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Director: Charles Nichols
Release Date:
 April 7, 1950
 Pluto, Butch, Dinah

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:
 January 6, 1950
 Pluto, Butch, Dinah

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: May 10, 1946
Stars: Pluto, Dinah
Rating: ★★★★

In Dutch © Walt Disney‘In Dutch’ is one of those rare cartoons set in Holland.

In ‘in Dutch’ Pluto is a milk-bringing dog in a very awkward, almost fairy tale-like picture of The Netherlands. He and his love, Dinah the dachshund, accidentally ring the alarm bell in their love play, and they get expelled from the village.

However, our couple saves the day, when Dinah stops a leak in the dyke and Pluto warns the villagers, albeit in an unorthodox way. This story idea is a nice take on the children’s book ‘Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates’ (1865) by Mary Mapes Dodge. The result is a charming little story in an exotic setting.

Like Mapes Dodge, the animators had probably never visited The Netherlands themselves, for the country is erroneously depicted as surrounded by a huge dyke, behind which the sea is splashing. Further couleur locale is provided by numerous windmills, tulips and wooden shoes. The people in the cartoon speak with a weird accent, which is supposed to sound like Dutch, but which is more reminiscent of German.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to blame the makers for the cliches, for even the George Pal’s cartoon about Holland, ‘Tulips Shall Grow’ (1942), is crowded with windmills, tulips and wooden shoes. And George Pal had lived in The Netherlands for several years…

Watch ‘In Dutch’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Pluto cartoon No. 18
To the previous Pluto cartoon: Pluto’s Kid Brother
To the next Pluto cartoon: The Purloined Pup

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