools Mickey and Pluto by pretending having a baby, using Mickey’s coonskin cap.

Mickey has pretty little screen time in this cartoon, which is essentially Pluto’s. His visualisations of what he’s smelling are the highlights of this gentle if not very remarkable film.

Watch ‘R’Coon Dawg’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 122
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey and the Seal
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Pluto’s Party

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
June 9, 1950
Stars:
 Pluto, Milton
Rating:
★★★★★
Review:

Puss-Cafe © Walt DisneyPluto has a relatively small part in this very zany cartoon, penned by Goofy-storymen Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer. It stars two alley cats trying to invade a garden full of milk, birds and fish, but guarded by our hero.

The comedy between the two cats is brilliant and the short is full of fine gags, the best of which is a bizarre fishing scene, in which one of the cats uses a milk bottle for a helmet. The larger cat is a dumb character reminiscent of George in Tex Avery’s George and Junior cartoons, and of Junior Bear in Chuck Jones’ three bear cartoons. However, unlike those shorts, the comic interplay between the two characters is devoid of dialogue. Only in the beginning they exchange some meows. The whole cartoon is a showcase of silent comedy.

‘Puss-cafe’ undoubtedly is one of Pluto’s wildest cartoons, on par with ‘Pluto at the Zoo‘ (1942) and ‘Springtime for Pluto‘ (1944), and it belongs to his all-time best. In fact, the two cats were such wonderful characters that it is hard to understand that they were only used once. Nevertheless, one of them would return as ‘Milton’ in Pluto’s last two cartoons: ‘Plutopia‘ and ‘Cold Turkey‘ from 1951, with equally funny results.

Watch ‘Puss-Cafe’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 37
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Primitive Pluto
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pests of the West

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 May 19, 1950
Stars:
 Pluto
Rating:
 ★★★
Review:

Primitive Pluto © Walt DisneyPluto is sleeping at ‘Mickey’s outdoor reserve’, a forest reserve deep in the mountains, which is shown in a beautiful pan opening shot. There the howling of the wolves, a.k.a. the call of the wild awakes “his primitive instinct”, which takes the shape of a little blue wolf character.

The instinct tries to make Pluto give up his easy life to hunt some meat outdoors. But Pluto turns out to be a lousy tracker, and when he’s bullied by both a rabbit and a bear he rushes home, only to discover that the little wolf has eaten his bread and milk meal.

‘Primitive Pluto’ is a nice cartoon, if not among Pluto’s best. It shows how far Pluto had come from his roots as a tracking bloodhound as shown in ‘The Chain Gang‘ (1930). Like Mickey, Donald and Goofy, Pluto had become urbanized and settled over the years. It’s nice to watch the animators play with this fact.

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

This is Pluto cartoon No. 36
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Wonder Dog
To the next Pluto cartoon: Puss-cafe

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 April 7, 1950
Stars:
 Pluto, Butch, Dinah
Rating:
 ★★★★½
Review:

Wonder Dog © Walt DisneyIn ‘Wonder Dog’ Pluto tries to impress Dinah, but she’s in love with ‘Prince, the wonder dog’, a circus dog featured on a poster.

Pluto imagines himself to be a circus dog too, but his attempts all fail, much to the amusement of a watching Butch. When Pluto nags Butch, and the latter chases him, he accidentally and unwillingly turns into the acrobat he wanted to be, gaining Dinah’s love once more.

‘Wonder Dog’ is a wonderful cartoon, with some great comedy. Its story, by Bill Peet & Milt Banta, has a surprisingly natural flow, without becoming cliche. Like ‘Pluto’s Heart Throb‘ from earlier that year it illustrates that the trio of Pluto, Dinah and Butch could inspire some excellent comedy. Unfortunately, ‘Wonder Dog’ marks Dinah’s last screen appearance, after a mere four cartoons.

Watch ‘Wonder Dog’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 35
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto and the Gopher
To the next Pluto cartoon: Primitive Pluto

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 February 10, 1950
Stars:
 Pluto, Minnie Mouse
Rating:
 ★★½
Review:

Pluto and the gopher © Walt DisneyPluto encounters a gopher in Minnie’s garden.

Minnie accidentally brings the gopher inside, where the chase continues, until the gopher is literally launched outside. It’s inside the house where the cartoon blossoms. However, the cartoon remains a little slow, and it is uncertain with whom we have to sympathize, for neither Pluto nor the Gopher is particularly endearing. The best scene is the one in which the gopher discovers that he’s trapped inside a foreign environment. His panic is both funny and heartfelt.

Watch ‘Pluto and the Gopher’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 34
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Heart Throb
To the next Pluto cartoon: Wonder Dog

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 January 6, 1950
Stars:
 Pluto, Butch, Dinah
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

Pluto's Heart Throb © Walt DisneyIt seems that at the end of the Pluto series, the animators had found new inspiration, for most of Pluto’s best cartoons were made in the series’ last two yearsIn fact, almost every Pluto cartoon from 1950/1951, Pluto’s last two solo years, is a winner.

‘Pluto’s Heart Throb’ is a good example. In this rather weird short both Butch an Pluto fall in love with Dinah (whom we hadn’t seen since ‘In Dutch‘ from 1946). They’re acting like rivals, but they have to pretend to be friends when she’s watching. When Pluto saves Dinah from drowning, he gains her love and Butch makes a sad retreat.

Penned by Roy Williams, one of the most original of the Disney story men, this short is stuffed with silly ideas, starting with the silly little pink dog cupid, who makes Pluto and Dinah fall in love with each other. The animation is extremely flexible, with wonderful expressions on all three characters. The excellent silent comedy is further enhanced by a very lively score. In all, ‘Pluto’s Heart Throb’ is a great improvement on the earlier in-love-with-Dinah-cartoon: ‘Canine Casanova’ from 1945.

