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Director: unknown
Release Date: 1940
Rating:  ★★★½

Baby Kangaroo's Birthday Surprise‘Baby Kangaroo’s Birthday Surprise’ tells about the birthday of Kan-Chan, the youngest kangaroo in a family of five.

All goes well, until a hungry wolf arrives. The wolf eats all the food, and kidnaps Kan-Chan to eat him as well. The family comes to the rescue, aided by a troupe of moles, who dig a bunch of holes into the wolf’s hut. They taunt and finally bind him, so the family of kangaroos can reunite.

‘Baby Kangaroo’s Birthday Surprise’ is a silent film, but the animation is more advanced than in contemporary Japanese films, incorporating various lessons from Disney animation (squash and stretch, follow-through etc.). The wolf is clearly modeled on Disney’s wolf from ‘Three Little Pigs‘, and he’s animated best, probably because of the more sophisticated source material.

Watch ‘Baby Kangaroo’s Birthday Surprise’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Baby Kangaroo’s Birthday Surprise’ is available on the DVD-box set ‘Japanese Anime Classic Collection’

Director: David Hand
Release Date: April 13, 1935
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pluto
Rating: ★★½

Mickey's Kangaroo © Walt DisneyIn ‘Mickey’s Kangaroo’ Mickey receives a kangaroo for a present.

Pluto grows jealous of the intruder and its little kid, which is expressed with side glances at the audience in extreme close ups, and through a tough and sneaky voice over by Don Brodie. This is a rather weak device to overcome Pluto’s silent character. While Pluto tries to get rid of the little kangaroo, Mickey gets beaten up by mama kangaroo, but he keeps laughing.

As Jim Korkis reveals in ‘The Book of Mouse‘, ‘Mickey’s Kangaroo’ surprisingly is a film based on a true story. In 1934 Walt Disney got two wallabies as a present from Australian wine maker Leo Buring. By the time they arrived at the studio, the two marsupials had given birth to a child. The three wallabies were kept in a pen outside the studio department.

‘Mickey’s Kangaroo’ became Mickey’s last cartoon in black and white, being released even after ‘The Band Concert‘, Mickey’s first one in color. Unfortunately, it’s not a very funny goodbye to the black and white era. Nevertheless, its story line would be reused in ‘Mickey’s Elephant‘ (1936).

Watch ‘Mickey’s Kangaroo’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Mickey Mouse cartoon No. 75
To the previous Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Service Station
To the next Mickey Mouse cartoon: Mickey’s Garden

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