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

This is Pluto cartoon No. 33
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Sheep Dog
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto and the Gopher

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 November 4, 1949
Stars:
 Pluto, Bent-Tail & Bent-Tail junior
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

Sheep Dog © Walt DisneyIn this follow-up to ‘The Legend of Coyote Rock’ (1945), Pluto is a sheep dog bothered by two coyotes, Bent-Tail and his not too clever son (in his debut), who want to steal his sheep.

In the end Bent-tail finally succeeds in stealing one, but it turns out to be his own son in disguise.

Like ‘Pluto’s Sweater‘ of the same year, ‘Sheep Dog’ plays more on gags than on cuteness, which results in one of Pluto’s best cartoons. Especially the interplay between Bent-Tail and his son is a delight to watch. Indeed, the duo was successful enough to return the following year in the equally entertaining ‘Pests of the West‘ and ‘Camp Dog’.

Watch ‘Sheep Dog’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 32
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Bubble Bee
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Heart Throb

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 June 24, 1949
Stars:
 Pluto, The Bee
Rating:
 ★★
Review:

Bubble Bee © Walt DisneyWhile playing with a ball in a city park, Pluto encounters a bubblegum collecting bee, who, oddly enough, lives on his own in a wasp’s nest.

Pluto ruins the bee’s home and swallows all his bubblegum. The bee takes revenge of course, which leads to quite original, but remarkably unfunny gags with bubbles.

‘Bubble Bee’ is the only short in which Jack Hannah’s bee, introduced in ‘Inferior Decorator’ (1948), acts without Donald Duck.

Watch ‘Bubble Bee’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 31
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Sweater
To the next Pluto cartoon: Sheep Dog

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: 
April 29, 1949
Stars:
 Figaro, Minnie Mouse, Pluto
Rating:
 ★★★★½
Review:

Pluto's Sweater © Walt DisneyMinnie has knitted a sweater for a very unwilling Pluto, to much hilarity of Figaro and the neighboring dogs.

While trying to get rid of it, Pluto falls into the water, making the sweater shrink. Minnie is in all tears, when she discovers the sweater is ruined. But wait! This tiny sweater perfectly fits the equally unwilling Figaro! So, Pluto has the last laugh.

This cartoon was to be Figaro’s sixth and last cartoon appearance. It’s undoubtedly one of the funniest Pluto films, if not hilarious. The best part is the long scene in which Pluto tries to get the sweater off. Like in the best Donald Duck cartoons this leads to nonsensical antics with the inanimate object, which deforms almost beyond recognition.

The short’s opening shot is also noteworthy: the film opens with the viewer looking straight into Pluto’s eyes, an effect that goes all the way back to ‘The Skeleton Dance‘ (1929).

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

http://www.toontube.com/video/2746/Plutos-Sweater-1949

This is Pluto cartoon No. 30
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Surprise Package
To the next Pluto cartoon: Bubble Bee

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 March 4, 1949
Stars:
 Pluto
Rating:
 ★
Review:

Pluto's Surprise Package © Walt DisneyIn this cartoon Pluto  inexplicably lives in a lodge in the mountains.

Here he receives a package that jumps. It shows to contain a little turtle. Pluto has a hard time delivering the mail and the turtle in his original package, but in the end it’s the turtle which delivers the letters.

This sweet and slow cartoon is the third starring the cute little turtle from ‘Canine Patrol‘ (1945) and ‘Pluto’s Housewarming‘ (1947). It uses the Pluto-befriends-a-little-animal-story formula of Pluto first being hostile to this new animal, then becoming friends, and it has a distinct routine feel to it. Clearly, this story formula was running out of steam badly. Luckily, ‘Pluto’s Surprise Package’ was the last Pluto cartoon using it.

This short’s best scene is when Pluto tries to retain three letters and the little turtle inside its package, troubled by wind and the turtle’s constant urge to move.

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

This is Pluto cartoon No. 29
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pueblo Pluto 
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Sweater

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 January 14, 1949
Stars:
 Mickey Mouse, Pluto
Rating:
 ★
Review:

Pueblo Pluto © Walt DisneyIn Pueblo Pluto” Mickey’s a tourist visiting a Pueblo village with Pluto.

Here, Pluto meets the small dog with the droopy eyes from ‘The Purloined Pup’ (1946), who tries to steal Pluto’s buffalo bone. When Pluto finally has his bone secured, he discovers he’s trapped inside a circle of cacti. Of course, it’s the little dog who saves him in this all too typical story.

Like the other Pluto-befriends-a-little-animal-cartoons, this short is as cute as it is dull. Its most interesting feature are the rather stylized backgrounds by Brice Mack, who has used a particularly large amount of pink.

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

This is Pluto cartoon No. 28
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Fledgling
To the next Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Surprise Package

Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date: December 12, 1948
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, the little seal
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Mickey and the Seal © Walt DisneyAfter visiting the seals at the zoo, Mickey accidentally brings a little seal home in his basket.

‘Mickey and the seal’ is the third cartoon to feature the little seal (the other two are ‘Pluto’s Playmate’ from 1941 and ‘Rescue Dog‘ from 1947). And like the earlier entries featuring this cute animal, ‘Mickey and the Seal’ is charming, but not very funny.

Nevertheless, it contains a lovely scene of Mickey and the seal in bath, which is a prime example of great silent comedy. Its finale, too, arguably is the funniest of all postwar Mickey Mouse cartoons. The bath scene renders a shot of Mickey completely naked (except for his gloves).

Watch ‘Mickey and the Seal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 121
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey Down Under
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: R’coon Dawg

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